Leadership Fortune Cookies

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The story goes that the WonTon Food Company, the world’s largest fortune cookie maker, tried to introduce them in Hong Kong, but failed because the cookies were “too American.” Yes, indeed, in this salad bowl of a nation, it turns out that fortune cookies could be as American as apple pie, though you won’t find any wisdom, predictions, or lottery numbers in most apple pie.

One great untapped market for fortune cookies is leadership advice. As a public service to help you, perhaps, seize that market and make your own fortune, I offer some advice that might appear inside your cookies.

Use what you say and do to influence the behavior and performance of others.

The answer for every business question should begin with “it depends.”

If people really are your most important asset, you should act like it.

Your job as a boss is to help your team and your team members succeed.

As the boss you set the example whether you want to or not. Good or bad is up to you.

People are not parts. Bad things happen when you treat them that way.

Emotion is part of business because people are part of business.

No one is perfect, not even you. Not even if you’re the boss.

The higher you climb the org chart, the more you need independent information sources.

People want to do important work with people they like.

People act in their own perceived self-interest.

If they do not trust you, they will not follow you.

Scared people can’t hear your message.

What you do and how you do it drowns out what you say.

Business is a team sport.

People have knowledge and relationships. Sometimes they let you borrow them.

Trust grows slowly but can disappear in a thoughtless instant.

People love to grow.

Once people make enough money, other things matter more.

That’s a start, but I don’t have a corner on good advice. What messages can you suggest?

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