People often ask me, “Cranky, what is the secret to success in the business world?” As one who spent 40 years toiling for a large brokerage firm, starting at the bottom and ending up above bottom, it is little wonder that I am chosen to impart the secret to success in the business world.
My qualification in answering this burning question is in watching dumbass after dumbass rise to the higher levels of management without ever having a single idea.
First let me clarify; one way to get to the top in the business world is to get an education, network yourself, ask questions, and work your ass off. No one who asks, “What is the secret to success…” is interested in that route to the top. They know that formula and are not interested in earning success.
Here is the other way to the top:
Number one, and I cannot overstate its importance is, YOU MUST LOOK GOOD IN A SUIT! You can do all those things that actual leaders do to break the glass ceiling, but if you do not look good in a suit you have no chance. Get in shape…fat fails! Buy a suit for each day. Invest in good dress shirts, ties, handkerchiefs, and expensive perfectly shined shoes. If your choice is to invest in an education or an expensive impressive wardrobe…go with clothes.
Number two, act important. Carry yourself as if you belong. Don’t ask questions, and never answer a question if you are not sure of the answer. Learn to respond with, “What do you think?” or “I’m busy, check with Ralph” and “You’re kidding me right?” Of course learn the all-important commands, “I don’t care how you get it done, just do it!” and “I don’t want excuses, I want results!”
Number three; never do anything if you can get someone else to do it for you. This allows you to take credit for skillful delegating when a project is successful, while allowing you to throw someone under the bus if the project fails. Never offer an idea at a meeting, but always voice your concern, “That sounds great Bob, but I’m concerned that if it doesn’t work it could be expensive.” If the idea works, you were behind it. If it flops, well you were concerned! If anything goes wrong, such as a new computer program or a sales idea flops, be the first to question, “Didn’t anyone test that?”
Number four, learn the terminology. I have been out of the loop for a while so these may be passé but, “Pick the low hanging fruit first” was always a good one. “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!” always sounds like such great advice and is perfect for putting some little shit who is way smarter than you in his place. It is really another way of saying, “If it’s not my idea, stuff it!” Always express things as from a “Perspective.” “From a time management perspective…” “From the client’s perspective…” I don’t know why, but “From a …perspective" always sounds like you are really smart.
Last but not least, number five; keep a high profile while doing nothing. Come in to work early, even if you have nothing to do. Stay late, even if you have nothing to do. Send emails cc’d to everyone at 10 pm, and 6 am.
That is it. The secret to corporate success as told from an observer. Don’t let my inability to rise beyond a supervisor of 6 people fool you; I had all the right stuff.
I just never looked good in a suit!