The Bald Truth; Secrets of Success from the Locker Room to the boardroom was written by David Falk.  He was the agent for Michael Jordan.  He was also the agent for Alonzo Mourning. Which was the first 100 million dollar deal ever done in the NBA.  He was Patrick Ewing’s, John Thompson, and Mike Krzyzewski to name a few other of the other big names he represented.  The foreward in the book was written by Michael Jordan.

In my pursuit to excellence in 2015, I am attempting to read books from people, or about people who pursued, showed, and demonstrated excellence.  This book was a great read because it really gives the behind the scenes look into agents and how they create and get these major deals for sports athletes.  Mr. Falk puts it in simple terms and at the end of each chapter he has something called “Falk’s Fundamentals” that summarize the chapter.  I have included in this book summary the “Falk’s Fundamentals”.  Mr. Falk’s insights on business and people make this book relevant and a great read.

Don’t be a prisoner of your own reputation: Succesful people remain consistent in their value system but flexible in reaction to changing market conditions.

Don’t try to be a spiritual advisor: A leopard doesn’t change its spots.  People don’t change leopards.

Don’t try to run a democracy: Treat everyone fairly but don’t treat everyone equally.

Its better to have a good enemy than a neutral friend:  In crutch time you must know how the people around you will react.  The most dangerous enemy is an ally who deserts you.

A combination of creativity and preparation is essential: Practice make perfect as long as you don’t do it the same way everytime. preparing for major negotiation or representation develops confidence, but preparation without inspiration limits your ability to adapt your performance to unexpected challenges.

Sacrifice short-term benefits for long-term success: The Spurs have been the most successful franchise in the NBA the last few years.  The Spurs have learned how to lose games during the regular season in order to be well rested and primed mentally in the postseason. Don’t with the battle, win the war.

Long term success demands discipline and accountability:  Winning a marathon requires complete discipline mentally and physically.  If you alter the strategy in response to short-term bumps, you probably wont finish the race.

Be true to yourself: A jack of all trades and master of none is known as a dilettante. Play to your strengths and don’t be afraid to seek help when you need it.  Be authentic.

Know when the race is over: Great coaches learn to not run up the score. Whatever temporary satisfaction you might derive from a rout you will likely pay for the next time you face the opponent. Win the game and then walk alway gracefully.

Say what you mean, and mean what you say: If the truth is hard to find, players will run from the coach instead of running for the coach.

Business is not a popularity contest:  In the final analysis, it’s not what they want to hear. It’s what they need to hear.

The truth , the whole truth and nothing but the truth: The truth is the most powerful medium of persuasion. “Actually sir, it’s not like a Xerox. It is a Xerox.”

Don’t just see what is happening; anticipate what will happen: Individual who can anticipate what will happen next can translate that opportunity into success.

Limitations are obstacles, not barriers: Even the most careful planning cannot preempt last-minute changes that challenge execution. Successful managers see these limitations, whether they be increased competition, regulatory changes, increased time constraints, or any number of business issues, as challenges not barriers. Their ability to shift on the fly enables them to navigate these limitations that act as total obstructions to less nimble operators.

Intuition and ingenuity define the road ahead: Since what lies ahead of us can’t be determined with certainty, successful managers will find their way paved only be creativity, feel, and ingenuity.

Understand the long-term impact of your actions: The most basic law of physics dictates that every action has an equal and opposite reaction.  But like energy stored up in a volcano, the reactions sometimes takes place years in the future and with unexpected force.  Don’t expect that the only impact of your decisions will be then knee jerk variety.  It is more likely to be the ripple effect across the entire pool of your business.

Brand your product to differentiate it from the competition: Imitation is the highest form of flattery. We live in an age of brand names that competitors try to mimic, and often the lines between Bentley and Chrysler are blurred. Learn how to separate your company from the competition through creative branding so that the boundary between your products or services and the competition will be so distinct as to require a separate language and customs.

Stay true to who you are: Long term productivity requires that we operate within our strengths even if our critics find fault along the way. Changing your operating style to satisfy short-term criticisms threatens the long-term stability of your organization.

Don’t win the battle only to lose the war: In the history of NFL football league, only one team has every enjoyed a perfect season, the 1972 Miami Dolphins.  As recently as 2007, the New England Patriots didn’t lose a single game in the regular season, but the pressure mounted to eclipse the Dolphin’s record and the Patriots lost in the Super Bowl.  Success is generally defined by reaching specific goals but often we must sacrifice certain short-term success in order to arrive at our desired destination. Did chasing a perfect season interfere with the ultimate goal of winning a championship?

You must be willing to walk away: Negotiation 101: In order to attain the ultimate deal, you must be willing to walk away from intermediate opportunities.  The necessities an honest appraisal of the strength of your position. A mon on life support can very well afford to pull the plug.

Goodwill is the currency of relationships: In an age of instant information and access, competing parties will frequently find themselves in very comparable negotiating positions. What enables them to cross the divide is goodwill.

Goodwill is the lubricant that greases deals: Highly intelligent and successful people are unlikely to persuade colleagues and competitors of a similar bent through facts, figures, or even negotiating ability to do something they don’t feel comfortable doing.  What enables them to fuse two very powerful and competing forces is goodwill.

Goodwill can be your most valuable asset: Unlike cash, inventory, or other hard assets that can be measured with tradition metrics, goodwill frequently can be the ultimate determinant of success and failure in business.  Developing and maintaining a reservoir of goodwill among employees, collage agues, and even competitors is often more valuable than more tangible assets.

Goodwill must be earned before it can be employed:  Goodwill is most often earned by doing the right thing when there is no pressure to do it.  By going the extra mile to be supportive, respectful, generous, and loyal, and en executive earns the most valuable commodity.

Goodwill cuts both ways: By falling to recognize the small things that you can do to creat goodwill, executives often plant a negative seed that grows into reverse goodwill.  When the leader most needs to call upon his troops for support, a vote of confidence, or double duty mission, the obvious prior failure to do the right thing, to make the small gesture, rebounds with unexpected negative force.

Don’t be afraid to let the customer know when he’s wrong: In an age of increasing specialization, customers look to their dealers, brokers,a nd advisors for specialized advice. Often the customer has strong opinions about his purchasing options and just as frequently these opinions are based on a faulty set of assumptions. Never let your desire to please the customer interfere with your responsibility to give him candid advice about his decisions. Otherwise his next purchase will be his last purchase.

Short term pain often translates into a long-term gain: Most individuals steer a wide path to avoid confrontation.  But a trusted advisor is like a personal trainer, sometimes where there’s no pain there’s no gain. In order to avoid a result that would ultimately constitute an unacceptable level of risk or damage to the client, the advisor must be willing to deliver the hard facts up front.

Truth or consequences: While experience is sometimes the best teacher, there are situations when a bad experience can be fatal.  An individual facing such a critical decision must be informed in the strongest terms that a wrong turn will lead right over the cliff.

Remember the Golden Rule:  He who has the Gold Rules: Your ability to reach a successful conclusion is a direct result of the amount of leverage you have and your ability to communicate that leverage.

Know when to hold: A great point guard never gives up his dribble. Control of the ball gives him control of the game.  When you have the leverage you should never settle for second best.

Know when to fold: Modern fighter jet costs upwards to 100 million dollars.  Their pilots are trained to control the aircraft under all types of adverse conditions. However, when certain indicator lights come on they are taught to press the ejection seat.  The same is true in business.

Know when to walk away:  In Vegas the house always wins. A savvy gambler knows when to get up and leave so they keep their money.  When you’ve attained most of what you need to make a good deal, learn to walk away and be a good winner.

If you have the power you don’t need to use a hammer: In fashion it is said “If you’ve got it flaunt it”  But in business if you’ve really got it, then everyone knows you’ve got it and there is no need to flaunt it.

You control your own destiny in a negotiation: Almost every variable in a negotiation: where you meet, how you dress, how many people are in the meeting, has an impact on the final result.  Take control of the variables and you will take control of the deal.

Avoid unnecessary confrontations: Really successful negotiators show who smart they are, not how tough they are.

Both sides have to win:  In business even if you win the fight, it is important that your opponent wins some points in order for him to accept the deal.

You need a game plan for success:  A successful negotiation depends on a well thought out game plan that conceptualizes the path to a deal.

How do you spell success? The last player to hit .400 in Major League Baseball was Ted Williams more than sixty years ago. In other words, Williams failed to hit in 60 percent of his plate appearances.  Nevertheless, hitting .400 is considered iconic achievement in baseball.  Learn to define what success means in your business.

Conventional wisdom is just an element of the status quo:  Successful people continually challenge the status quo:  Some people see things as they are and ask why?  Others dream things that never were and ask Why not?  Dare to be great.

You must know the difference between talent and value:  Talent is a constant, value is a variable. Being cognizant of market forces and trends enables is to differentiate our product.  The textbook case is Starbucks selling a 20 cent cup of coffee for $3.

Artificial constraints don’t work:  In a free market economy, external regulation distorts the natural equilibrium of the market. The distortion creates opportunity. Look for pressure points in the system.

Preparation, instinct, and confidence are the keys to success:  The most instinctive hitter in baseball still studies the pitcher.  His intense preparation enhances his confidence on his own abilities and bolsters his performance.

Print yourself a coy of the Falk’s Fundamentals and put them on your office or on your refrigerator, or some other place where you can look at them everyday.  What if you implemented some of these in your life, what would be the results.  Please share this summary with a friend.

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To your success and your future.


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