Campbell’s Rules of Life -Part 1

For several years, laws or rules or facts of life were the in thing to come up with.  We had Parkinson’s Law, Laws of Money, The Peter Principle and even Al Capp in the comic strip “Lil Abner” had his chaaracter Mamie Yokum stating astute ‘facts of life”.  Most of these are long since forgotten, but the one that everyone seems to remember is Murphy’s Law:  “If ther is ever any chance that something will go wrong, it will!”  Several years ago I decided that although Murphy was right, his law was too pessimistic.  So I formulated Campbell’s Law:  “Nothing is ever easy, but you can make it if you persevere.” 

Sometime after that I inherited an organizatin and as the new manager it was suggested that people in the organization would like to hear what I thought was important for them to be successful.  We had scheduled and employee meeting with a full agenda that did not allow me much time.  This organiztion had a quite diverse set of functions, each of which had it’s own set of success factors.  It would have taken most of the day, I thought, to go throug each one individually (and probably bored people to death). So how to say something worth while in a short period.  What did I think was important for an individual to remeber for success, that could be condensed to 5 minutes?  It was in interesting challange, but after considerable thoought, I came to the following:

Campbell’s Critical Criteria

  1. Have honesty and integrity:   While stealing or mis appropriation of cmpany assets, was a firing offence, what I had in mind went further than this.  Honesty means being open and forthright aabout telling the truth.  Integrity means doing what you say –  keeping commitments and “walking the walk” not just “talking the talk”.
  2. Have respect for our fellow employees and customers:  We have a lot of laws in this coountry that we wouldn’t need if we all had respect for each other. We all have different tallents, knowledge and experience which can be a good thing.  We will not all agree on everything, but we can learn from each other.  We all have gaps in our knowledge and experience.  But if we can learn from each other and pool our abilities, we will all fare much better. And sharing productively starts with having respect for each other.  Everyone will have more success if we can do that.
  3. Be good at what you do:  We all need to understand the needs of our customers and we all have customers.  We need to be able to do things that the customer needs done in a good and professional manner.  Sometimes we may have to say “no” to something we are asked to do.  We need to able to do that when necessary, but if we understand the customers’s need we should be able to suggest an alternative that may frequently be better than the solution he originally asked for.
  4. Have fun:  Work should be fun.  If we like and respect the people we work with, if we’re good at what we do, then work should be fun.  Enjoy it – we should not take things (and especially ourselves too seriouly) and we should not be afraid to laugh (or at least smile a little).

More recently, for a number of different reasons, I’ve arrived at three rules of life – or facts of life that I think we should alll try to remember.  I will sare these with my next post.


About tjc13

BE - Chem Engineering, Vanderbilt Univ, MBA, University of Tulsa - Worked for an energy and chemical company for many years and then started a management consulting business working for both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.
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