Saturday, August 8, 2009


Some things are truly timeless. I can think of three off the top of my head:



3, And of course, "BUZZ'S RULES TO LIVE BY":

No, that's not a typo and I swear it's not me just being full of myself (although my tighter-than-capri pants might beg to differ).

Over the past thirty years, I've compiled a list of things that I thought could make me a better person, better co-worker, better businessman, and also add to the fun of my job. And guess what?! Although stranger than fiction, these sometimes very obvious "rules" have really helped me, my friends, and associates. So I thought I'd share them here with you in the the hope that you may also find them useful....and valuable:


1. Have Integrity

· This means don’t lie, cheat, or steal

2. Be on Time

· This means (oddly enough) don’t be late –and yes, one minute late is la

· Always strive to be on time or a little early to your job, meetings, appointments,

· If you’re going to be even one minute late, call before-hand and let the person

3. Keep your commi

· If you say you’re going to do something, then
do it.

· If you can’t keep a commitment, then ADVISE the person that you can’t do it and why (and tell them this BEFORE the deadline

4. Always Close
the Loop

· You open a loop when you tell someone you’re going to do something. Until you get back to them saying “It’s done or it’s not done and here’s why”, you’re leaving the
loop open.

· Open loops cause people anxiety, waste time and label you as unreliable. And who wants to work with someone
like that?

5. Emails

· When you copy (cc) someone, be prepared for that person to ignore it
or erase it.

· Never rely on a cc to get an important messa
ge to someone.

· Blind copies are a bad idea-by definition, they’re the opposite of open communication and indicate there’s a problem that n
eeds resolving.

6. Count to 10

· When you get angry with a co-worker or client, stop before you say something stupid that will make things worse (and you’
ll regret later).

· Count to 10 first or, better yet, sleep on it and 90% of the time you’ll have a different and constructive resp
onse the next day.

7. The Only Acceptable Attitu
de is a Positive One

· Never “give attitude” or be negative. Giving attitude has never solved a problem; on the contrary, it usually
makes things worse.

8. Play on your
Team, not Against It

· Treat your co-worker the way you would like to be treated-that means keeping each other posted and working together to deliver the
best results possible.

9. Lose the Backstory

· As interesting as it is that a project is late because your mother had appendicitis and your toilet overflowed, that’s called "backstory" and guess what? No one cares. So don’t waste people’s time with it-just get the job done as quickly
as possible and move on.

10. Leaving Notes for Co-workers

· When you drop off a note on someone’s desk or chair, make sure you put your name on it and some indication of what you want them to do with the information (e.g., FYI, per your request, please
call me about this, etc.)

11. Spend your Employer’s Money as if it Were your Own

· If you’re having trouble understanding this concept, please resign as soon as possible. There are currently openings at Jack-in-the-Box that might be perfect for you.

12. The Rule of Pages

· Whenever possible, try to fit a document onto one page. It makes life so much easier for everyone. But if you just can’t keep it to a single page, then make sure you number your pages.

13. The New York Times

· Never put anything in writing that you wouldn’t feel comfortable seeing on the fro
nt page of the New York Times.

14. Top of the Pyramid

· This means that the last 5% of time/effort on a project can improve the quality of the entire project by 25%-so always spend a few extra minutes after you’re “done” with a project to reread, rethink it, and make any final tweaks that might make it great.

15. Meetings

· See Rule No. 2.

· Never show up at a meeting without a pen and paper.

· If you have handouts for a meeting, get them to the participants BEFORE the meeting starts so they can review them and understand the issues when your meeting begins.

16. Spelling is Important

· Use “Spell Check” and make a special effort to spell people’s names right-it’s amazing how a misspelled name can upset a client.

17. Make People Right, NOT Wrong

· When you identify a problem or see that someone made a mistake, move quickly to resolve/correct this mistake (if possible) and then just explain the mistake to the person who made it and agree on how that error can be avoided. Don’t waste your time and others pointing fingers and blaming or trying to shame the person who erred. All that demonstrates is that you're mean, a bully, and an insecur
e mess. Other than that, you're perfect.

18. Be Generous with Information

· Share information with your co-workers as appropriate and necessary so that your team is always up to date and knowledgeable.

· People who intentionally withhold information to “keep their job secure” or to “make them look smarter” are losers and frauds.

19. Ask for the Bad News

· Although we love to hear compliments from our clients and co-workers, the smartest way to learn how to improve is to ASK FOR THE BAD NEWS (i.e., what did we do wrong or how could we have made it even better?).

· You’ll be amazed at
how much valuable information this will yield.

20. Write So that a Twelve Year Old can Understand

· When you write a note, letter, speech, etc. write it in clear and simple English that can’t be misinterpreted by your reader.

· In other words, write clearly in a way that a 12 year old could understand – don’t use big esoteric (good example) words or sentence structure to make you look smart. If you really are smart, people know that from your daily behavior and your ability to communicate clearly.

21. To Lose a Client is a Great Sin (unless the client is habitually unprofitable in which case it's a blessing)


Unknown said...

Hi Buzz, You are unbelievably funny. Somehow antique & gray hair go together but the comedian part is priceless. I love the website and the gorgeous antiques you share with us. Thanks much for the laughs. I love it.

Margie Goodrich

GrannySmithGreen said...

Wonderful words to live by. These points can be used in everyday life, not just business. Great and full of integrity. You're my kind of man, Buzz!

GrannySmithGreen said...

Wonderful words to live by. These points can be used in everyday life, not just business. Great and full of integrity. You're my kind of man, Buzz!

Joan Samuels, Atlanta said...

I really love your blog and your wacky sense of humor. Plus I'm actually learning about antiques (none of which I can afford but I can dream). There is no other site out there on the high end of teh antique thank you.

BUT WHAT IS THE STORY on these Buzz's Rules to Live By.
They are absolutely drop dead fantastic--and just plain SMART--WHY DON'T YOU WRITE A BOOK??? I gave a copy of the rules to my son and told him to have them memorized by tomorrow.

Signed-A big fan (and someone waiting for your book to come out--I think you could make a lot of money so you could by all the beautiful antiques on your site.

Unknown said...

Thanks Margie, GG and Joan! It's great to get your feedback, especially when it's positive. There've been a coupla clunkers but you can't please everyone I guess.

Anyhow, stay tuned for my DECORATI ACCESS MAGAZINE weekly antiques column. Next week I launch a series of interviews with iconic designers from all over the country. I think they're really going to be fun!

Unknown said...

Thanks Margie, GG and Joan,

You three made my day today! Thank you for your kind comments. It really means a lot to me that you enjoy my posts as well as what's left of my grey hair.


Unknown said...

Forwarded by Buzz from CLF:
Hi Buzz,

Q: Hmmm... is there an opening at C. Mariani? I'm wondering what led to the creation of this list.

A: I just started the list 30 years ago to remind myself how to work better and be happier and then I started to share it with people I worked with and so and so on....

Q: But really Buzz, do integrity and lying have be mutually exclusive? Honesty is usually not the best policy when it comes to dealing with clients. "Why yes, Mrs. Smith, I do believe you HAVE put on weight!"

A: OK, this is a great question.

And oddly enough, I actually have a sub-rule to the "Don't lie" rule and that's "WHITE lies are OK but BLACK lies are not." A white lie is one that doesn't hurt anyone, shows compassion and is just the kind thing to do. So in your case, yuo could tell Mrs. Smith that she doesn't look a pound heavier!

A black lie hurts people or maligns others and is just plain wrong!


Kalee said...

Great blog and wonderful bits of wisdom!

M3 Sweatt said...

So nice to find you on the WWWeb, and a link to your rules. So much so that I wrote about the rules here:
Hope that this finds you well, sir!