What Are The New Rules Of Work?

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Point-Counterpoint  |  Read the post and join the discussion

Point Counter PointThe world is changing and it will continue to change faster than ever before. What are the new rules of work?  What does it really take to succeed?  Robin Sharma believes that are 50 New Rules of Work that are critical to success.  I esteem Mr. Sharma’s work and books, but there are a number of his rules that I disagree with I believe that discussing different points of view is critical on a number of levels, and I welcome you to share YOUR opinion.

Mr. Sharma, if you see this post, please know that I think you have done exceptional work and no one would argue with your contribution, but I disagree with many of your “new rules of work” because I think they can only be ascribed to people who are in a position of power, entrepreneurs who innately thrive on change/challenges, people who are exceeding high performers and those who are in positions to influence and impact decisions and organizational culture.

 Express your point of view.  Share your opinion by emailing me at irene@justcoachit.com or posting a comment on the blog!

The 50 New Rules of Work by Robin Sharma

1. You are not just paid to work. You are paid to be uncomfortable – and to pursue projects that scare you.
My take:  Pursuing project that scare you (as opposed to challenge you) is a recipe for disaster.  Fear automatically kicks off your amygdala and puts you into fight or flight mode, it also has a negative impact on cognition and memory.  Entrepreneurs can thrive when uncomfortable, and have the innate ability to pursue projects others would not dare to undertake, but 90% of the population does not fall into this category.  The ability to look for positive challenges is critical, as is the ability to develop intra-preneurs (employees, managers and leaders who can have an entrepreneurial eye within an organizational culture where collaboration is critical)

2. Take care of your relationships and the money will take care of itself.
My take:  Relationships are the foundation for all success, but you can have great relationships with the wrong people or be pigeon holed in the wrong sector or industry where the relationships you have will not and cannot help you earn more money.  There are also industries and many sectors where making big money is nearly impossible. Furthermore, having the right skills or the right people on the bus is also critical to monetization.

3. Lead you first. You can’t help others reach for their highest potential until you’re in the process of reaching for yours.

4. To double your income, triple your rate of learning.
My take: Increasing learning and re-learning is critical, but there are people who accelerate learning and will not and cannot double their income for a multiplicity of reasons.

5. While victims condemn change, leaders grow inspired by change.
My take: I disagree that victims condemn change, because there are many victims who would love to embrace positive change and growth, but have not yet developed the skills to do so. While some leaders are inspired by change, I believe that the backbone of leadership is not being inspired by change, but being committed to inspiring, enabling and modeling positive change.

6. Small daily improvements over time create stunning results.

7. Surround yourself with people courageous enough to speak truthfully about what’s best for your organization and the customers you serve. My take:  In principle this is so true, but if you are not the boss, not the CEO…if you are not in charge of hiring decisions or the culture in which you work is not progressive; surrounding yourself with people who will be truthful can be very hard, if not impossible.

8. Don’t fall in love with your press releases.

9. Every moment in front of a customer is a moment of truth (to either show you live by the values you profess – or you don’t).

10. Copying what your competition is doing just leads to being second best.
My take.  Sometimes second best is excellent.  If you are not stealing intellectual property, products or services, taking what your competition is doing and honing it to your particular market can be excellent.

11. Become obsessed with the user experience such that every touchpoint of doing business with you leaves people speechless. No, breathless.
My take: This is SO inspiring, but the ability to leave people speechless or breathless is rare.  Every touchpoint is an important opportunity to build relationships, build trust and acknowledge common goals and values.

12. If you’re in business, you’re in show business. The moment you get to work, you’re on stage. Give us the performance of your life.

My take:  I believe that business today is about authenticity.  The moment you wake, the moment you go to work you are either focused on doing your best work, being of service or NOT.  You can give a performance, but I believe that this is best used to “fake it until you make it” by being confident or engaging another attribute that you do not normally have so that you can begin to grow it.  Using the metaphor of performance can lead to imposter syndrome and other challenges that negatively impact quality of life and more.

13. Be a Master of Your Craft. And practice + practice + practice.
My take:  I agree in principle, but I think that the ability to become a master of learning and relearning is also critical, because YOUR craft can and will change. 

14. Get fit like Madonna.
My take: This is inspiring, but  I don’t think you have to or need to get fit like Madonna in order to increase cognition and wellbeing; and doing so is unattainable for the majority of people for a variety of reasons.

15. Read magazines you don’t usually read. Talk to people who you don’t usually speak to. Go to places you don’t commonly visit. Disrupt your thinking so it stays fresh + hungry + brilliant.  I agree.
My take:  The ability to move out of our intellectual and social silos is very important, and while we can all be smarter, brilliance is the attribute of a very small percentage of people.  I believe that doing the best you can do in the moment, is an important goal.

16. Remember that what makes a great business – in part – are the seemingly insignificant details. Obsess over them.
My take: I have mixed feelings as obsessing over seemingly insignificant details can lead to analysis paralysis and very often limits potential and results.  I think that one of the things that makes a great business is knowing what is important, no matter how small it is.

17. Good enough just isn’t good enough.

18. Brilliant things happen when you go the extra mile for every single customer.
My take: I disagree.  A 25 year career has shown me that going the extra mile can lead to a great relationship and long term results, but it can also have little effect if the customer does not value your putting in the extra effort.  I think it pays to do your best work, and to go the extra mile for customers who will appreciate your efforts.

19. An addiction to distraction is the death of creative production. Enough said.

20. If you’re not failing regularly, you’re definitely not making much progress.
My take: I wrote an article on failing forward, Mr. Sharma, and believe with all my heart that it is critical to those who want to achieve great things by accelerating and engaging their greatest potential.  It is also very important  to resiliency and self esteem, but there are many people who will make progress without failing regularly.

21. Lift your teammates up versus tear your teammates down. Anyone can be a critic. What takes guts is to see the best in people.

22. Remember that a critic is a dreamer gone scared.

23. Leadership’s no longer about position. Now, it’s about passion. And having an impact through the genius-level work that you do.

24. The bigger the dream, the more important the team.

25. If you’re not thinking for yourself, you’re following – not leading.

26. Work hard. But build an exceptional family life. What’s the point of reaching the mountaintop but getting there alone?
My take: I understand this rule and believe that the most important relationship we have is with our family.  That being said there are people who cannot build an exceptional family life for a wide variety of reasons, but they can develop a family of choice (close relationships that can help fill the void)

27. The job of the leader is to develop more leaders.

28. The antidote to deep change is daily learning. Investing in your professional and personal development is the smartest investment you can make. Period.

29. Smile. It makes a difference.   Laughter is also good for the body and soul (and it helps improve cognition as it gives your brain and aerobic difference)

30. Say “please” and “thank you”. It makes a difference.

31. Shift from doing mindless toil to doing valuable work.
My take: Well, some people have jobs that you might consider “mindless toil”.  To me, the litmus test of valuable work is what it means to you, how much you feel that you are contributing to a greater whole.  Cleaning toilets can be valuable work, that many people would consider mindless, but it is critical and valuable.

32. Remember that a job is only just a job if all you see it as is a job.

33. Don’t do your best work for the applause it generates but for the personal pride it delivers.

34. The only standard worth reaching for is BIW (Best In World).
My take: I really disagree because 99% of people will never be the Best in the World and aspiring to this can ultimately kill enthusiasm, limit potential and cause people to be stuck.  I believe that the only standard worth reaching is  being the best you can be in a way that helps you actualize your potential, engage your purpose and feel that you are contributing to a great whole.  

35. In the new world of business, everyone works in Human Resources.

36. In the new world of business, everyone’s part of the Leadership Team.

37. Words can inspire. And words can destroy. Choose yours well.

38. You become your excuses.

39. You’ll get your game-changing ideas away from the office versus in the middle of work. Make time for solitude. Creativity needs the space to present itself.

40. The people who gossip about others when they are not around are the people who will gossip about you when you’re not around.

41. It could take you 30 years to build a great reputation and 30 seconds of bad judgment to lose it.

42. The client is always watching.

43. The way you do one thing defines the way you’ll do everything. Every act matters.

44. To be radically optimistic isn’t soft. It’s hard. Crankiness is easy.

45. People want to be inspired to pursue a vision. It’s your job to give it to them.

46. Every visionary was initially called crazy.

47. The purpose of work is to help people. The other rewards are inevitable by-products of this singular focus.

48. Remember that the things that get scheduled are the things that get done.

49. Keep promises and be impeccable with your word. People buy more than just your products and services. They invest in your credibility.

50. Lead Without a Title.

Thank you Robin Sharma for your important work and contribution.  I know that you value creativity and the exchange of ideas, this post was written with both in mind. Did you enjoy this post?  What do you think about Mr. Sharma’s 50 New Rules of Work?  Would you like to share the Rules of Work you feel are important to your career?  I welcome your feedback with anticipation by email or as a comment on the blog.

Are you a project manager or business analyst?  I hope to meet you at Project Management and Business Analysts World, Toronto where I am giving workshops on communication tips and tricks, facilitation for business analysts and leading through change!

More on Business and Work at the Speed of Change?

What Are The New Forces Driving 21st Century Success?-Video 

The Ten New Rules of Business Success

Enlightened Self Interest-How to Build a Resilient Thriving Culture

The Success Ladder is Gone-Insights on Succeeding Without it

Ten Ways to Lead and Succeed in Times of Complexity and Change

Ten Practical Ways to Build Essential Sucess Skills at the Speed of Change


Do you want to get motivated and inspired?  Transform a people-centric leadership, business development, communication or career challenge into an advantage Build sticky coaching, training and mentoring initiatives?  We are here to help you lead, communicate and succeed forward in disruptive times;  face to face, by telephone, skype or video conferencing.  Call (416)-671-4726  Skype:  beckerirene

Irene Becker

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7 replies
  1. Linda
    Linda says:

    Good article Irene. I agree we need to face what is really possible. My current role has humbled me by teaching me that greatness that can be achieved in any role. That not all people aspire to move up the ladder but want to contribute and do the best they can. They care just as much about the customer and company’s success as the highest executive. They want to be heard, supported and have a happy (aka positive) place to work.

  2. Heather Ashton
    Heather Ashton says:

    This was quite a long article, with many valid points, Irene. I believe if we have integrity within ourselves, we can inspire others at any level. Then we can get comfortable failing forward and grow our intrinsic motivators, strategic intellect and self awareness and face daily challenges at the speed of change.

  3. David Shindler
    David Shindler says:

    I am slightly sceptical about Mr Sharma’s notion of 50 rules. The traps are platitudes and generalisations. I do like your realistic optimism, Irene, as it provides a welcome balance of perspective.

    • Irene Becker
      Irene Becker says:

      Hi David: Thanks very much for your comments. Yes, I am a realistic optimist who believes in practical solutions! Your company has a fascinating name. I look forward to visiting your site. I spoke at a leadership event in the UK October 2014-great experience.

      Best, Irene

  4. Nissar Ahamed
    Nissar Ahamed says:

    This is a valuable post Irene.Thanks for compiling this.

    You have not only shared insightful advice from Robin Sharma – but also given your own take on things. I find that many people go overboard with advice from gurus. It is important to reflect on their messages, internalize and personalize them when applying.

    My favourite lesson “The job of the leader is to create more leaders”.


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