20th May 2015
BLOG SERIES: The Most Memorable Thing I Have Learnt
The most memorable thing I have learnt
My colleague, Glen Petersen has asked the Partners at Generator Talent and our clients and friends to write a brief blog in answer to the question “what is the most memorable thing I have learnt”.
Glen kicked off the series a few weeks ago and I thought his answer was both enlightened and enlightening. It focused on his embrace of the core concept of stoic philosophy which says “The happiness of your life depends on the quality of your thoughts”. It was profound, deep and substantial. With this lofty example in my mind I set about thinking of the one most memorable thing I had learnt… that one big impressive thing… that road to Damascus awakening… that epiphany… Nope, nothing, nada! Could it be that I’m just shallow (possibly), or that I haven’t learnt the big lesson yet (also possible and time is running out).
I just couldn’t capture that one specific thing, and then it struck me. In the twilight of my career (2015 is my 40th year working), the most memorable thing I have learnt is the value you can get by learning from the wisdom of others. Like many of us I carry around a mental reference book. A bundle of lessons and ways of thinking that help me think, resolve, act and respond. The great leaders I’ve worked with shared these concepts with me and I, in turn, have shared them with teams I’ve lead, colleagues I’ve worked with, my Executive coaching clients, and now share them with you.
It’s not THE top 10, it’s just Greg’s top 10.
- Be interested, not interesting: ask questions, enquire, learn about others. They will engage with you when you do.
- Beware, the Urgent always takes priority over the Important: Work to prevent fires not fight them.
- Always come with the solution, not just the problem: this is where you learn and add value.
- Being right isn’t always right: sometimes it pays to lose. Read your situation and pick your battles.
- Real power comes from being respected and regarded: it doesn’t come from position or authority. You need people to want to follow you, not want people to need to follow you.
- Be succinct: less is always more. If you can’t figure out how to say it on 1 page, how the hell can you expect anyone else to spend more time understanding it?
- You don’t have to be the smartest to be the best: if you are then lucky you. If you’re not, you need to be:
- The hardest working
- The most committed
- The most enthusiastic
- Relationships are everything! Whoever said it’s not what you know but who you know was right. But, knowing them isn’t enough, having a relationship with them is the key. Being good at building them is the difference between mediocrity and greatness.
- Never ever send an email, text, tweet etc. when angry: (or tired and emotional). No good will come of it. Park it, sleep on it and review it in the morning, on reflection you are likely to think better of it.
- Talk to people: Words drive everything we do, and they are best understood, accepted and acted-on when we speak them, face to face. Solve problems by talking not writing.
I haven’t mastered these lessons, nor do I follow them all the time. But I try, I really try, and when I do think about them they help me do better and be better. Maybe they might help you.