Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Timeless Business Advice

Patricia Sellers at Fortune blogged a great piece here on advice she received from advertising legend David Ogilvy, who died 10 years ago. Some principles are timeless and can be applied to any generation of leaders. Timeless advice transcends cultural and societal shifts and tends to provide sanity and balance to what seems to be an ever-changing and more complex world. Timeless advice is a compass that helps us get back to things that are of critical importance. I look at Ogilvy's advice to Patricia Sellers as "timeless".

Here are Ogilvy's top 7 business principles (as penned in 1991):

1. Remember that Abraham Lincoln spoke of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. He left out the pursuit of profit.

2. Remember the old Scottish motto: "Be happy while you're living, for you are a long time dead."

3. If you have to reduce your company's payroll, don't fire your people until you have cut your compensation and the compensation of your big-shots.

4. Define your corporate culture and your principles of management in writing. Don't delegate this to a committee. Search all the parks in all your cities. You'll find no statues of committees.

5. Stop cutting the quality of your products in search of bigger margins. The consumer always notices — and punishes you.

6. Never spend money on advertising which does not sell.

7. Bear in mind that the consumer is not a moron. She is your wife. Do not insult her intelligence.

You can view his original handwritten notes at Patricia Sellers Blog.

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