11 Simple Rules For Getting Along With Others

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One of the challenges for creating a culture of innovation within an organization is the ability to get along with others.  Innovation is about constant change which is uncomfortable and stressful.  The result is that some individuals/groups will not respond and actually become quite negative (corporate anti-bodies) to the innovation effort.  What are you to do?  How do you build a bridge to these individuals/groups?  How do you get along with people who react so negativly to your ideas?

I was recently reading some of Bill and Dave's correspondence in the official HP archive and came across what is refereed to as the “11 Simple Rules”.  “Elegant” and “timeless” are the best descriptions of the rules first presented by Dave Packard at HP's second annual management conference in 1958 in Sonoma, California.

I challenge you to read them and not find at least 3 or 4 areas that you can work on.

1. Think first of the other fellow. This is THE foundation – the first requisite – for getting along with others. And it is the one truly difficult accomplishment you must make. Gaining this, the rest will be “a breeze.”

2. Build up the other person's sense of importance. When we make the other person seem less important, we frustrate one of his deepest urges. Allow him to feel equality or superiority, and we can easily get along with him.

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3. Respect the other man's personality rights. Respect as something sacred the other fellow's right to be different from you. No two personalities are ever molded by precisely the same forces.

4. Give sincere appreciation. If we think someone has done a thing well, we should never hesitate to let him know it. WARNING: This does not mean promiscuous use of obvious flattery. Flattery with most intelligent people gets exactly the reaction it deserves – contempt for the egotistical “phony” who stoops to it.

5. Eliminate the negative. Criticism seldom does what its user intends, for it invariably causes resentment. The tiniest bit of disapproval can sometimes cause a resentment which will rankle – to your disadvantage – for years.

6. Avoid openly trying to reform people. Every man knows he is imperfect, but he doesn't want someone else trying to correct his faults. If you want to improve a person, help him to embrace a higher working goal – a standard, an ideal – and he will do his own “making over” far more effectively than you can do it for him.

7. Try to understand the other person. How would you react to similar circumstances? When you begin to see the “whys” of him you can't help but get along better with him.

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8. Check first impressions. We are especially prone to dislike some people on first sight because of some vague resemblance (of which we are usually unaware) to someone else whom we have had reason to dislike. Follow Abraham Lincoln's famous self-instruction: “I do not like that man; therefore I shall get to know him better.”

9. Take care with the little details. Watch your smile, your tone of voice, how you use your eyes, the way you greet people, the use of nicknames and remembering faces, names and dates. Little things add polish to your skill in dealing with people. Constantly, deliberately think of them until they become a natural part of your personality.

10. Develop genuine interest in people. You cannot successfully apply the foregoing suggestions unless you have a sincere desire to like, respect, and be helpful to others. Conversely, you cannot build genuine interest in people until you have experienced the pleasure of working with them in an atmosphere characterized by mutual liking and respect.

11. Keep it up. That’s all—just keep it up!

I couldn't have said it better.  Just Keep It Up!  Thanks David.

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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

28 thoughts on “11 Simple Rules For Getting Along With Others

  1. I was tempted to dismiss these “rules” as fundamentally dishonest but I can see how they would make communication easier if not necessarily more productive.

    Yet, at the same time, I lament that people no longer seem to have the internal fortitude to deal with unfiltered honesty. Disagreement is healthy to constructive dialogue. Criticism, as long as it is objective and not personal, should contribute as well but people seem to value ego more now than results.

    I think it is unfortunate that tact is more highly regarded than honesty. People often mistake truth for criticism. We’ve forgotten that the best medicine sometimes does not taste good. Honesty is a sign of respect, as it prevents ambiguity in discourse. That people seem to have to be shielded from it bodes ill for our collective ability to face challenges. If we can’t handle criticism, what does that say about our ability to persevere?

  2. I try to do all the “11 Simple Rules”. So far, they have not worked for me. I find some people feel “threatened” by my showing kindness to others and thanking those who help me accomplish what I need to do. I was told by a psychologist that people react negatively to me because they don’t have the ability to relate to people as I do, they just don’t have it in them. I’ve been lied to, lied about, yelled at, and lost jobs because others refuse to accept me. I am talked down to, treated with disrespect, and discriminated against because of my age. It’s easier to get rid of me than to address the people who are actually causing the problem. Today I resigned a volunteer position because, after working my butt off in the grunt jobs no one else would do and I wasn’t allowed to transfer out of, I was being spoken to as though I am mentally challenged instead of a college graduate and a senior citizen with a lifetime of experiences behind me. It used to be that “kill them with kindness” was the answer. I find a lot of people don’t respond to that anymore. It’s a whole different mentality now. Everyone is out for themselves. If I speak up, I’m a “bad” person. It’s very discouraging and disheartening.

    • Lindsey, I hear so many people say the same things as you do. So many are saying that people are getting meaner.

    • Linsey.
      Correct me, if I were wrong. The most kindness you can share, you must share as a leader. Keep on going and doing what is necessary that benefits you and those who do not appreciate what your kindness were. In this world, we cannot please every body and make every body happy or appreciate what we do. I have been working at government social services and studying, formal ed and self-research about human social sciences for the past 30 years. Most people are not searching for a better life, reading any great books, take responsibility for themselves, but blame on others. They do not have the ability to understand the beauty of life and the ugly of life. What you had done, quit and gave up were not leading to anywhere. In the Bible says, ask and will receive, keep on doing what your kindness is in your heart that tells you what to do, you must do, not give up, till the day, others realize, they will pound in their chest for what they did not study and know. Just like they killed Jesus on the Cross and 2000 years later, they made a movie of “The Passion of Christ,” and they cried about it. Many people saw the movie, then came to me, and asked me how would I feel about the movie. I responded, “it is too late for you to be passion about it, my friends.” Even if Jesus is here, you probably be the first person to mascred Him, too? They stopped mourning. You must hang around positive people and have positive mentors with you. The old saying says that one man cannot live in an island by himself. That is truth. I encourage that you do not give up what is great in your heart. I am hard working person since I was 6 1/2 year old and read hundreds and thousands articles and books, having all the experiences, but one thing in mind, as long as you treat people with respect, honest, and sincerely from your heart, not just verbally, but non-verbally expression, you are doing your best. Keep up with the good works.

      • I like this, thanks for this insight. As Lindsey said, I tend to find this too difficult, as I learned from you it worth trying, may not all of these rules at one time, just to start with some and improve as we go. It would need the courage to absorb the different reaction of people and go on. As quoted “Be beautiful and kind, and you’ll see the whole world beautiful and kind!”


  4. I see wisdom in the “11 Simple Rules”. Admittedly there are challenges in relationships with others, be they co-workers, family, and even ourselves. I have been giving thought to how I can be my best so I can bring out the best in others. I am not sure you have to think first about the other person, but the point is that you certainly must think about the other person if you want to be most effective in getting along or getting what you want accomplished.

    Good Job David. Thanks for sharing

  5. Why? so that I can get along, so that I can keep my job? People are on the whole little beasties…and they deserve the contempt and derision that they dish out, either knowingly, or most often, by default to all and sundry.
    People gave us Hitler, PolPot, Tutsi vs. Hutu genocide, Stalin, Ghadaffi, Sweat shops in China as I write…religion exists, because left alone to their own pathetic devices, people are worse than a black mamba on a hot day in a Zimabwean field, minding its own business…and we deserve whats coming to us.

  6. I worked at HP for over 20 years. I saw these principals being applied while Dave and Bill were still there. But after they left it slowly eroded until I do not think they would recognize their own company. BTW being a woman I could not help but feel left out because the points seemed to be male focused.

  7. That’s all bullshit. When I come into contact with someone I give them the benefit. I offer my friendship freely. In return they devalue it and think my friendship comes cheap. I find myself doing things for them they would never do for me. I realize the relationship is toxic and begin to avoid it. I never allow them to see how much it bothers me because that gives more control of the situation which I will no longer allow.

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