Book Notes: The Rules of Work

Notes on “The Rules of Work: A Definitive Code for Personal Success” by Richard Templar.

I compiled these notes back in July 2007.

Introduction to the Rules

The Rules of Work is a book on how to be successful in the workplace without becoming unpleasant. Templar observes that, “Being good at your job is not enough if you want to be really successful”. Templar explains that being good at your job is a requirement, but it is not enough. There are other things that are equally important:

  1. How you do you job
  2. How others perceive you doing your job
  3. What you do in addition to your job

In the Forward, Templar summarises the requirements of successful persons. Apart from doing their job well, they:

  • Do their job Well
  • Look the part
  • Act one step ahead
  • Walk your talk
  • Never let anyone know how hard they work
  • Have a plan
  • Know the people who count

Templar then presents 10 “rules” that enable someone to achieve these aims. Supposedly, the Rules apply no matter what you do.

Being good at your job is not enough if you want to be really successful.R

Richard Templar

The Benefits of Following the Rules

The benefits of following the rules are supposedly:

  1. A swift and meteoric rise in success
  2. Appearing to Be stylish, smart, clever, languid, cool, collected, confident, extremely capable

The Rules

The rules are:

1: Walk your talk

That is, know your job and do it well.

Richard Templar

1.1: Get your walk noticed

Doing more of the same won’t get you noticed, so do something out of the ordinary.

Richard Templar

1.2: Never stand still

Don’t just get through the day. Move towards promotion.

Richard Templar

1.3: Volunteer carefully

Only step forward when it will make you look good or will really help someone in need.

Richard Templar

1.4: Carve out a niche for yourself
1.5: Under promise and over deliver
1.6: Know something the others don’t
1.7: Be 100 per cent committed
1.8: Enjoy what you are doing
1.9 Develop the right attitude

  • See things from the manager’s point of view.
  • Go the extra mile
  • Be positive
  • Have high standards

1.10: Never let anyone know how hard you work

2: Know that you’re being judged at all times

2.1: Dress well
2.2: Cultivate a smile
2.3: No limp fish — develop the perfect handshake
2.4: Exude confidence and energy

When you walk through the office first thing you should have a spring in your step.

Richard Templar

2.5: Develop a style that gets you noticed

Think: Classic, timeless, quality.

Richard Templar

2.6: Pay attention to personal grooming.

Make each day as conscientious as an interview day.

Richard Templar

2.7: Be attractive

  • Have presence and personality
  • Be warm, friendly and articulate
  • Looks are all smile and eyes
  • Develop good posture
  • Get blemishes fixed

2.8 Be cool

Remain civilized and sophisticated at all times.

Richard Templar

2.9 Speak well

  • Bright
  • Clear
  • Pleasant
  • Simple

2.10: Write well

  • Legible
  • Neat
  • Mature
  • Consistent

3: Have a plan

3.1: Know what you want long term
3.2: Know what you want short term
3.3: Study the promotion system
3.4: Develop a game plan
3.5: Set objectives
3.6: Know your role
3.7: Know your yourself — strengths and weaknesses
3.8: Identify key times and events

There is no point using all your energy and power when it ain’t necessary.

Richard Templar

3.9: Anticipate threats

Each threat that becomes a reality is an opportunity to grow and change.

Richard Templar

3.10: Look for opportunities

4: If you can’t say anything nice — shut up

4.1: Don’t gossip
4.2: Don’t bitch
4.3: Stand up for others
4.4: Compliment people sincerely
4.5: Be cheerful and positive
4.6: Ask questions
4.7: Use ‘please’ and ‘thank you’
4.8 Don’t swear
4.9 Be a good listener
4.10 Only speak sense

5: Look after yourself

5.1: Know the ethics of your industry
5.2: Know the legalities of your industry
5.3: Set personal standards
5.4: Never lie
5.5: Never cover up for anyone else
5.6: Keep records
5.7: Know the difference between the truth and the whole truth
5.8: Cultivate your support/contacts/friends
5.9: Understand others’ motives
5.10: Assume everyone else is playing by different rules

6: Blend in

6.1: Know the corporate culture
6.2: Speak the language
6.3: Dress up or down accordingly
6.4: Be adaptable in your dealings with different people
6.5: Know where to hang out, and when
6.6: Understand the social protocols
6.7: Know the rules about authority
6.8: Know the rules about the office hierarchy
6.9: Never disapprove of others
6.10 Understand the herd mentality

7: Act one step ahead

7.1: Dress one step ahead
7.2: Talk one step ahead
7.3: Act one step ahead
7.4: Think one step ahead
7.5: Address corporate issues and problems
7.6: Talk of ‘we’ rather than ‘I’
7.7: Walk the talk
7.8: Spend more time with senior staff
7.9: Get people to assume you have already made the step
7.10: Prepare for the step after next

8: Cultivate diplomacy

8.1: Ask questions in times of conflict
8.2: Don’t take sides
8.3: Know when to keep your opinions to yourself
8.4: Be conciliatory
8.5: Never lose your temper
8.6: Never get personal
8.7: Know how to handle other people’s anger
8.8: Stand your ground
8.9: Be objective about the situation
8.10: Put things in perspective

9: Know the system — and milk it

9.1: Know all the unspoken rules of office life
9.2: Know what to call everyone
9.3: Know when to stay late and when to go early
9.4: Know the theft or perks rule
9.5: Identify the people who count
9.6: Be on the right side of the people who count
9.7: Be well up on new management techniques
9.8: Know the undercurrents and hidden agendas
9.9: Know the favourites and cultivate them
9.10: Know the mission statement and understand it

10: Handle the opposition

10.1: Identify the opposition
10.2: Study them closely
10.3: Don’t back-stab
10.4: Know the psychology of promotion
10.5: Don’t give too much away
10.6: Keep your ear to the ground
10.7: Make the opposition seem irreplaceable
10.8: Don’t damn the opposition with faint praise
10.9: Capitalise on the career enhancing moments
10.10: Cultivate the friendship and approval of your colleagues

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