“Know the rules well, so you can break them effectively.” (Dalai lama XIV) Yes, I am suggesting to break the rules! This is coming from someone who likes rules. After all, rules create structure, limits and avoid chaos. Rules create expectations, discipline and define actions. Don’t we want the other car to stop a t the red light? If you know the rules, you can break them!
Rules can be social norms as well. I hate how people I do not know, ask me how I am doing?. It has become the social norm. I hate it because the person does not care about me. It has become an opening statement until someone answers in an unexpected way. Then we have social awkwardness. In Los Angeles, the supermarket clerk asks you how you are doing with the casualness of the scanner they are using to ring up your groceries. What is interesting is they do not listen for your answer.
Most telephone conversations start with similar statements. I realize friends and family are different than the store clerk or other strangers, but many of your casual friends do not want to know about your problems. Do you really want to listen to health issues or someone complaining about their problems? I know I don’t! I usually avoid those people. Why do we maintain these social norms or rules, if we don’t want to hear the answer?
One of the rules is go to college, get good grades and you will be successful. In this economy, there are a lot of recent college graduates who would disagree! There are a number of famous college dropouts who are very successful. Bill Gates and Steve Jobs are the more famous of many. There are even more that no one ever heard of! My parents started businesses in the height of the Great Depression and became successful, although they broke the rules. I achieved financial freedom at 38 years old in a non traditional way as chronicled in my journey to success.
Many people break the rules and succeed. I am not talking about breaking laws! I am referring to normal expectations in a business context. Steve Jobs did not follow the rules, he created his own. He helped create new products and made us want it. He created products that were not necessary, but we had to have it. All the most accomplished people break some rules. We want people to follow some of the rules such as stopping at red lights. Don’t we?
In this economy, can you go by the rules when you want a job? If you go by the rules, you will fill out applications; send resumes, use recruiters, network and search online. In fact, the candidates who break the rules distinguish themselves and get hired. Sticking with the rules means you have to compete with thousands of others for that one job. You need to find that back door to the hiring manager which is not the norm. You may want to create a snazzy You Tube video, email campaign or Twitter campaign to get some attention.
Do you go along with the rules? Do you come in late, leave early or take 2 hour lunches? These rules will affect your fellow employees too. You are part of a team and other employees need to depend on you. The rules I am talking about involve doing things differently. It is making things happen versus letting things happen. It can mean formal rules versus informal rules. How you view rules will affect how you do things. What rules are you willing to break to succeed? When I was a member of an organization, I often used unwritten rules to my advantage to get things done.
I have a reputation for getting things done! How do I do it? Persistence, tenacity and determination! I keep going until I hear a positive answer. Doesn’t everybody? I think most people get discouraged too soon and give up. I don’t give up. I try different things and ask questions. It is amazing what asking questions will do! I also take the position that everyone wants to do the right thing. They just do not realize that the right thing is satisfying you.
Don’t businesses break the rules? Nordstroms provides the best customer service because they value their customers. The customers reciprocate with their loyalty. Customers are loyal to companies they feel treat them well. Companies like Apple, Zappos, Amazon and Starbucks are just a few of the companies that provide a good product or service. These companies can demand higher prices because they distinguish themselves through their service. They are breaking the rules.
Every successful person breaks the rules. The do not do what everyone does or what is expected. They exceed their expectations and find new ways to succeed. If they did what everybody expects, they failed! What if Apple did just sold computers? Could they get the higher price? No! They sell what people want by designing the perfect product. Other companies try to compete on price! No matter what you do, you need to break the rules!
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