I just read this post over at The Innovation Insider, Fortune Magazine's blog on innovation. It summarizes a Wall Street Journal interview with Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons. They list "5 Tips From Richard Parsons for Managing in Times of Rapid Change."
Tip #2 is
Don't burn down the house to cash out.
I put this right up there with "Don't kill," "Don't steal" and "Don't lie." I guess I'm surprised that this is one of the top tips for managing by the CEO of Time Warner. Perhaps the Enron attitude detailed in The Smartest Guys in the Room is more pervasive that I previously thought.
Tip #3 is
Don't treat creative people like they are just cogs in a machine.
This is true, but I think it falls in my more general category of "understand what motivates your employees." If you follow my axiom, then you will find that creative employees have quite different expectations of what they want from work than non-creative employees. Creative employees don't want to be cogs and they don't want to just do what they're told, they want to contribute to the company in new ways in order to get satisfaction with from their job. If they don't, you risk them leaving for a job where they can be contribute creatively. The worst thing that you can say to a creative employee is to "keep your head down and just do your assigned job." The same holds for every other employee: understand what their motive for being at work is, and figure out how to optimally satisfy their motivation while satisfying the needs of their company.
To be fair to Richard Parsons, the 5 tips from Richard Parsons were probably inferred and extracted from his interview by some WSJ writer/editor without Parsons actually naming the tips himself.