Book Summary: The Rebel Rules - by Chip Conley
summarized by Regine Azurin and Yvette Pantilla

This article is based on the following book:

The Rebel Rules
Daring to be Your-Self in Business
by Chip Conley, A Fireside Book, Simon & Schuster, New York

What does it take to get in touch with your inner rebel and run a business on your terms? Today's Information Age has spawned a number of rebel business leaders, from Virgin's Richard Branson to The Body Shop's Anita Roddick - and to Joie de Vivre Hospitality's boy wonder - the author himself - people who have the passion, instinct, agility and vision to rewrite the rules of business so it is ethical, respects diversity, and means more to people than simply turning a profit.

So what exactly is a rebel?

  1. Rebels get into activities that make them lose track of time and put them in a state of ecstasy.
  2. Rebels build a career that is a natural reflection of themselves and follow a natural progression from their most innate childhood skills.
  3. Rebels are working at jobs that they put on their list of top ten "favorite future jobs" from their childhood or youth.
  4. Rebels are normally not straight A students, they would have been na´ve idealists, non-conformists, or artists in their teenage years.
  5. Rebels are not afraid to fail, quit their jobs, and follow their lifelong passion and true calling.
  6. Rebels either become leading experts in their chosen fields, millionaires, or end up in prison.
  7. Rebels do not lose their political and social beliefs as they grow older. Their passion for the causes they support will only grow stronger over time.
  8. Rebels do not take "No" for an answer. They will always try to find a way or solution.

Rebel Profile

Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group of Companies:

  • Started his first business, a magazine called Student, at the age of 16.
  • Began Virgin mail-order record business at age 20.
  • Built a net worth of $300 million by age 35 with diverse businesses all under the Virgin brand: travel, entertainment, retail, media, financial services, publishing, bridal service, and soft drinks.
  • Sold his music company for $1billion at age 41.

Rebel Thinking

Position yourself as the underdog and you will enjoy a niche market.

Create your own personal mission statement.

  1. What do you want to be remembered for?
  2. What habits do you need to cultivate and what will you remove from your present life in order to live out your true purpose/calling?
  3. What are the most important personal accomplishments you can imagine in your life?
  4. Take an hour to write your one-page mission statement. Then cut it down to one paragraph. Then simplify it further by saying it all in one sentence. This summarizes your personal mission statement.

How can you tell a Successful rebel?

They have a clear vision. They are highly creative. They are quick to spot trends that can be integrated into their business practices. They feel a higher calling or mission. They are very charismatic and create a strong presence when they walk into a room.

Successful rebels have passion. They are able to unite a diverse team made up of people from different backgrounds, rallying together to build a unique business and company culture.

Their passion comes out naturally because they are great storytellers and communicators. They listen to people carefully.

Successful rebels possess high integrity and trustworthiness. They are the epitome of grace under pressure, they stand up for their beliefs despite popular thinking.

Successful rebels are lifelong learners. They are also good teachers.

They are resourceful enough to find solutions and fix situations. They know how to negotiate deals and have all parties to the deal come away satisfied.

Successful rebels are agile enough to spring into action when necessary, and seem to be "Open 24 hours". They have boundless energy, and like a Quarterback, moves the ball across the field and gets the job done.

Successful rebels are amazing networkers, multi-taskers, and are very driven individuals who do not easily get distracted from their goals.

Successful rebels follow their companies core values, and "walk their talk".

Successful rebels know how to keep their employees happy. They give them intangible benefits like high self-esteem, rewards for achievements, and a positive working environment.

Successful rebels inspire their employees to think like business owners. Open-book management, popularized by Jack Stack, is a way of sharing financial information in a fun, educational format to make employees understand how their work earns for the business. You can be sure that when you explain clearly how tardiness affects the bottom line, affecting everyone's mid-year bonus, employees will start showing up earlier for work.

A few ideas on how to make employees think like entrepreneurs:

  1. Post the critical numbers on a scoreboard in a fun, visual format.
  2. Conduct basic financial training and develop strategies for making an impact.
  3. Review the success of those strategies and "best practices".
  4. Play a game with a critical number and make it the goal-of-the-month or something.
  5. Set up a reward bonus system and give recognition as often as possible.
  6. Communicate the results throughout your organization.
  7. Ask new employees to comment on the company's business practices after their first 30 days.
  8. Have a brainstorming party or game with prizes for the best ideas.
  9. Have managers visit competitors and gather after a week to compare notes.
  10. Have regular meetings with frontline staff to wring out all the information they learn.
  11. Give your managers a free subscription to the industry magazine.
  12. Study a role model company or a competitor, you could all go on a retreat or buy managers a copy of the role model company's literature.
  13. Write a book with funny stories about how your company serves its customers.

Rebels encourage creativity and individuality within their own companies. They allow themselves and their employees enough free time for a life outside of work, for leisure and recreation.


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The Rebel Rules
Daring to be Your-Self in Business
by Chip Conley,
A Fireside Book, Simon & Schuster,
New York, 2001

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