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Dave packard’s 11 simple rules

August 6, 2010

In a hyper-competitive world, it’s often easy to forget some basic rules about decency in business.

Bob Sutton, the Stanford professor, wrote about these yesterday, but although I was aware of HP’s strong corporate culture, I’d never heard of Packard’s 11 rules. They just make sense and if every company followed them, the workplace would be happier for it.

Packard write these around the time of Mad Men, 1958. He probably saw what was happening all around him and this was response.

1. Think first of the other fellow.
This is THE foundation

— the first requisite — for getting along with others.

And it is the one truly difficult accomplishment you must

make. Gaining this, the rest will be “a breeze.”

2. Build up the other person’s sense of importance.

When we make the other person seem less important, we frustrate

one of his deepest urges. Allow him to feel equality or superiority,

and we can easily get along with him.

3. Respect the other man’s personality rights. Respect

as something sacred the other fellow’s right to be different

from you. No two personalities are ever molded by precisely

the same forces.

4. Give sincere appreciation. If we think someone

has done a thing well, we should never hesitate to let him

know it. WARNING: This does not mean promiscuous use of obvious

flattery. Flattery with most intelligent people gets exactly

the reaction it deserves — contempt for the egotistical

“phony” who stoops to it.

5. Eliminate the negative. Criticism seldom does

what its user intends, for it invariably causes resentment.

The tiniest bit of disapproval can sometimes cause a resentment

which will rankle — to your disadvantage — for years.

6. Avoid openly trying to reform people. Every man

knows he is imperfect, but he doesn’t want someone else trying

to correct his faults. If you want to improve a person, help

him to embrace a higher working goal — a standard, an

ideal — and he will do his own “making over” far more

effectively than you can do it for him.

7. Try to understand the other person. How would

you react to similar circumstances? When you begin to see

the “whys” of him you can’t help but get along better with


8. Check first impressions. We are especially prone

to dislike some people on first sight because of some vague

resemblance (of which we are usually unaware) to someone else

whom we have had reason to dislike. Follow Abraham Lincoln’s

famous self-instruction: “I do not like that man; therefore

I shall get to know him better.”

9. Take care with the little details. Watch your

smile, your tone of voice, how you use your eyes, the way

you greet people, the use of nicknames and remembering faces,

names and dates. Little things add polish to your skill in

dealing with people. Constantly, deliberately think of them

until they become a natural part of your personality.

10. Develop genuine interest in people. You cannot

successfully apply the foregoing suggestions unless you have

a sincere desire to like, respect and be helpful to others.

Conversely, you cannot build genuine interest in people until

you have experienced the pleasure of working with them in

an atmosphere characterized by mutual liking and respect.

11. Keep it up. That’s all — just keep it up!


Posted by Ed Cotton

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