Reading the 48 Laws of Power again, you see the venom that author Robert Greene writes on the subject of people.
According to John Greathouse, he learned that Mr. Greeene wrote the book while struggling to succeed as a Hollywood screenwriter. A more accurate title for the book should have been ’48 Ways To Be A Worldclass Jerk.’
Mr. Greene’s book might be applicable to Hollywood’s super-competitive, mean-spirited culture. However, most of his rules are anathema to establishing a healthy startup culture.
For instance, his second law encourages power seekers to, “Never put too much trust in friends, learn how to use enemies.”Greene goes on to state that, “you have more to fear from friends than from enemies. If you have no enemies, find a way to make them.” Huh?!
This might be wise counsel for Jerry Maguire, but it is the exact opposite approach an entrepreneur should take.
Successful startups rely on a network of stakeholders who have a vested interest in the venture’s success. These mutually advantageous relationships are optimized when they are built on a foundation of trust, rather than coercion, trickery or fear.
If an entrepreneur were to strictly follow Mr. Greene’s rules, they might have a shot at producing a screenplay, but they would almost certainly fail in business. Yet when viewed through the prism of honor and transparency, a handful of Mr. Greene’s laws offer helpful counsel to forthright entrepreneurs.
Amoral, cunning, ruthless, and instructive, this piercing work distills three thousand years of the history of power in to 48 well explicated laws
Here are the 48 Laws of Business Power
LAW 1. Never outshine the master
You deliver a job and your master claims your glory. . What do you do? Do you scream blue murder?
Expose the truth….
Or rather wait because every dog has his day. It is your loyalty and humility that would take you further than you could ever think or imagine.
A second scenario is never confront the mightier competitor; at least never make your moves visible. Do not get into a direct line of fire, rather lie low and watch the tactics and strategize accordingly.
LAW 2. Never put too much trust in friends, learn how to use enemies
Listen to your enemies they are hardly sycophantic and they would always be the first to tell you that you have not taken your bath for the day.
This way you can improve yourself and you become more clean and pure, than you would with soap and water.
Successful entrepreneurs rely on a network of stakeholders who have a vested interest in the venture’s success.
These mutually advantageous relationships are optimised when they are built on a foundation of trust, rather than on coercion, trickery or fear.
There are no friends but foes in the fiercely competitive markets. Learn from your competitors’ failures and successes. Use their good strategies with utmost ingenuity. Even go to the extent of hiring the key aids of your competition to get to the core of their reasoning.
LAW 3. Conceal your intentions
Keep the public off-balance and in the dark by never revealing the true purpose behind your actions. Never let your real intentions be visible. Moreover, conceal your business and marketing plans as closely guarded secrets.
Catch your competitors’ unaware. Announcing products before they are ready gives time to “aggressive followers” to respond, raise client’s expectations exponentially, and let people pass the judgement by idea and concept not by the actual product.
The truth is if they have no idea what you are up to, they cannot steal your refined ideas. By concealing your intentions,it makes you to always lead your competition in the marketplace.
Ignore the power of concealment and secrecy at your own peril.
Don’t associate your organisation and brand with anything which showcases you in a negative frame
Law 4. Always say less than necessary
Fulfill your clients needs by saying less and listening more. The more you say, the more common you appear. Keep your messages to clients open ended without looking vague.
The relationship between brands and clients go from enticing phase to relationship phase. In both, saying less and being clear means more understanding.
Communicate to build the “X” factor around your brand, the aura which overwhelms the audience. Powerful brands impress and intimidate by saying less. Don’t clutter your message with too much information; it repels not seduce.
Let your actions convey your capabilities – deliver value to your clients rather than promises of future greatness
Law 5. So much depends on reputation; defend it with your life
In the digital age, reputations are easily besmirched and difficult to rehabilitate. Protect your personal and corporate brands by always doing what you should do, rather than what you could do.
Corporate and brand reputation are two different approaches; and equally critical.
Corporate reputation directed inward indicates respect the organisation has among varied groups and individuals – clients, employees, shareholders, media, suppliers, vendors, etc.
Brand reputation directed outwards. It relies on the promise that the brand made to its customers and the extent to which the promise is fulfilled. It is about unwavering faith of clients in the brand.
Reputation is the underlined criteria for “Most admired companies” and “most trusted brands” lists released by Fortune.
It is important that under no circumstance must you ever allow anybody play with your corporate and brand reputation. They are the survival requisites for you and you must guard them with your life.
It is in times of looking for investments, contracts, etc that these things play out. Most reputed corporations and brands are the most respected and, obviously, the most valuable.
A strong reputation is desired and stakes are all-time high.
LAW 6: Court Attention at all costs
Capturing attention is what marketing and advertising plans boil down to; culminating with the decision of the customer to buy.
Organisations spend billions of naira and dollars just to court attention.
There are so many choices available to get the attention of your audience today; direct marketing, social media, referrals, affiliates, mobiles, telemarketing; the options are just too many.
Cross promote your product, build pre-launch hype, create harmless controversies around your product or service, rope in trendsetters, influencers and business bodies to endorse your product or service.
Don’t sell products or brands, sell promise and gratification. Do your very best to fulfill your promises.
LAW 7. Get others to do the work for you, but always take the credit
Look for people, technologies, ideas outside that can help your business; and poach, buy, grab.. do whatever you can.
The world is full of famous borrowers of other people’s know how.
Using the mobile phone as an example, almost all the brands of mobile phones in the market look alike.
Some businesses even go as far as patenting other business innovation like Edison did with Tesla’s innovations or Infinix Note series phones that looks exactly like the Samsung Galaxy series or even Samsung using Apple’s designs. The list is endless.
Let your competitors build the market; while you reap the benefits. In summary, be the aggressive fast follower.
LAW 8. Make other people come to you — use bait if necessary!
Create pull and sustain it by all means.
Use every technique in the book to entice, seduce, and cajole your customers and clients. Make them come to you and be dependent on you. Locking down on operating systems, offering “baits” masked in promotional campaigns, using means to make media to write positive reviews, targeting customers and clients’ emotional domains, promise to fulfill the desired etc. can work to create the “pull.”
Quality, consistency, honesty, trust, etc are obvious must haves to succeed in business.
And remember, there is nothing right or wrong, these laws are amoral.
LAW 9. Win through your actions, never through argument
Demonstrate, do not elucidate. At least listen to your customers and connect with them. Give them ears. Organisations and brands are ultimately judged by their actions.
See your brand promise through emotional, rational, psychological, and ethical dimensions. The promise, in words and actions, must be honest and straightforward.
If you find something inappropriate with your brand in terms of delivering the promise; apologise immediately and move on. Never defend.
Deliver what you promise. Pompous campaigns loaded heavily with promises not converting to actions on the ground are sure recipe for disaster.
Your actions always speak louder than words.
LAW 10. Infection — avoid the unhappy and unlucky
Thirteen years ago Eedris Abdulkareem sacrificed his career for Nigerian artistes by taking on the biggest rapper in the world, 50 Cent. He lost all the contracts he had at the time.
Lance Armstrong also suffered the same fate immediately after the doping scandal, involving the cycling legend – Nike, Anheuser-Busch, LUX, FRS Co., Oak investment partners, Trek bicycle corp, and many more all ended contracts and all relations with him.
They are all complying with the 10th law.
Do not associate your organisation and brand with anything that showcase you in the negative frame.
Opening up the brand is fine but must be moderated.
Avoid negative media reviews; attend to clients complaints with alacrity, associate your brand with positive platforms, people and brands.
The unfortunates will spell doom, not only on them but will be a disaster for your organisation and brand as well.
Always remember law 5 – “So much depends on reputation — guard it with your life!”
the 48 laws of business power continues in the next post……..so stay tuned!
Have you been applying these laws in your business before today?
I would like to know in what way. Please comment in the box below!!!