It's a bit extreme to say there is a #1 rule in business as it is a subjective answer, but in my experience in multiple industries over the past couple decades, this is the rule that I think is a simple philosophy to live by regardless of the product or service. The same mentality applies when I'm coaching my kids flag football teams. As the head coach and offensive coordinator for PK/Kindergarten and 3rd/4th grade flag football teams, it's important for me to instill simple philosophies for them to remember. So I have a #1 rule for them in flag football as well. When you are knee deep in business or sports and the variables and situations are infinite, it's important to have certain underlying themes that help you stay focused and grounded in your overall purpose.
In my opinion, the #1 rule of business is: be easy to work with. It's a broad statement, but it can be fulfilled in a variety of ways. I have made it a priority for myself professionally to have a quick response time with clients, managers, employees, vendors, or anyone else trying to get in touch or initiate engagement. It requires you to be organized, have a good processing/filing system, and to put in the time every day to make sure you stay caught up or ahead of where you need to be. But that is only part of it. Being easy to work with requires you to take responsibility for the energy you bring into any situation. If it's a long or important meeting, a tough conversation, a stressful moment, or a celebratory moment, then are you helping or hindering the situation? Are you encouraging others and leading by example? Are you bring a sense of calm rationality to stressful situations? How simple is it to work with you or your company or to buy from you?
These are all questions that I try and continually ask to make sure the client or employee experience is the best it could be. Warren Buffett has been known to purchase multi-million dollar companies with a simple page and a half agreement (instead of the unnecessarily long legal agreements most companies use in those situations). How can we apply this to our own lives? As a domain broker, I've used the analogy that my job is like the WD-40 on domain transactions - the liquid oil spray our grandads used to keep handy in the garage for squeaky wheels or hinges. The goal as a broker is to the keep the deal always moving forward as quickly and efficiently between buyer and seller. By keeping things moving forward, you are being respectful of everyone's time and making an enjoyable experience for something that can easily be a burden and stress if not handled properly.
In personal relationships, I think a similar mentality applies as well. Be easy to be married to, be easy to be friends with, be easy to be neighbors with, etc. Being easy to work with or be around is certainly not an easy task, and it requires daily (sometimes hourly) awareness, practice, and re-centering. If we can make it a priority, then it will make life and business a lot easier for ourselves and others. Then we can focus on what I consider the next rule of business: Who are you teaching what you know? But we can save that one for another day.
In case you were wondering, in flag football as my kids' offensive coordinator, my #1 rule is to never run out of bounds with your flags on. In flag football, you are only down as the ball carrier if the other team pulls your flag. When you run out of bounds with your flags on, then you are taking yourself out of play without making the other team do their job. If you stay inbounds, then you force the other team to have to pull your flag to prevent a score. Just like in life, when you take yourself out of play by quitting or giving up or sitting one out, then you aren't putting yourself in position to advance, learn, grow, or potentially score in whatever you are doing.
Max and Charles each just finished their flag football seasons and both won the Championship game this past Saturday. As their coach and dad, one of the greatest feelings as a father is to be right there front and center to see them accomplish things as a result of the time and effort they have put in. Here is a season recap for each:
Charles #6 - Team Name 'Hawks' - https://youtu.be/GLF2zWA0tfk
Max #11 - Team Name 'Wolves' - https://youtu.be/okybsBw0eAw
Video credit: Jen Harbin (Team Mom Champion)
Have a great week!