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As we race to the end of yet another year, I am taking some time off to rest and recharge, and to reflect on a very successful 2011.   

This is a great time of year; we are enjoying the fruits of our hard work and our considerable success.  I am using the time to plan for the next business year. The is particularly exciting for me because we bare making some changes that are designed to significantly enhance customer value while accelerating our growth.

I spent some time this week reviewing my blog archive.  I ran across the following blog entry that I wrote a year ago about my father's values in business.  It seems particularly relevant for 2012 and so I want to share it with you again:

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Working for my father during my teenage years in his highly successful retail bakery in Tyler, Tex., I learned some  of life's important rules and key lessons of business.  He died in 1989 but today he remains my True North

Here are Lloyd Self’s Five Rules.  He never wrote them down; he just lived them.

1.  Do what is right, even when no one is looking .

2.  The customer comes first.  Honor that.  It is not just a rule; it is who you are. 

3.  The customer is not always right.  See rule #2. 

4.  Quality counts. 

5.  We all make mistakes.  We all get tired.  We all want to cut corners because of time or fatigue. When that happens, remember rules #1 and #2.

 In more than 16 years of interviewing and watching CEOs and other senior executives as a partner in an executive search firm, I have added another very important rule.

6.  Respect your employees as if they were your customers.  You will get more for your money.  Do not yell at, bully, or criticize your employees, especially in public.  There is no room in any company for an abusive leader.

We should pause and reflect throughout the year and measure how we are doing against these "rules."  If we do that, we will become a better leader. 

Happy New Year to you and your family.

© 2011 John Gregory Self

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