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Letter to Leaders

Perenchio’s Rules of the Road

Jerry Perenchio is one of the savviest managers I’ve ever seen. He is a multi-billionaire through a long career ranging from a sports-event promoter (remember the Billy Jean King-Bobby Riggs tennis match in the 1970’s) to his brilliant acquisition and sale of Univision.

I particularly respect his low-key public persona. You’ll never see him give an interview. He’s brutally tough of his managers, but if they perform – their careers are limitless.

Here are his rules of the road, which should be required reading for anyone in management.

  1. Stay clear of the press. No interviews, no panels, no speeches, no comments. Stay out of the spotlight — it fades your suit.

  2. No nepotism, no hiring of friends.

  3. Never rehire anyone.

  4. Hire people smarter and better than you. Delegate responsibilities to them. Doing so will make your job easier.

  5. You’ve got to know your territory. Cold!

  6. Do your homework. Be prepared.

  7. Teamwork.

  8. Take options, never give them.

  9. Rely on your instincts and common sense. If you go against them you generally regret it.

  10. No surprises. We don’t give them. We don’t want to get them.

  11. Never lose sight of what business you’re in. Stick to your “last.”

  12. When you suit up each day it’s to play in Yankee Stadium or Dodger Stadium. Think big.

  13. If you have a problem, don’t delay. Face up to it immediately and solve it.

  14. Loose lips sink ships!

  15. Supreme self-confidence, never arrogance.

  16. A true leader is accessible — no job too big, no job too small.

  17. Communication is our business. You can reach any of your associates anytime, anywhere, anyplace.

  18. If you make a mistake, admit it. Just don’t make too many.

  19. Don’t be a “customer’s person” (man or woman).

  20. Always, always take the high road. Be tough but fair and never lose your sense of humor.


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