Over the years your faithful correspondents Bruce and Barry have been deluged with requests from aspiring career climbers just begging us to share the secrets of our wide ranging success.

They all want to know just how Barry and I managed to secure such a series of high powered, influential and well remunerated roles in companies like Qintex, HIH, AWB and OneTel, and how we became patrons of a variety of cultural institutions such as the Ballet and enjoy membership of some of the best Clubs in Australia.

After much soul searching, Barry and I have made the decision to share our ten rules for fast track career success to help the many hopeful executives out there to improve their profile, accelerate their income and fast-track that success they so richly deserve.

Over the next ten Crikey editions we will share each of our rules with examples of their application and potential outcomes and implications, using Robert Cialdini’s “Five Weapons of Influence” criteria to categorise them for easy application.


Rule 1. Always embellish the truth (or even the half truth)

One of our admirers, Donald Trump, has always said that “Perception is Reality”. Our corollary to that would be “Success is all about Perception”. It should be understood by any aspiring executive that generating the perception of success is a method that is widely used across Australia – why work hard to look good when you can just look good? …

Whenever a colleague asks you a question about any work related matter, always respond with, “…Mate, lately everything I touch has been turning to gold…”, and then proceed to recount and embellish some faintly related anecdote about a major deal you’ve just secured. Make sure the deal concerned is hard to validate or better still, suggest that it is all a bit “hush hush” so you can’t give too many details away.

Remember to be honest to yourself — you don’t actually have to have secured the deal, just believe that you will or might (at least when you find the right one). Moreover, don’t worry about the size of the deal — just imply that it is “big”.

And keep in mind the basic political maxim, “Exaggerate and Simplify” when you’re relating the anecdote. The bigger the deal, the more major your role in securing it and the less detail the better – you can never underestimate enough what your friends, colleagues and supporters will believe.

For example, when John Howard was fretting about his chances in the lead up to the ’96 election he turned to your learned colleagues Bruce and Barry for some advice. “Exaggerate and Simplify, John, Exaggerate and Simplify”, we told him. We didn’t expect him to keep on with this mantra after the election but he has for 11 years now and just look where he is.

After a time, people will start to think that you really are a mover and shaker and will seek you out for your opinions and wise counsel.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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