Live at the Rock Face. You — not just your assistants or vice presidents or salespeople — have to truly understand your customers and your marketplace.
Don't Know. Having the courage to admit ignorance or asking the simplest of questions — "Why?" or "Who are our customers?" — can lead to winning insights.
Build a Truth-Telling Network. Hardball doesn't mean managing down. It means building a team of people who aren't afraid of the truth, even if the truth hurts.
A version of this article appeared in the February 2005 issue of Fast Company magazine.