Inspired by Niccolo Machiavelli’s ‘The Prince’
1 – BE SKILLED
Experience is everything! Know and understand your logistics! Know and understand your strategy! And most importantly know and understand these twenty-five rules.
2 – ACQUISITIONS
When the acquisition is a new appendage to your existing company… Run it in person! Put your own people in there! Weaken the stronger powers within the firm! Keep the weak powers weak.
3 – COMPOSITE COMPANIES
When administering composite companies, again weaken the stronger powers within each component and keep the weak powers weak. Don’t bring in outside help. This will only weaken your position. In other words, don’t acquire more than can be managed.
4 – PRIVATE COMPANIES
Wholly owned businesses have rigid loyalty structures which make them harder to acquire. If they don’t want to sell there’s nothing much you can do about it. If they do sell or are forced to give up their business the management void they leave behind makes it easier for you to administer.
Partnerships, on the other hand, have many allegiances within the organisation making them easier to acquire but much harder to administer. There’ll always be loyalties directed to one partner or another.
5 – PUBLIC COMPANIES
When seizing control of a public company your number one priority is to devastate current management. Compensate by keeping existing rules and company culture, but do exact a tribute for this. Set up your own old guard. In fact, run it in person for as long as necessary to achieve this.
6 – FORTUNE vs. SKILL
Companies acquired through fortune are difficult to administer. Nobody respects, or fears you. Companies acquired through skill are easy to administer. Everyone respects you. Everyone fears you.
7 – INHERITANCE vs. SKILL
Acquiring a company by way of birthright is easy, but may prove difficult to administer. Again, nobody respects or fears you.
Acquiring a company using your own faculties is difficult and requires great skill. But let me promise you, administration thereafter is easy. Everyone respects you. Everyone fears you.
8 – VIOLATIONS
Criminal or unethical activity can be used well or very badly. Its biggest drawback is that there is no honour in it. To use it well you must commit the violation once and for all, get the job done and let the transgression fade from mass memory. On the other hand, if you consistently transgress you are bound to pay the price.
9 – FAVOUR
Strike a balance between your stakeholders and your executive team. Don’t favour one group or you risk alienating the other.
10 – POWER
REAL POWER is a measurement of how well you can maintain or hold on to your acquisition. Can you stand alone and defend your position or do your require outside assistance?
11 – GOVERNMENT
Government institutions are divine entities that are to be avoided at all costs. They make the rules. They change the rules. Unless you have a budget to rival the national account don’t even go there.
12 – MERCENARIES
Avoid contractors! They are mere mercenaries and can be very dangerous. They have no loyalty, especially when times get tough!
13 – AUXILIARIES
Avoid outsourcing! Dependency on such auxiliaries compromises security and your control over your acquisition.
14 – MONEY vs. LOYALTY
Power based on money is very easy to achieve. But once you have it, it can easily fall apart. Anyone can be bribed. Mistrust, greed sets in, bang, you’ve lost your power.
Power based on loyalty is very difficult to achieve. Nobody ever trusts anybody or even really understands what the term loyalty actually means. But on the other hand, once you do establish your power based on loyalty, you can become… invincible.
15 – REPUTATION
Reputation is everything. A good reputation is to be nurtured and milked when necessary. Avoid being saddled with a bad reputation. Avoid it like one would the plague because a bad reputation is just that. Bad.
16 – GENEROSITY
Don’t ever give away anything that belongs to you. It only weakens you. If you must, take from one party and give it generously to another.
17 – FEAR vs. LOVE
You cannot control whether people love you. You can only control whether they fear you or not. Rely on what you can control.
18 – HONOUR
Honour your word always! But only if it doesn’t put you in a disadvantaged position!
19 – HATRED
Avoid contempt and hatred! Hatred can be a very powerful intellectual resource. Give your enemies or allies the opportunity to despise you and you do so at your own peril
20 – FORTRESSES
Fortresses can be advantageous and disadvantageous.
They are good because you’re in a castle. It’s a safe place to be.
They are bad because you’re in a castle. You’re stuck there. If you’re a defender on the inside make sure you are not hatred in there. If however, you’re attacking from the outside don’t try bashing down the door. They’ll pour hot oil on you and shoot you with arrows.
Instead, set up a siege.
21 – NEUTRALITY
There is never a neutral role or action you can take. Every decision you make will either hinder or help you. Even doing nothing can have a positive or negative effect.
22 – WIN LOYALTY
Treat loyalty as though it were a currency. Power based on lesser currencies is easy to come by and even easier to lose. Power based on a hard currency backed by loyalty is difficult to achieve, but once it is, makes you invincible.
Remember, loyalty and honour work as a two-way street.
This is how the currency works.
23 – SEEK ADVICE
Be shrewd in seeking advice. Advice is only as good as the person who seeks it.
24 – VIGILANCE
Avoid complacency! Always be prepared for the storm.
25 – AUDACITY
Be adventurous! Always try to be impetuous rather than overcautious.
Audacity wins respect.
Respect wins loyalty.
Loyalty equals power.