One of the privileges of having a high-profile business position, and having been around awhile, is being asked for advice to help less-experienced professionals and entrepreneurs.
Recently, I joined four other business veterans in sharing with Indiana Minority Business Magazine what we’d do differently, if we could go back to earlier days. Here are snippets of the advice I especially liked, with a few reflections of my own:
“I would not take my younger self so seriously,” said Crystal Grave, founder, president and CEO of Snappening.com.
One of my favorite sayings since the early days of Angie’s List is, “We’re not running an emergency room here.” Of course, our work is important and quality matters. But I like Crystal’s reminder that life and work are part of our overall journey, and we shouldn’t lose sight of the importance of simply enjoying it.
“I would have taken more risks early on in my career,” said Scenario Adebesin, senior vice president of community and economic development at Fifth Third Bank.
When I look back on the past decisions that caused me great anxiety, I can see that the fear that held me back was almost always more phantom than fact.
“The earlier you gather the key voices around the table to express their thoughts and opinions, the better,” said Mark Emmert, CEO and president, NCAA.
I agree that it’s crucial to tap into the wisdom and experience of others, in both work and life. I’ve come to believe that more than any other factor, it’s the quality of the people involved that will determine ultimate success or failure in any endeavor.
“I would have focused more on developing team leadership skills and less on being an individual expert,” said Bart Peterson, senior vice president of corporate affairs and communications, Eli Lilly and Co., and former Indianapolis mayor.
In the earliest days of Angie’s List, I was the sole employee, so by necessity I became an expert – or as much of one as I was able to be – in many areas. However, as I started working with other people, it was important, though not always easy, to learn to let go and trust others to do their jobs.
To learn more about what these business leaders and I had to say, check out the full story in Indiana Minority Business Magazine.