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The Mary Kay Way: Timeless Principles from America's Greatest Woman Entrepreneur



The Mary Kay Way: Timeless Principles from America's Greatest Woman Entrepreneur

Mary Kay Ash

ISBN: 978-0-470-62322-0 December 2009 272 Pages


The Mary Kay Way: Timeless Principles from America's Greatest Woman Entrepreneur is back in print and updated to reflect developments in today’s business environment for the modern entrepreneur. You will find inspiration and real, proven success principles that represents the forty-five year old success story of Mary Kay Ash, founder Mary Kay, Inc., the cosmetics company that provides women with unlimited opportunities for success. A foreword by Mary Kay’s grandson, also a company executive, introduces her timeless guide to entrepreneurial success.
Foreword (Ryan Rogers).

Editor's Preface.


1. Golden Rule Leadership.

The Golden Rule is one of the world's oldest and best-known philosophies, yet it is frequently overlooked in business circles. Mary Kay demonstrates that this  rule is still Powerful in today’s complicated world.

2. You Build with People.

Leaders are dependent upon the performance of their people, and so is a company's success. Good people are a company's most important asset. People are more important than the plan.

3. The Invisible Sign.

Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from his or her neck saying, "MAKE ME FEEL IMPORTANT!" Never forget this message when working with people.

4. Praise People to Success.

Each of us craves to be recognized. Let people know that you appreciate their performance and they will respond by doing even better. Recognition is the most powerful of all motivating techniques.

5. The Art of Listening.

Good leaders are good listeners. God gave us two ears and only one mouth, so we should listen twice as much as we speak. When you listen, the benefit is twofold: You receive necessary information, and you make the other person feel important.

6. Sandwich Every Bit of Criticism between Two Heavy Layers of Praise.

Sometimes it's necessary to let somebody know that you're unhappy with his or her performance. But be certain to direct your criticism at the act, not the person. It is important to criticize effectively—in a positive way so that you don't destroy morale.

7. Be a Follow-Through Person.

Be the kind of person who can always be counted on to do what you say you'll do. Only a small percentage of people possess follow-through ability, and they are held in high esteem by all. It's particularly important for your team members or your employees to know that you possess this rare quality and for them to think of you as a totally reliable person.

8. Enthusiasm… Moves Mountains!

Nothing great is ever achieved without enthusiasm. Leaders are enthusiastic, and enthusiasm is contagious.  Interestingly, the word enthusiasm has a Greek origin meaning “God within.”

9. The Speed of the Leader Is the Speed of the Gang.

You must set the pace for your people. Real leaders aren't afraid to get their hands dirty, and they set examples for others by demonstrating good work habits, displaying positive attitudes, and possessing a team spirit. True leaders establish success patterns that make everyone think success.

10. People Will Support That Which They Help to Create.

An effective leader invites people to participate in new projects that are still in the “thinking” stage. By confiding in associates and seeking their opinions, they generate support at the initial stage of each new venture. It's a fact that people often resist change when they don't participate in the decision-making process. Some of the best leaders “plant the seed” that permits others to propose the idea and take credit for it!

11. An Open-Door Philosophy.

At Mary Kay corporate headquarters, there are no titles on executives' doors, and there is ready access to all management levels. Everyone within the company—from mailroom clerk to chairman of the board—is a human being and is treated accordingly.

12. Help Other People Get What They Want—and You'll Get What You Want.

As the parable of the talents (Matthew 25: 14–30) tells us, we are meant to use and increase whatever God has given us. And when we do, we shall be given more.

13. Stick to Your Principles.

Everything is subject to change—except one's principles. Never, absolutely never, compromise your principles.

14. A Matter of Pride.

Everyone within an organization should have a sense of pride in his or her work. They should also feel proud to be associated with the company. It's a manager's job to instill this feeling and to promote this attitude among his or her people.

15. You Can't Rest on Your Laurels.

Nothing wilts faster than a laurel rested upon. Every person should have a lifetime self-improvement program. In today's fast-paced world you can't stand still. You either go forward or backward.

16. Be a Risk-Taker.

You must encourage people to take risks; let them know that “nobody wins ‘em all.” If you come down on them too hard for losing, they'll stop sticking their necks out.

17. Work and Enjoy It.

It's okay to have fun while you work; good managers encourage a sense of humor. In fact, the more enjoyment people derive from their work, the better they will produce.

18. Nothing Happens Until Somebody Sells Something!

Every organization has something to “sell,” and every person in the company must realize that nothing happens until somebody sells something. And accordingly, they should be fully supportive of the selling effort.

19. Never Hide behind Policy or Pomposity.

Never say, “That's against company policy” unless you have a good explanation to back up the policy. It infuriates people. It's as if you were saying, “We do it this way because it's the way we've always done it.” By the same token, pomposity can also be a transparent cover-up for incompetence.

20. Be a Problem-Solver.

The best leaders recognize when a real problem exists and know how to take action to solve it.  You must develop the ability to know the difference between a real problem and an imaginary one.

21. Less Stress.

Stress stifles productivity. Leaders strive to create a stress-free working atmosphere for their workers by using both physical and psychological approaches.

22. Develop People from Within.

The best-run companies develop their own managers from within—rarely do they seek outsiders. In fact, it's a sign of weakness when a company goes outside too often for management personnel. The morale of the company is likely to suffer; people may begin to feel threatened and think, “No matter how well I perform, an outsider will probably get the position I want.”

23. Live by the Golden Rule On and Off the Job.

Don't be a hypocrite—live every day of the week as if it were Sunday. There's no place for two sets of moral codes. Conduct yourself in business with the same scruples you would want your children to observe in their lives.

Afterword. Leaders Creating Leaders.

What do independent sales force leaders who've been the most successful following Mary Kay's principles have to say about them today? Nearly 25 years after she originally put them down on paper, Mary Kay's thoughts and ideas are as timeless as ever according to the 500 women worldwide at the top of the independent sales force. They are her living legacy.