Best Selling Author Jason Jennings (pictured) is keynoting the Cisco Partner Summit in San Francisco at this moment. He's sharing five rules for long-term business success. Of course, The VAR Guy is taking notes like a madman. Here are the five rules...

Please: All of the information below comes from Jennings -- rather than The VAR Guy's mind. So here we go. The five rules for long-term business success are...

1. Find A Cause: A cause is not a mission statement and it's not the vision statement. A cause is big and bold: Such as Microsoft's decision to put a PC on every desktop and in every home. Or at GM, the CEO says the company's only job is "to design, manufacture, and sell the best cars in the world."

"When the only reason you exist is to hit a number, then you're basically saying you'll do anything to get there," said Jennings, suggesting that you need goals that aren't defined purely by financials.

Roughly 72% of Americas say they have no emotional attachment to work, Jennings noted. But if you find "a cause," it provides purpose and creates momentum and culture for the organization. "Culture is the ultimate competitive advantage," said Jennings.

2. Let Go: Companies that grow, embrace change, remain relevant and find, keep and grow the right people "let go."
  • First, let go of yesterday's breadwinners. An example: GM could not bring itself to let Oldsmobile go, and wasted billions on expanded marketing for a car nobody wanted.
  • Second, let go of ego. An example: GE Capital kept pumping money into Montgomery Ward for 10 years. It was a $2.2 billion wasted investment. Jack Welch conceded his ego got in the way and he couldn't let go.
  • Third, let go of same old-same old.
When you let go you're better prepared to deal with change, said Jennings.

3. Everyone in the Organization Knows the Strategy: At Smuckers, everyone has to spend allotted time learning the company's strategy. Don't keep it secret.

Secret strategies fail because:
  • People don't become emotionally connected
  • Corners get cut and illegal things can happen
  • There's zero accountability
4. Everyone Thinks and Acts Like an Owner: How do you get 400,000 employees to think and act like an owner? The answer:  People have the universal trait -- they want to keep score; they want to be better at what they do. Would anyone watch The Biggest Loser if they didn't weigh the people at the end of the show? In business, teach everyone to understand how what they do creates economic value.

5. The Best Leaders on the Planet See Themselves as Stewards: The most remarkable leaders in the world aren't leaders at all, they're remarkable stewards.

The traits of stewards include:
  • When you have a need to serve over the short-term self-interest
  • Abandoning power over others
  • Preserving natural and human resources -- the talent
  • Nurturing and authentic
The best stewards spend 50 percent of their time with customers. Stewards also get rid of superficial distinctions. Stewards are called to make everything better. Stewards are coaches and mentors. And Stewards are called to serve, Jennings said.

The VAR Guy would offer his own personal analysis, but time is short. Cisco CEO John Chambers is about to take the stage. Back soon with a recap of Chambers' keynote.

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