Friday, February 9, 2007

How to be Remarkable & Is Your Boss an Asshole?

The Battle of the Asses

Blogger has made a mess of the formatting of this post, but I wanted the table layout more than anything else. The HTML is clean (except to blogger) and you can see a clear version of it here. I hate blogger. While reading this on blogger, be sure to scroll down a lot.

When I read Guy Kawasaki's post this morning, I couldn't help but recall Seth Godin's post from a few months ago.

Are these top marketing pundits describing the same person? (I didn't change the order of these, only published these side by side)

Seth Godin's
How to be

Guy Kawasaki's
Is your Boss
an Asshole?

Understand the
urgency of the situation. Half-measures simply won't do. The only
way to grow is to abandon your strategy of doing what you did
yesterday, but better. Commit.
Thinks that the rules are
different for him
For example, a parking space for handicapped
people is really for handicapped people plus him because his time is
so valuable that he can’t walk fifty additional feet. Or, the
carpool lane is for cars with multiple people, hybrids, and her
because she’s late for a meeting
Remarkable doesn't
mean remarkable to you. It means remarkable to me. Am I going to
make a remark about it? If not, then you're average, and average is
for losers.
Doesn’t understand the
difference between a position making a person and a person making a
The vice-president of acquisitions for a big media
company is a big deal, but all her power, and therefore the ability
to act like an asshole, evaporates without this title. Assholes
usually don’t understand that their current position affords them
temporary privileges.
Being noticed is not
the same as being remarkable. Running down the street naked will get
you noticed, but it won't accomplish much. It's easy to pull off a
stunt, but not useful.
Requires “handlers.” This
means a personal assistant, appointments secretary/lover, public
relations flunkie, and chauffeur. It’s funny but if an asshole
didn’t have the position/money/status, he would probably be able to
answer the phone, make appointments, talk to the press, and drive
Extremism in the
pursuit of remarkability is no sin. In fact, it's practically a
requirement. People in first place, those considered the best in the
world, these are the folks that get what they want. Rock stars have
groupies because they're stars, not because they're good looking.

Requires the fulfillment of special
requests in order to be happy/productive/efficient.

For example, she needs a special brand of spring water from the
south of France bottled by chanting monks when she’s making
a speech. This type of actions represent flexing for the sake
of flexing—not because any of this crap is necessary.

Remarkability lies
in the edges. The biggest, fastest, slowest, richest, easiest, most
difficult. It doesn't always matter which edge, more that you're at
(or beyond) the edge.
Requires the fulfillment of
special requests in order to be happy/productive/efficient.
example, she needs a special brand of spring water from the south of
France bottled by chanting monks when she’s making a speech. This
type of actions represent flexing for the sake of flexing—not
because any of this crap is necessary.
Not everyone
appreciates your efforts to be remarkable. In fact, most people
don't. So what? Most people are ostriches, heads in the sand, unable
to help you anyway. Your goal isn't to please everyone. Your goal is
to please those that actually speak up, spread the word, buy new
things or hire the talented.
Relates to people primarily
in terms of what they can do for him.
In other words, “good”
people can do a lot for him. “Lousy” people aren’t useful. The way a
lousy person becomes a good person is by showing that he can help
your boss in some way.
If it's in a manual,
if it's the accepted wisdom, if you can find it in a Dummies book,
then guess what? It's boring, not remarkable. Part of what it takes
to do something remarkable is to do something first and best. Roger
Bannister was remarkable. The next guy, the guy who broke
Bannister's record wasn't. He was just faster ... but it doesn't
Judges people by her personal
values, not the employees’ or society’s values.
Assholes judge
people according to only what they think is important. For example,
a boss may value only professional accomplishments, so someone who
is “merely” a mom or dad with a focus on a family is therefore
It's not really as
frightening as it seems. They keep the masses in line by threatening
them (us) with all manner of horrible outcomes if we dare to step
out of line. But who loses their jobs at the mass layoffs? Who has
trouble finding a new gig? Not the remarkable minority, that's for
Judges employees’ results and
his intentions.
A boss never comes up short when he juxtaposes
his intentions (“I intended to do your quarterly review”) versus an
employee’s results (“You didn’t finish the software on time”).
Instead, a boss should judge his results against his employees’
results and never mix results and intentions
If you put it on a
T-shirt, would people wear it? No use being remarkable at something
that people don't care about. Not ALL people, mind you, just a few.
A few people insanely focused on what you do is far far better than
thousands of people who might be mildly interested, right?
Asks you to do something that
he wouldn’t do.
This is a good, all-purpose test. Does your boss
ask you to fly coach while she flies first class? Does she ask you
to work weekends while he’s off at a hockey tournament? I’m all for
using boss time effectively (for example, not making her drop off a
package at Federal Express), but were it not that your boss could be
doing something more valuable for the company, would she do what
she’s asking you to do?
What's fashionable
soon becomes unfashionable. While you might be remarkable for a
time, if you don't reinvest and reinvent, you won't be for long.
Instead of resting on your laurels, you must commit to being
remarkable again quite soon.
Calls employees at home or on
the weekends.
Rarely, as in once per year, this is okay, but any
more often and your boss is certifiable. His happiness is not your
problem 24 x 7. You are entitled to your personal time and space
because slavery was abolished a long time ago in America.
Believes that the world is
out to get her when faced with criticism or even omission.
example, bloggers don’t write about her because they are all jealous
of her. Frankly, it’s more likely that he’s not worth writing about
than the blogosphere is colluding against him. This boss needs to
learn that “it’s no always about her.”
Slows down or halts your
career progress.
One can forgive or ignore the previous nine
issues, but this one is by far the worst thing an asshole boss can
do. Usually it’s a matter of convenience: “How can you leave me? I
need you.” For doing this, a boss should go into the anals (sic) of
asshole-dom. God didn’t put you on this earth to make your boss’s
life better, so don’t hesitate to abandon a boss who holds you back.


Anonymous said...

You might consider changing your tagline to:

"Watch me pull a strategy out of my ass!"

One needs to look no further than your inane musings to see why you are "in the job market" and will continue to be for long term.

Brandy Galos said...

Yea!! I'm controversial!!

I wish Anonymous had the courage to leave his/her name and to debate me on what I actually said.

If you do come back, please let me know why I'm wrong? Where my data is bad? What is it that I don't understand?