These five things did not come to me in a late night flash of brilliance as I sat bathed in the glow of my computer, nor did they come through the advice of a bearded sage, they came through years of hard work and experience, learning as I went. My goal is to impart this wisdom without the delay of discovery. Put this information to work for you now, and you will see endless dividends in the days to come.
Five Important Things I’ve Learned in Business and in Life
1. There are no bad companies or organizations, only bad leaders
It’s an axiom that has served me well for over 40 years. It’s why teams win that aren’t supposed to win. It’s why good companies go bad. It’s why people say things like “there are a lot of good people there”. Guess what? There are always a lot of good people there. What’s missing? Good leadership. By the way, this rule never fails.
2. Volunteer for jobs nobody else wants
If your goal is to rise in the organization, there’s no better tool for learning the business inside and out than to do things nobody else wants to do, and to do them voluntarily. Early on, I found that no one wanted to learn certain things because they would be counted on to do them. Opportunities to be counted on and come through above expectations are where the rich deposits of learning and quick trust by superiors are in your profession. Don’t miss them and enjoy the trip.
3. Never be on time, always be early
Get your time management issues solved early on, don’t ever be satisfied with arriving at the destination or the meeting on the button. Set your standards to always be the first to arrive; it sends such a clear message of excellence. Never allow anyone else to set your standards for you. Example: If you are meeting with someone who is always late, never use that to change your standard; continue to arrive early no matter what.
4. Respect everyone, no matter the position
I used to have this consultant who had a nasty habit of making waiters and waitresses feel inferior by trumping their knowledge of the wine menu at dinner. The person who is nice to you but rude to others is not a nice person. This never fails either, by the way.
I’ve always heard that if you want to know your future husband, better look at how he treats his mother. If they talk about others to you, they talk about you to others. Courtesy to all is a habit that has paid huge dividends for me with receptionists, airline ticket personnel, wait staff and CEOs.
5. Never take credit-always pass praise on
If the team does well, look out the window. If the team does poorly, look in the mirror. If you are the leader, the team is a reflection of you. Give praise liberally and shy away from credit. It’s really that simple.