1. Never under estimate anyone (they can probably teach you a few things).
Throughout my career I’ve learned from everyone. Of course you’ll learn from the CEO, the COO, and the CMO. I mean keeping your eyes and ears open, and learning from everyone around you. I learned a great lesson from our office manager Michele Burke during my years at Epic Advertising, back when it was still AzoogleAds. Michele has the uncanny ability to bring levity to any situation. When we first started at AzoogleAds, Chris Mentzer, Brett Lofgren and Myself sat in close proximity. The beginning days at AzoogleAds were uncertain, and stress filled. When things would heat up, Michele would invariably walk over from her station at the front desk to pick something up from the printer and make a comment in some new accent she’d just created, getting everyone to crack up.
Life’s short – laugh a little. Thanks for that lesson Michele.
Recently I read a book that offered a great note on interrupting people. In the book the author stated that when you interrupt someone, you’re indicating you think what you have to say is more important than what the person speaking is saying. Listening is how we learn. Listening and truly hearing is how we can be a better friend, colleague, husband. The more I listen to the team at Miva, I guarantee the more successful the entire team will be. I’m certain that the harder I listen, the more nuances about the business will arise. I’m dying to dig in and hear what everyone has to say.
3. Speak the truth
I’m obsessed with business audio books. Because I spend a great deal of my time on metro north commuting to and from the city, it’s my preferred method of entertainment/self improvement. My eyes are usually too tired to read (after staring at a computer screen all day). I also find that I can plow through a few books a week this way. Recently I was listening to a book that discusses six sigma. The essence of six sigma is – be truthful in business. Analyzing your company from a point of truth is invaluable. Understanding the reality of any situation is the only way you improve. Embracing your situation, addressing any issues head on, and moving forward is the only way you grow. We must be truthful to ourselves, our loved ones and our colleagues.
4. Write lucid succinct memos
I struggle with this one, but it helps a great deal. Resist the temptation to ramble. That’s what blogs, and friends are for. When communicating with your colleagues/bosses write as succinctly as possible. Don’t complain, don’t waif. Get to the point, offer solutions. Your colleagues will love you for it. Their time is just as valuable as yours. Don’t assume that they need to hear about how you took a full week to aggregate the information your sending. Just tell them what the information is, how it can be leveraged to help make their life easier, and hit the send button.
5. Compete fair and square
There’s no room for game playing in business. Some people approach business with a war room mentality. I understand the parallels, but that this doesn’t make it acceptable to cut corners. Give people the opportunity to be fair, and truthful and they will be. Articulate that you are open to hearing about truth and that you reward good work. Fairness will become a part of your corporate culture.