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The Path to a Spectacular Career

Years ago a spectacularly successful friend explained over dinner that the recipe for corporate success was "Lipstick, Lunch and Lies." Catchy and unforgettable.

The "Lipstick" component was that it matters how you look - dress for success.

The "Lunch" component was that all the lunches she had spent catching up on paperwork and returning phone calls would have been better spent having lunch with colleagues to cultivate valuable business connections.

The term "Lies" is an overstatement, according to my friend, but "catchy" and memorable. This is the component that Henry Knox illustrates beautifully (and that reminded me of my friend's recipe.)

Notice in the photo-essay on Knox, that Washington sends Knox first to New York City - a lengthy detour from the path to Ticonderoga. The detour is necessary because, as Washington writes to Nathaniel Woodhull, "I have not heard from him [Washington's aide, Joseph Reed] on this Subject." Knox does not make the same mistake.

Throughout, the journey to Ticonderoga and back, Knox keeps Washington up-to-date on progress.

In every letter, Knox assures the Boss that he is proceeding "with the utmost dispatch" or similar words. In other words, he constantly affirms that he and Washington are like-minded about the importance of the mission.

On December 17, 1775, Knox sends Washington a long letter on his progress and plans and includes an inventory of the weapons he procured at Ticonderoga and Crown Point. On January 5th, he again sent a lengthy update on progress.

To summarize: Knox constantly assures the Boss: 1. they are on the same page about the importance of the mission. 2. Keeps the Boss up-to-date on progress.

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