Guiding Principles are the core values, laws and rules we each live by. They define who you are, how you make decisions and they define your business.
In business, just as in life, eventually you will come up against a lot of people and situations that challenge your principles and core values. It’s vital to your success and emotional sanity that you never lose sight of who you are.
Guiding Principles are a blend of your personal ethics, core values and the personal rules of success we have defined for ourselves, on what is right and what is wrong. What is acceptable and what is not. What makes you happy, and what doesn’t. Your Guiding Principles hardly ever change. They are the “voice” that guides your every decision for life.
Guiding Principles trigger that nagging voice in your head that punishes you when you break them and give you the reassuring pat on the back when you follow their guidance. It is the conscience that keeps you on the straight-and-narrow path to right decision and becomes the very soul of your business.
If you want to leverage their power, make them part of your daily conscious thought. Start paying attention to your emotions in different situations. Every time something triggers strong negative emotions (like anger), ignore what triggered it for a moment and think about what Guiding Principle of yours has been broken. Similarly, when you feel strong positive emotion (like giddiness) think about why that incident made you feel good. Those inner thoughts and feelings are your Guiding Principles.
Some examples of Guiding Principles are: [note how each is written out and clear to understand; no one word platitudes!]
- Honor all Commitments – both the spoken and unspoken ones. If you say you are going to do something and 30 seconds later you realize it is going to cost you more in time, effort or money than you thought, tough! Do it anyway. There are few things more valuable than your own reputation and integrity. (Note: One of the easiest ways to Honor every commitment you make is to Under Promise/Over Deliver).
- Compatible: Do not spend an inordinate amount of time trying to convince someone who does not want what you have to offer. Life is all about relationships – the right relationships. Surround yourself with people who support you, support what you are doing, and root for your success.
- Be Honest and Transparent – Clarify Expectations (make sure everyone fully understands including yourself) Avoid platitudes like the plague.
- Win-win or No Deal thinking: This is why I implemented One Best Price. Life’s too short to deal with a ding dong. I don’t mind honest negotiators but I have no time for win-lose negotiators. That is someone who not only feels it’s okay to leave nothing on the table for the other side but thinks they have to take the table as well.
- Under Promise/Over Deliver: Go the Extra Mile. Always do more than is expected of you.
You want people like you, to like you. So, create and nourish relationships who have your same “Speed of Trust”.
Choose to work only with the 20%!!
Your best customers share your same worldview and Guiding Principles
Write down your own principles. Over time, as you get to know them better, refine them. Make them concise. Make them conscious. Your Guiding Principles will keep you on track.