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December 25, 2005

'Swanson's UnWritten Rules of Management' — A surprise best–seller (even though it's free)


How does that work, anyhow?

Bill Swanson is the Chairman and CEO of Raytheon Company.

When he joined Raytheon as a young engineer in 1972, he was timid and sat quietly in meetings taking notes.

He's boiled down 33 years of observations and thoughts into a little 3.5" x 6" grey spiral–bound book that Raytheon had printed.

Raytheon's given out 100,000 copies to date — and that was before this past Monday's full–page USA Today story/interview with Swanson about the smash success his little tome has had.

Want a copy?

No problema.

Just fill in the form here and yours will be on its way.

Oh, jeez, what was I thinking?

You're a very busy and important person and don't have time for stuff like filling out online forms.

Sorry — me lapse.*

My crack research team roused themselves from their collective holiday stupor long enough to locate 30 of the 33 rules: here's what they found.

    1. Learn to say, "I don't know." If used when appropriate, it will be often.

    2. It is easier to get into something than to get out of it.

    3. If you are not criticized, you may not be doing much.

    4. Look for what is missing. Few can see what isn't there.

    5. Viewgraph rule: When something appears on a viewgraph (an overhead transparency), assume the world knows about, and deal with it accordingly.

    6. Work for a boss with whom you are comfortable telling it like it is. Remember that you can't pick your relatives, but you can pick your boss.

    7. Constantly review developments to make sure that the actual benefits are what they are supposed to be.

    8. However menial and trivial your early assignments may appear, give them your best efforts.

    9. Persistence. Don't be known as a good starter but a poor finisher!

    10. In completing a project, don't wait for others: go after them, and make sure it gets done.

    11. Confirm your instructions and the commitments of others in writing. Don't assume it will get done!

    12. Don't be timid; speak up. Express yourself, and promote your ideas.

    13. Practice shows that people who speak knowingly and confidently often wind up with the assignment to get the job done.

    14. Strive for brevity and clarity in oral and written reports.

    15. Be extremely careful about the accuracy of your statements.

    16. Don't overlook the fact that you are working for a boss. Keep him or her informed — avoid surprises! Whatever the boss wants takes top priority.

    17. Promises, schedules and estimates are important instruments in a well–ordered business. You must make promises. Don't lean on the often–used phrase, "I can't estimate it because it depends on too many uncertain factors."

    18. Never direct a complaint to the top. It is a serious offense to "cc" a person's boss.

    19. When dealing with outsiders, remember that you represent the company. Be careful of your commitments.

    20. Boil matters down to the simplest terms: the proverbial "elevator speech" is best.

    21. Don't get excited in engineering emergencies. Keep your feet on the ground.

    22. Cultivate the habit of making quick, clean–cut decisions.

    23. When making decisions, the pros are much easier to deal with than the cons. Your boss wants to see the cons also.

    24. Don't ever lose your sense of humor.

    25. Have fun at what you do. No one likes a grump except another grump!

    28. We remember one–third of what we read, half of what people tell us, and 100% of what we feel.

    30. When facing issues or problems that are becoming drawn–out, "short them to to the ground." That is, managers need to get down on the factory floor and study the situation from the worker's point of view.

    31. Put yourself in your boss's shoes.

    32. A person who is nice to you but rude to the waiter is not nice. (This rule never fails.)

    33. Never be afraid to try something new. An amateur built an ark that survived a flood while a large group of professionals built the Titanic!

Swanson believes that Rule 4 is the most important of all.

If you really believe Rules 26, 27 and 29 might make the difference for you then I guess you'll just have to buckle up your chin strap and order the book.

*Jamaican patois for "what was I thinking?"

December 25, 2005 at 02:01 PM | Permalink


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No, not the frozen food company. Bill Swanson, chairman and CEO of Raytheon Company, which has quite a presence in Mississippi. He joined Raytheon in 1972. In this free book, Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management, he boils down over [Read More]

Tracked on Dec 25, 2005 3:15:21 PM



You should read:


and then reconsider whether you want your website to promote "his" book.

Posted by: NotMe | May 5, 2006 10:35:40 AM

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