“OK, I want you to listen very carefully to what I have to say.” He said, “We have three rules here at this company now. Rule No. 1 is when you see a snake, kill the snake.” In other words, when you see a problem, and there’s something that needs to be fixed, just go ahead and fix it. Don’t screw around. Don’t delay. Don’t overanalyze it. Just fix the problem. And we said, “OK, Jim. We got that.”
And then he said, “Rule No. 2 is, don’t play with dead snakes.” He said, “When a problem has been solved, or you have taken an approach on something, do not revisit it. Simply move on down the road.” And that one was very helpful, because I think as a company at that point, we had a pattern of touching dead snakes.
And then the third thing he said was, “Often, the biggest opportunities start out looking like snakes … look for the points of disruption.” Look for the things where something is going wrong, because that may indicate a major opportunity. And that was essentially the operating manual for the company for several years.