Volume 49, Issue 6 - June 2014


My List of Ten
by Lyle R. Hill

You probably saw it. Or maybe you read about in the paper or heard some friends or co-workers talking about it. I think it first appeared in the news in early April of this year. And to be honest, I was a bit surprised by it.

I’m referring to what became known as the “Ten Forbidden Behaviors” and it has caused quite a stir in certain circles. It was a list of bad behaviors that needed changing and was put together by regional Chinese officials and presented to their superiors, co-workers and subordinates. The surprise, for me anyway, came from the fact that this type of thing is not common in China. It’s very rare indeed and very controversial. I won’t give you the entire list they produced and published but as an example, the very first one is “It is not allowed to flatter or kiss the ass of one’s superior. One must express one’s real views.” This is heavy duty stuff … especially if you are a Chinese Party member and operative.

I have several very good Chinese friends and I decided to call two of them to get their take on all of this. The first, Lin Yuan, who runs a decent sized import business in Chicago, told me that there are changes taking place in China—a quiet uprising if you will. People are tired of government corruption and control and, by Chinese standards, the publication of a list such as this is unusual but not totally surprising. My other Chinese friend, How Long, a professor of philosophy at a local university, also was not totally surprised but did express his hope that the list’s authors would not be punished for their candor. How Long went on to say that there is a ground swell among the Chinese people and it is felt that the government’s level of corruption and tight-fisted control has reached a point where people are ready to snap. How pointed out that, unlike Americans who can vote corrupt politicians out of office, the Communist Party in China makes all decisions on such positions. I then reminded How that we both live in Illinois and we haven’t been able to vote corrupt politicians out of office in decades. Every now and then the Feds pick one off but other than this, we in Illinois are really not much better off than the Chinese, politically speaking that is. A little bit maybe, but not much.

At any rate, I thought I should come up with a list of my own. I’ve been around for a while now and I think I have seen almost everything there is to see … although every now and then something new and amazing comes along. So here it is … my list of behaviors that need to be considered and adopted by those in leadership positions.

Lyle’s List of Recommended Behaviors

1. Always tell the truth. Lies have a way of coming back to haunt you no matter how quick and resourceful you think you are. And you’d be surprised at how many people know you are lying when you are doing so or will find out soon enough.

2. Don’t talk behind anyone’s back. If you have criticism for someone’s behavior or performance, you should go directly to them to discuss it. No backstabbing!

3. Show respect for everyone. No one deserves to be treated disrespectfully no matter what their position in business or life might be.

4. Be direct. Problems and disputes can’t get resolved until they are brought to light and discussed openly and candidly.

5. Be fair in your dealings with everyone. Always remember the old saying that what goes around comes around … and sooner or later it really does!

6. Deal with problems quickly. Don’t procrastinate. Problems don’t fix themselves and they never get better with age. They only get worse.

7. Be self-disciplined. Excellence and success only comes to the self-disciplined. I have never known a great leader who did not practice self-discipline.

8. Enjoy what you do or stop doing it. Life is too short to begin with. So if there is no fun or enjoyment coming from your job, get out. Quickly!

9. Be quick to compliment for jobs well done and make sure credit is given to the right person for outstanding performance.

10. Return your phone calls and answer your e-mails. It’s a common decency in business that seems to have been forgotten over the years. Time to fix it.

So that’s my list and I can only hope that it will speak to someone. Now don’t get me wrong, as an employee and employer I had my shortcomings. However, I think I can honestly say that I always gave it my best, but I’m human and we humans sometimes struggle in our attempts to be perfect … although I have dealt with a few people who I think believe they actually are … perfect that is. We rarely see ourselves as others do but if we can learn to deal with ourselves honestly, we’ll be all the better for it. Don’t mean to offend … just trying to be helpful!

Lyle R. Hill is the managing director of Keytech North America, a company providing research and technical services for the glass and metal industry. Hill has more than 40 years experience in the glass and metal industry and can be reached at lhill@glass.com. You can read his blog on Wednesdays at lyleblog.usglassmag.com. You can order his new book, “The Broken Tomato” at amazon.com.

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