The Six Fundamentals of Success

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The Six Fundamentals of Success

by Stuart R. Levine

Currency/Doubleday © 2004, 213 pages, $19.95 (ISBN 0-385-51086-1).

The Rules for Getting It Right for Yourself and Your Organization

CEO and business consultant Stuart R. Levine writes, “Getting the job done right is critical to a company, and critical to you as an individual.” To help any person who plays a part in an organization get the job done correctly, Levine has compiled the many vital lessons he has learned while working as the CEO of Dale Carnegie & Associates and his own consultancy. Using succinct language and concrete examples from his own experiences as a leader and a consultant, Levine creates a smart guide that can help anyone become more productive and respond to challenges with motivation and action.

Umbrella Principles

The Six Fundamentals of Success holds more than six simple rules that can help people work better and smarter. Levine’s six fundamentals are actually umbrella principles that are made up of nearly 100 rules that he has compiled over 30 years in business working with managers and leaders. Levine writes that mastering these performance fundamentals requires discipline and practice, and remembering them in a pinch will require readers to set up daily workouts in which one or two of them are focused on for a month at a time. He explains that regular drilling with these fundamentals will help them to become second nature.

Levine’s numerous rules for making a difference in the workplace fall under the following fundamentals:

1. Make Sure You Add Value. Increasing an organization’s worth and its capacity to serve customers is at the heart of being the best we can be at our job. The four ways people can do this are: Help the organization sell more, cut costs, get higher prices, and improve quality for the customer. Levine reminds readers that those in an organization must remember to see every customer as a person, know his or her industry, work with a sense of urgency, and make him- or herself promotable. Knowing more about how your organization makes money and creates value for customers is a starting point to adding value.

2. Communicate Up and Down, Inside and Out. Levine points out that if you want to get noticed by your boss, become a great communicator. Although technology allows us to send information back and forth with more ease than ever before, he explains that difficult conversations must take place face to face.

Kings and Queens of Chaos

3. Know How to Deliver Results. One of Levine’s tactics for delivering results involves overcoming “the kings and queens of chaos.” He notes that in most organizations there are those who resist change by creating chaos. Because these people are afraid of what they don’t know, they build resistance with a thousand reasons why something cannot be done, play devil’s advocate, and breed unfounded fear that new initiatives will fail — harming the organization along the way. Levine offers six ways they can be handled, including:

• Give them a voice, but don’t let them dominate the conversation.

• Keep everyone who’s affected by the new initiative in the loop so they don’t start to believe rumors.

• Build accountability — extreme naysayers will let things slip on purpose to prove the initiative was flawed and they were right all along. Make sure they’re held responsible.

4. Conduct Yourself and Your Business With Integrity. The Ritz-Carlton and Starbucks exhibit this fundamental by investing heavily in building their brand by delivering a consistent experience to the customer. Levine writes, “Nothing strengthens a brand more effectively than acting consistently and with integrity.”

Small Gestures

5. Invest in Relationships. As in life, Levine points out, strong relationships are the foundation of business. Your contacts bolster your career, so small gestures like checking in with an old boss to say hello or congratulating a co-worker can result in personal and professional advancement.

6. Gain Perspective. Although this is easier said than done, overcoming stress and taking time to determine what really matters in life can give you balance and make you more valuable to your organization. ~

Why We Like ThIs Book

Levine’s vast experience with people and organizations shines through this compact collection of business wisdom that can have a positive impact on anyone who puts its lessons into practice. Familiar situations, timely examples, and relevant advice pour out of every page, making his principles readily available to apply in any type of organization. ~

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