Dave's Don'ts

Origin of Dave’s Don’ts

I’ve worked in a number of different organizations and different types of organizations in my pre-consultant career.  And I’ve visited many different companies while auditing and consulting.  I have met and continue to meet a lot of top-notch talent and just all-around good people.  But, I’ve also seen my share of bad and just downright boneheaded behavior.  I take a lot of notes about the good and the bad and continue to learn from my observations.  Around the turn of the century, I started a toxic behavior list that I affectionately refer to as “Dave’s Don’ts”.  In effect, I am telling myself: “Dave, don’t ever do this!”.  When I got the inkling to write a blog, I thought this would be a great source of material, and so this is how my  blog was born.  A good portion of my entries will be about toxic behaviors that I am reminding myself to avoid.  (On the off chance that we may cross paths, I’m hoping that you will consider doing the same.)  In other posts I may share a bit of my business or personal philosophy, but still based on a “Don’t”.  And in yet other posts, I will share some specific operational and organizational excellence wisdom that I have come across in one medium or another.  I like to share.

Why Don’ts?

I suspect that some of you may think “What’s with all the Don’ts?  Why is Dave so negative?”. I don’t see this as negative at all.  Do you like football?  I do.  Were you ever close enough to the action to overhear what the coach tells the backup quarterback when he needs to go in?  (Stay with me, a point is coming.)  You see, the game is on the line.  The star has just taken a big hit and can’t return to the game.  The coach still thinks the win is within reach, but circumstances have forced a change in strategy.  Instead of telling his star what to do to win, he now switches to telling his backup what NOT to do to NOT lose.  Semantics?  I don’t think so.  I think it is a matter of simplifying the game.  Instead of giving the green quarterback a long list of what to do that he’ll probably mess up, the coach provides a short list of what NOT to do.  This is much more manageable.  And in football, ignoring the unlikely tie game, “not losing” is the same as winning!   I strongly believe that this approach is also very powerful in business management and life in general. That is, I don’t need to get everything right, but there a few things that can really sink me if I get them wrong.  (Think of the Jeopardy player that is way ahead but loses the  game because of a bad gamble on the final question.)  Plus, the list of don’ts is shorter and this improves focus.  I’m sure that you have learned a few “don’ts” of your own in your travels through life.  These are mine.  I hope that you find some of them useful, or at least though provoking.