Commandments for Business Failure… Isolate Yourself!

If you want to fail… or not come close to your full potential… here is a guaranteed winning strategy!  Simply isolate yourself.  Join the millions of people who have created their own personal or professional bubble…  a guaranteed winning strategy to fail.

Dick Cavett had it right when he said, “It’s a rare person who wants to hear what he doesn’t want to hear.”  I would add that it is a rare person who is TRULY WILLING to carefully listen to what he or she does not want to hear!

Most people, and most executives, particularly senior executives are far more isolated than they realize.  The isolation trap is so attractive, so appealing, for a million different reasons that most executives and leaders rationalize and succumb to its sweet allure.  Most don’t have a clue just how isolated they are.  They are happy, content and comfortable in their own self-made, highly protected bubble.  If you don’t believe the rather strong previous statement, simply take the time to very nicely pose this question to a number of the people you know who, without a doubt, are isolated… “Do you believe you are too isolated to be most effective?”  Virtually 100% of the responses will be “NO, I AM NOT TOO ISOLATED!”  Many will also say or imply, “why would you ask that???”

We are all isolated in many areas and in many ways.  No one can stay in touch with everything and everyone.  So, it is a matter of priorities and choice.  Make no mistake… those priorities and those choices will rule and dominate your life and your level of personal and professional success!

Here are some great ways to assure that you become or remain isolated.

  • Be a know-it-all.  People will avoid you like the plague!
  • Talk about yourself.  The more, the better.  People will avoid you like the plague!
  • Believe you are better than others.  People will avoid you like the plague!
  • Live the philosophy… it’s all about me!  People will avoid you like the plague!
  • Dominate other people.  Be sure they know how smart, wise and successful you are.
  • Demand or expect respect, rather than earn it.
  • Distrust people until they prove themselves trustworthy.
  • Demand or expect people to carry out YOUR agenda.
  • Set your top three personal and professional priorities as follows:  Me, me, and me.  Be absolutely sure to put yourself first in all things.
  • Create effective barriers and obstacles to keep people away from you…or gain access to you.
  • The “chosen few.”
  • Limit access to the “chosen few” who report to you or agree with you.
  • Socialize only with the “chosen few.”
  • Be absolutely sure that common folks… the riff-raff… the people who want something from you… the people who want to sell you something… CANNOT GET TO YOU.
  • Always eat lunch with the same selected few.  Better yet, have lunch catered in the executive suit.
  • Be sure to spend time only with friends, colleagues and advisors who are paid, monetarily or otherwise, to think you are wonderful.
  • Keep virtually everyone, except the chosen few, at a comfortable distance.
  • Never… ever… ever:
  • Answer your own phone.  You are too good and important for that!
  • Respond to emails, except for the “chosen few.”
  • Visit current and potential customers, asking, “What is good… what needs improvement… what should be eliminated… how can we more effectively help and serve you?”
  • Walk around your work environment and simply talk to people… asking them how WE are doing, how THEY are doing and what WE might do better.
  • Be sure a well trained assistant, armed with a whip, sharp knife, billy club, hand cuffs and a loaded gun is guarding, protecting and blocking access to you at all times.
  • Be sure to obtain almost all of your information from your trusted staff.  After all, as an isolated person, these people are there to tell you what you want to hear!
  • At all costs, keep all potential critics way… way out of your way!
  • Make it crystal clear… “Bring me only good news!”
  • Be sure to study and learn from well-known isolationists such as Adolf Hitler
  • Anytime there is success, take all the credit and hog the limelight.  This will drive people away from you and assure you become even more isolated!
  • Talk to and spend time with only those who agree with your opinions or your point of view.

Isolate your office and work space… the more isolated, the better.  The work desk and secluded office is one of the most common isolation tools… and traps.  Someone correctly observed, “A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.”

The allure and tendency to isolate ourselves, particularly during bad or tough times, is exactly why Winston Churchill created a special office during World War II.  The sole duty of that office was to bring him bad news.  Regardless of all else, Churchill wanted truth and reality!

In commandment three of his book entitled The Ten Commandments for Business Failure, Donald Keough writes the following:

“If you effectively isolate yourself, you will not only not know what you don’t knowabout your business, but you will remain supremely and serenely confident that what you do know is right.”

To stay appropriately connected, to remain close to what is reality, and to remain in close contact with the people and information you desperately need for maximum success is extremely hard work.  Staying appropriately connected and in touch with reality is far more difficult, probably by a multiple of 100 or more in my opinion, than to become isolated.  And, I would argue that remaining in close touch with reality becomes more and more difficult, for a whole host of reasons, as you climb the ladder of success in business or in other areas of your life.  Isolation is an extremely dangerous trap wherein many work and live!

Most who read this article will quickly brush it aside and incorrectly assume that isolation does not apply to them.  Not so quick my friend!  Isolation, in various alluring forms, applies to and affects each and every one of us.  Take the time to closely examine your personal and professional life and the way to work and act.  Ask for honest feedback and perspectives from those who will give you the unvarnished truth… which usually does not include those who have been trained to tell you what you want to hear and give you the news you want!  Isolation, just like extremely high blood pressure, is always destructive, deadly and ultimately lethal over time!  We must address the issue.

If you want to fail… or not even come close to your full potential… this is a guaranteed winning strategy!  Simply isolate yourself!  Join the millions of people who have created their own personal or professional bubble…  a guaranteed winning strategy to fail!

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I am a leader, speaker, and author who is passionate about Leadership Excellence and Achieiving Greater Success. I am the author of the books Be An Inspirational Leader(2016) and Presidential Leadership (2013), and deliver keynote presentations on those topics and several others.

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