THE SECRET TO SUCCESS
a cranky re-run from May 2013
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!
Son looks great in a suit (and I'm not being prejudiced by the fact I'm his mom) but he can't seem to do whatever else is required to make it in the field he wants to make it in. Perhaps in addition to looking good in a suit he needs a bit of education to back him up.ReplyDelete
I wish I'd read your advice when I was still working. Suits weren't my thing so I'm wondering if I should have worn something better than pretty skirts and non-see through tops!!ReplyDelete
No wonder I failed. I never owned a suit in my life.ReplyDelete
LOL.....these are great! My husband's boss (a woman) recently told him he needs to not work so hard. Only in this day and age would a superior suggest that! Back in my working day, the secret to success was a degree from a prestigious-sounding school. In other words, a 2.5 from Wake Forest grad was better off than a 4.0 University of Toledo grad.ReplyDelete
You want to get ahead...three words...."PLAY THE GAME' and don't let your individuality show.ReplyDelete
Great advice. Or horrible. One or the other.ReplyDelete
Around here, the secret to success is giving speeches to the employees that are so boring that no one has the energy to notice they have no substance at all.
Great advice Joe, I noticed that if you work too hard and do your job to well, then you are suddenly "not promotable" and in a sense stuck right where you are.ReplyDelete
I can't help but think the criteria are quite different for women!ReplyDelete
I always made sure my boys had suits, ties, dress shirts and a good pair of dress shoes. Same with my daughter only a nice dress and dress shoes. Whether we were invited to a wedding, a big party or had to go to a funeral, the kids were always put together and looked sharp. I'm happy they have carried this on with their own kids and all of them still look sharp.ReplyDelete
I don't know if this still holds true or not, but in my day, Rule 6 was: Be Tall. As they say in basketball, you can't teach height. That's crucial for being able to look down and physically intimidate. . .ReplyDelete
There are so many rules that aren't mentioned here and I'll leave it at that.ReplyDelete
Have a fabulous day. ☺
I know most people can't work for themselves but I would settle for much less if I didn't have to kow tow to aReplyDelete
You've certainly nailed down how people rise to their level of incompetence.ReplyDelete
and don't forget number 6 - stay away from the Zerox machine at office parties.ReplyDelete
Gosh, you make me almost want to get back into the work force to try those tools. Almost.ReplyDelete
Since our small town hospital is now part of a big corporate gobbledygook, this makes so much sense! I've never seen our CEO (a woman) in the same outfit twice. Of course I've only seen her twice in the last year. But hey, I'm just a working gal who wears the same outfit every day in surgery. I'm getting some cool surgery shoes and see if I get a raise!ReplyDelete
The secrets I've discovered are: be on time, meet deadlines, don't make waves, and laugh at the jokes of your superiors, whether they're funny or not.ReplyDelete
I work with engineers. They don't look good in suits, but their secret to success is pretty simple:ReplyDelete
If it moves and shouldn't, duct tape.
If it doesn't move and should, WD-40.
Dang. Someone was paying attention :)ReplyDelete
My greatest accomplishment in my career was moving to Phoenix where I didn't have to wear a tie.ReplyDelete
Or, you could just marry the boss's daughter. ;)ReplyDelete
i think whatever you said is followable along with many other things .ReplyDelete
Luck is also part of the game.
anyway i will ask my son to read your post before starting his own business which is his dream.
I agree with the suit thing. I do not wear a suit at work since I work in a warehouse. I do wear dress shirts and jeans. I am the best dressed person on the work floor. Someone complained about my tee shirts, and now I dress better then them do. Plus my supervisors and the warehouse manager is always telling me what a good job I do in front of the person I believe who complained since she complains about everything. I backup the good looks with good work.ReplyDelete