Editor’s Note: Several of our Women of HR writers have come together to share some of the best pieces of career advice they’ve received. Their series of posts will run over the next couple of weeks. Enjoy!
A few years ago, I read a wonderful article in Fortune magazine that was nothing more than a collection of wise advice from notable individuals. This article stayed with me. So I thought I would offer a synopsis of advice ranging from famous leaders (a few paraphrased from this article) to the day to day leaders who cross my path each day. This collection is relevant and focused on how to be the best we can be – at whatever stage of our leadership journey we find ourselves.
Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO, Pepsico:
“Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent….when you assume negative intent, you are angry and it shows.”
Chad Houser and Janice Provost, Owners of Parigi Restaurant in Dallas:
“We treat everyone the same – like family. We want people to want to come here not only because of the food; also because they feel good when they are here.”
Sam Palmisano, Chairman and CEO of IBM:
“Don’t view your career as a linear progression. Take horizontal steps, try out situations that are unstructured to learn different ways of working, and get outside the headquarters and experience different cultures.”
Thomas S. Murphy, Former CEO, Capital Cities/ABC:
“Don’t spend your time on things you can’t control. Instead, spend your time thinking about what you can.”
Nelson Peltz, CEO, Trian Fund Management:
“Get sales up and keep expenses down. It is as simple as that.”
Charlene Begley, President and CEO, GE Enterprise Solutions:
“People don’t care about titles. Just value. Spend a ton of time with your customers – especially when you are new to your role – ask tons of questions about everything…competitors, service, price, products…they will give you the reality. Then you can act.”
Rachel Ashwell, CEO of Shappy Chic:
“If you don’t know, say you don’t know. Own it. Then go find out. Period.”
Tina Fey, Actress:
“Pay attention to money. Listen to your business manager and your accountants. Always be the person who can sign your checks – only you.”
Tony Robbins, Performance Coach:
“The selection of your friends and advisors matter more than anything else in your life. You must stand guard at the door of your mind.”
Joe (last name anonymous by request), successful business executive:
“Be real. Just keep it real.”
Joanna Shields, President, BEBO.com:
“I go back to the things my dad said: ‘Your career is long, and the business world is small. Always act with integrity. Never take the last dollar off the table.’
In closing, I particularly relate to this last piece of advice from Joanna, as seldom have I ever heard wise business advice from anyone, which had not previously been given to me by my mother and father. For these gifts, I will remain eternally grateful.
This article highlights just a few of the thousands of wise words and stories from individuals who affect our lives – directly or indirectly – every day. The secret is to be present in the moment so that we benefit from their thoughts, words, and deeds – as they cross our paths. That is the secret…..and the gift.
About the Author: Kristin Kaufman is founder of Alignment, Inc.™, formed in 2007 to help individuals, corporations, boards of directors and non-profits find alignment within themselves and their organizations. A prolific writer, Kristin’s first book, Is This Seat Taken?, centers on her global experiences seeding her journey toward alignment. The book is scheduled for release in November 2011. Kristin is on Twitter as @KristinKaufman.