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Posted: October 03, 2009

More rules: Yoda had it right

Try not -- just do it

Laurence B. Valant

Editor's Note: This is an excerpt from business performance improvement expert Larry Valant's book, "Stop Breaking These Rules! 100 Hard-Hitting Truths for Business Integrity and Performance."

7 - Try not, do.

"Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try."
- Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back

Yoda's directions are clear and compelling: Don't try. Do what has to be done.

Try implies "there is a chance I won't" or "I may fall short". If we set out to "try" we have already let ourselves off the hook since "trying" means I'm not responsible for the outcome. Yet, when we decide to "do," the result is typically success. As Yoda knew, outcomes are determined by our mindset.

Make the essential difference in your life by deleting the words "I will try" and by not accepting those words from anyone else - the difference will be remarkable.

8 - Acting with integrity separates you from the other 95 percent.

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."
- Sir Winston Churchill

Adhering to a code of high moral and behavioral values separates you from the majority. While this may not guarantee you any special standing in general, it does in the eyes of those who know you. Acting with integrity separates you from the vast majority simply because no matter what the penalties or rewards, you cannot and will not be swayed from your core beliefs and values.

Very much like truth telling, this too is absolute: You never have to decide if today I might vary just a little from my values and beliefs. You simply never leave them nor betray them. Sadly, most have integrity only when there is no cost involved, therefore they have no integrity.

As it is simple to be a truth teller by always telling the truth, it is a simple thing to be one with integrity. However, simple does not mean easy. One must make a fundamental decision to act with integrity in all things, no matter what the cost and no matter what the reward.
If you make such a commitment, you are indeed separated from the other 95 percent, simply because most don't or can't.

9 - A measure of greatness is achieved by those who go above and beyond.

A large collating job is required to prepare for a meeting. It is not part of the job description, yet this good soul comes along side to assist in the time-consuming and repetitive task of collating, binding, and completing the preparations for the big meeting. They show up to help move. They grab a paint brush. They clean the coffee pot.

We stare at the walls waiting for the miraculous solution when we are blessed by the friend who takes the time to listen and offers, "I was faced with something like that and here's what I did...." Or, "Let me look that up on the Internet for you." Or, "I checked those figures and completed this spreadsheet for you."

Without being asked or seeking credit, these good souls complete thankless tasks, and deserve ample many fold.

What task in your work world does everyone avoid? Do it. Is someone struggling? Buy their lunch. Tell that single mom, "I'll watch the phones, you go home early." Pay it forward. Go above and beyond. Find your measure of greatness.

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Laurence B. Valant is President and CEO of Valant & Co., a Denver-based business performance improvement consultancy that has worked with almost 300 firms to increase their value by billions of dollars. He is co-author of the hot-selling new book, “Make Plan! With Effective Execution” and now, “Lead and Manage!” Valant can be reached at or at 303-589-3840. If you want more information or would like to order a copy of “Stop Breaking These Rules! 100 Hard-Hitting Truths for Business Integrity and Performance,” please visit

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