The Unwritten Laws of Business

img_1862As I was wandering through the business section of the library my eyes were drawn to a little black book with gold letter on the spine reading THE UNWRITTEN LAWS OF BUSINESS by W.J.King with revisions and additions by James Skeakoon . I picked the book up straight away.

Originally written in 1944 as The Unwritten Law of Engineering by W.J.King, James Skeakoon noted the laws were applicable to business in general and revised the book to be relevant to today’s world.

There are three main sections to the book: What The Beginner Needs To Learn At Once, Relating Chiefly To Managers and Professional and Personal Considerations. This makes the book applicable to virtually everyone within the career ladder for certain parts.

As an ‘old book’ there were a number of points that have been mentioned numerous times afterward.  A few points that particularly stood out for me were:

A wrong answer is worse than no answer”- It can be hard to not given an answer. You are in your office when a question is fired at you as a subordinate you want to please your boss and as a boss you don’t want to appear inferior to your subordinate. This results in you coming up with an answer, even if it is ill-informed. The best thing to do is actually admit you don’t know the answer and find out. Don’t answer something wrong and then be held accountable in the future.

Whatever your supervisor wants done takes top priority”- This may seem obviously but when it can happen where your responsibility and what your supervisor want you to do don’t align. If you want to get to the top make sure you focus on fulfilling your boss’ priorities.

Cultivate the habit of seeking other people’s opinions and recommendations”- No one likes the person who does everything on their own. Be a team player and ask people for their thoughts. This will mean you learn more, as well as being seen as a better team player.

“A first-rate manager is a leader as well as a critic”-  I was drawn to the face that a manager has two sides. The side that is leading the way and the other which is meant to judge your work and performance.

“It by no means follows that every good employee will make a good manager.”- There is a major fault in how businesses are structured. You are a good employee and perform your job well. However, to earn more money you have to move up in the hierarchy. This usually means less time doing the job you did well before and having to manage people below this. This results in people being managers who shouldn’t, but it is the only way they can earn more.

Overall, the book is another one of the ‘law’ books, which are interesting to read, but with so many laws very difficult to remember. As neither a beginner or manager (of a team) a large percentage of the book was irrelevant, however, I could appreciate the points that were being made. As a book that was written a long time ago, even with edits it felt slightly old-fashioned and most applicable to those in big companies.

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