Principles and practices – CEO Shoptalk

Principles, Big Red Car? How about a Texas v Oklahoma prediction instead?

Big Red Car here on a cloudy Saturday waiting for the Texas v Oklahoma football game to start. We light it up at 2:30 PM Texas time.

I used to go to the game in Dallas for about a third of a century. Then #1 son took his show on the road and I stopped going. Sigh.

Now, I am going to watch it on the telly. But, I can get snacks all the time. Unlimited beef jerky, the thick kind. Also, Orangina. Lots of orangina.

So, today we talk about the way a CEO guides their company to the Promised Land. The Promised Land is a self-defined concept, but it is whatever you want it to be.

We talked about the difference between firings and layoffs last week.

Layoffs — CEO Shoptalk

Firing People — CEO Shoptalk

I received a very thoughtful note from a reader who discussed the difference between practices and principles.


Practices are tried and true methods of doing things. They work for you because you have experience doing it that way. And, they work for you (repeating the theme).

When you’ve never done something before — such as fire somebody for cause or layoff some folks — you will want to get some insight as to how the deed is done. That is the benefit of having a friendship with a Big Red Car or a CEO coach.

You learn a practice. In the course of adopting a workable practice, you should delve deeper and understand the principles which drive it.

Learn you way through it, why not?


Principles are the underlying reasons why you do things. The same principle may motivate two different people to do something in two different ways. Hence, the same principle may generate two different practices.

An example of such situation is the necessity to be sympathetic, empathetic, and thoughtful in discharging employees by either firing them (for cause) or laying them off (not for cause).

That is the principle involved — be sympathetic, empathetic, and thoughtful.

Principles? Why? You ask why?

Because you are sensitive to people, you want to avoid any spillover drama, you want to avoid litigation risk, and because it is just you. You know it can be traumatic to lose your job.

In all that you do, explore the principles behind the practices and find the ones that work for you. Know why they work. Know how your principles drive your practices.

This will require some thinking. Think about it.

But, hey, what the Hell do I really know anyway? I’m just a big, steaming, hunk of red junk. Be good to yourself. Hook ’em, Horns!



3 thoughts on “Principles and practices – CEO Shoptalk

  1. Some basic principles:

    (1) Since no man can really be an island unto just himself, try to fit in, go along, get along, have the pleasures, safety, security, knowledge, wisdom, strength of the group, become an accepted, effectively contributing, valued, and respected member of the group.

    (2) The Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

    (3) Try to eliminate, at least avoid, human suffering, at least that close by and subject to some of own influence.

    (4) In the business, once start hiring people, try to build something both smart and strong, that can last and well serve all involved, where necessarily most of the strength is from the people, especially the employees and the strong families I hope they have and, then, the strong local community I hope gets built or at least grown.

    (5) Understand that, for any progress and even to prevail at all, it’s from usually important to often just crucial to work both smart and hard; so do so and help and encourage others to do the same.

  2. Good post.

    >This will require some thinking. Think about it.

    A practice that is somewhat lacking in some people nowadays, so it’s good to lay stress on it.

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