Rule books are fixed. Rules of thumb are flexible.
Rule books put you in a box. Rules of thumb point you on a path.
Rule books instruct you. Rules of thumb inspire you.
All the ingredients of fast-growing companies – Creativity, culture, talent, team and trust – grow with the guidance of the right rules of thumb.
Here’s Steve Jobs’ Top 10:
Rule 1 – “Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.”
Rule 2 – “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.”
Rule 3 – “One of my mantras – focus and simplicity. Simple can be harder than complex.”
Rule 4 – “My model for business is The Beatles. They were four guys who kept each other’s kind of negative tendencies in check. They balanced each other and the total was greater than the sum of the parts. That’s how I see business: great things in business are never done by one person, they’re done by a team of people.”
Rule 5 – “Sometimes when you innovate, you make mistakes. It is best to admit them quickly, and get on with improving your other innovations.”
Rule 6 – “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking.”
Rule 7 – “For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: ‘If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?’ And whenever the answer has been ‘No’ for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”
Rule 8 – “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”
Rule 9 – “Overthinking leads to negative thoughts”
Rule 10 – “Stay hungry, stay foolish.”
When you throw away the rule book, and write down your rules of thumb, you’re writing down your guiding principles. They give you a simple compass to follow instead of a complex map to remember. What are yours?