|Book Summary: Mind Your Own Business
This article is based on the following book:
Mind Your Own Business
A Maverick¬ís Guide to Business, Leadership and Life
By Sidney Harman
Doubleday & Company, Inc., 2003
A maverick is an independent person who will not go along
with the other members of a group (Oxford ESL Dictionary).
This book provides priceless stories and insights from a
maverick of the business world; an exemplary business leader
who prefers not to follow orthodox beliefs in business,
nor be eaten by the hyped up ideas of the present. Instead,
he chooses the course of action that is appropriate for
the changing times.
The Maverick¬ís Way: New Old Thing
What is effective? This is the question answered by the
maverick. He reconciles the good things from both the
Old and New times, and focuses on what is really effective
in confronting the challenges of 21st century business
A maverick thinks outside of the bed, knows that it pays
to be daring, does not allow technology to tyrannize,
finds strength in diversity, maintains balance and
harmony among people, sets leadership by example, has
a strong ethical base, and values employees and
customers. A maverick knows his customers and believes
strongly in his products. To a maverick, a company is a
not just a big candy store. It is a living instrument
with living human beings. It should have a HEART.
Keys to Leadership
The leader leads. He exercises critical judgment, which
will have a great impact on his people.
The leader defines the company. The leader¬ís
responsibility is to explicitly present and advocate
the company¬ís purposes and goals.
The leader inspires. He gives sense and meaning to the
job. He makes his people realize, that beyond profit
there is an underlying meaning, value, and deeper
reason for the work they do.
The leader should be the evangelist. He should be
able to exercise his influence, to sell the values
of ethical conduct.
The leader must see the company as a coherent whole.
He should be aware of the diversity in the company and
bring this together to promote the whole.
The leader must know that there is no better way to
create a family in the workplace than to encourage the
family at home. Harman International introduced the
anti-domestic violence program in the company, which reinforces the idea
that the company cares.
The leader should never underestimate the value of
disciplined hard work.
The leader empowers subordinates to do their jobs. He
should institute programs for the guidance and
training of his people. He should always keep the
lines of communication open.
The leader promotes closure. He should know the right
time to get things done.
The leader knows what he doesn¬ít know. The leader is
not afraid to ask
clarifications, if he does not
understand a particular subject.
The leader knows the meaning of two minutes. He should
respect the time of others and that of his own.
The leader teaches.
Above all, the leader develops others. As Lao Tzu
advanced: ¬ďthe leader having accomplished great
things, the people all feel they did it themselves¬Ö¬Ē
The very best leaders go beyond the mere setting of
example. He should be able to cause a leap of
imagination and faith in his people.
The leader recognizes that people are often at their
very best the moment they have been let go. There are
times when an employee doesn¬ít like the work anymore,
or he is unable to appreciate how the whole enterprise
works- this is the time to set him free.
A Company Must Be Profitable
1. A solid financial base is fundamental.
2. Debt should not exceed equity. A debt to equity ratio
of 1 to 1 or better should be the goal, so that a
company¬ís leader and key executives do not spend all
their time on mere survival -paying bills, meeting
the payroll, and keeping the banks happy- but moving
forward and meeting bigger challenges and doing more
3. There should be a regular process for
annual strategic planning and budget-planning.
The Fundamentals of Profit and Loss
1. Manage expectations, not the profits.
Keep the shareholders informed, to eliminate
doubts of manipulating numbers.
2. The Chairman and CEO should be
financially literate. They should know what
the numbers really mean.
3. Good growth and profitability
requires the exercise of critical judgment.
The leader should make certain that the budget
is one the company can live with.
4. In repurchasing the company¬ís own
stocks, make sure that it will add to the
5. Look into the availability of funds so that
the balance sheet will not be compromised.
Make an Edge in the Business World
1. Writing. It is a unique and powerful skill you
can use for clarity and persuasion.
2. Public Speaking and Story-telling. Speak
directly, and without notes, to your audience.
Individuals respond to a well-told story.
3. Thinking. People do not respect sloppy thinking
in a leader. Thoughts should be carefully
considered then expressed directly, crisply,
By: Regine P. Azurin and Yvette Pantilla
"A Lot Of Great Books....Too Little Time To Read"
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About the Author
Regine Azurin is the President of BusinessSummaries.com, a company that provides business book summaries of the latest bestsellers for busy executives and entrepreneurs.