What are your guiding principles?

This past Thursday, I was invited to attend an award ceremony to celebrate the induction of three successful business leaders and supporters of Junior Achievement into the Junior Achievement Chicago Business Hall of Fame.  One of the laureates of the evening was Roy Carlson, chairman emeritus and founder of TDS (Telephone and Data Systems, Inc., the parent company of U.S. Cellular,  where I’ve been employed for over seven years.

Roy Carlson’s son, Walter Carlson accepted the award on his father’s behalf stating, “Roy would very much liked to have been here tonight, but at the age of 96, I think he is entitled to stay at home with his wife of 67 years.”

During Walter’s remarks he mentioned six simple principles his father used to lead his life.  The principles are as follows:

  1. You can’t get out of your fingers, what you don’t have in your head.
  2. You must plan ahead and work your plan.
  3. You must work hard.
  4. Do not put off until tomorrow, what you can do today.
  5. Your work must be of service and delight your customer.
  6. Your work is never done in isolation: each person on the team plays their critical part and is integral to any success.  Everyone shares the credit.

I was recently listening to an old audio segment from Earl Nightingale on ‘success’ and during his talk he said, “Failure is really defined as the lack of any attempt to be successful.  The man (or woman) that does not fail, due to the fact that they have tried absolutely nothing, is the true failure.”

Well, I believe we can all agree that Mr. Roy Carlson is a success.  He didn’t just attempt to build a company; he built a company that combined with its subsidiaries produces revenues of 5.2 billion dollars a year.  He didn’t just attempt to get married.  He’s been married sixty-seven years.

I’m always looking for new examples of success as well as the formulas that were used to help these individuals achieve this success.

These six simple principles from Roy Carlson have obviously been proven to work and they are founded in almost a century of wisdom.

About five years ago I created seven principles with which I guide my own life.  After listening to the wisdom of Mr. Carlson it may be time to take a fresh look at these six principles and give them a tweak. (I really like his first principle!)

What principles have you chosen to adhere to in your life?
Are they written down and committed to memory?
Did you come up with these principles yourself or did you borrow a few from a successful mentor or leader?

I’d love to hear them if you’re willing to share…

If you answered ‘no’ to the first two questions above…using the Mr. Carlson’s principles until you create your own would be a good start.

Hope you agree…that’s why I shared them!

3 thoughts on “What are your guiding principles?

  1. Mike A says:

    Guiding principles are of paramount importance! One can look at their own adopted or borrowed principles as a code to live by and as a functional platform to pursue success from. I shared my principle attributes with you when visiting Chicago and the full disclosure is forthcoming in 2013. Get ready to write that foreword..

  2. Becky says:

    Thank you for the reminder to pause and reflect on my guiding principles 🙂

    You get what you give so be the model of what you expect.
    Don’t assume, seek to understand.
    Make the time to reflect.
    Don’t let ego stand in the way of a learning opportunity.

  3. Sabrina says:

    The guiding principles I follow come from the Bible. I continue to learn more spiritually, which helps me align my external behaviors. I strongly believe that my life must align and continously be tweaked to live out the values and principles layed out by God, and I have committed them to my heart.

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