The iron rules for success (Part II)
Sunday, December 1, 2002

This is a continuation from a previous column, identifying 10 iron rules for good management. In the first column, we identified the first five iron rules, and now we continue with…

Iron Rule #6: Successful managers/entrepreneurs dwell not on their failures but, rather, on their successes. This is kind of the half-full/half empty attitude that we have. It is said positive thinkers see the glass as half-full…conversely; negative thinkers see it as half empty. I'm not sure about whether this is accurate, but I do know that successful entrepreneurs and managers focus on the things that they do right, learn from their mistakes, and then move on to the next set of objectives.

Yes, it's easy to dwell on what went wrong. Sometimes, it's even simpler to move into the gray area of feeling sorry for oneself for the mistakes that were made. Don't fall into that trap! Move forward, and think about the things that you have done right…and you'll continue to do more of them right, than wrong.

Iron Rule #7: He climbs highest who helps another up…as long as they are both still climbing. Over the years I've spent a great deal of time in the field of speaking, and have met with and seen literally hundreds of "motivational" speakers. It always amazes me how many of them just "talk the talk" but never have been able to "walk the walk." Yes, it's important as an entrepreneur or a manager to mentor others, but I have found that the best way of mentoring is by example. Let subordinates around you keep up your pace rather than you slowing down to theirs. If you do, you both lose.

Iron Rule #8: When you think something just can't miss…take a day just to see if it feels as good as it did the first day. In other words, don't jump the gun! Entrepreneurs are hip shooters. They are quick with an answer. They tend to be proactive rather than reactive. They tend to want to do something rather than do nothing. And for the most part, all of that is OK. But when you are starting on a new venture, a new path or a new way of doing things, stop for a little while, perhaps a day or two and see if it feels as good and as right as it did when you first thought of it. If it does, you probably have a homerun, if it doesn't, well…maybe you've avoided a problem area.

Iron Rule #9: Sometimes you can stumble on a good idea…and successful managers/entrepreneurs always have their antenna out, always looking, always reading. I would imagine this is the single most important element that separates the real winners in business (and in life) from those who just "want to be" winners. You never know when you're going to stumble across a good idea. Consequently, exposure to where those ideas can come from is really the trigger mechanism for many people's success. Reading…books, great publications, newspapers and magazines, and anything else that can give you a leg up in your creative thinking process is a sure opportunity. Every time you read or see something that gives you an idea, write it down and pretty soon you will have a journal of great ideas…yours, and just for your own use.

Iron Rule #10: Successful managers and entrepreneurs always balance the physical, intellectual and emotional aspects of their lives. They never let one get out of balance for very long. This really says it all when it comes to physical, mental and spiritual health. You are the final arbiter of whether one is getting out of balance…and you answer to no one but you. When the question is ask-ed…answer it honestly, and you'll be amazed at how quickly you can get back into balance.

These iron rules are some of the things that I have learned that help make life more predictable, successful…and certainly goal oriented. If you'd like a copy of these iron rules, printed on parchment and suited for framing, just email me at and I'll know you won out. No charge… just let me know how it works for you.

Ron Davis is the co-founder of the Graybeards Advisory Group, which brings together a dozen experts in the industry to provide consulting and speaking services to alarm companies. For more information, visit