Tag Archives | trusted advisor

What Four Brave Men And Women Told Me This Week- Could You Do It?

Three men. One woman. Separately. Talking to me over coffee tables. Each did something inspiring. Surprising. Their actions oozed courage. And epitomize a habit critical to coping in tough times, at work and in life. Are you up for it?

Four conversations. Four very different relationships. In each, something rare happened. You see, each told me of something causing them sadness, pain, anxiety, stress, fear. I was privileged. They exposed vulnerability to me. And I know felt better and stronger for having taken that step, and for talking about it. And here’s the point- it’s about something I am getting better at doing, and encourage anyone who will listen to do so as well. Do you do this?

Never Make This Fatal Mistake – Do It Once And Lose Forever

I was quite literally shattered last week when someone did something that shocked me very deeply. I was dismayed. Stunned. It hurt me personally, but hurt them much, much more. This person made one of the biggest mistakes we can make in life. Avoid it at all costs. Please. Here it is.

I wrote a post about Australian business icon David Gonski, who once said to me: “Staying pissed off is a luxury in business.” I have had to remind myself of this these past few days. Happily, I am now reconciled. Because I realize the person who pissed me off actually hurt himself far more than anyone else.

Quite simply, this person broke the most fundamental rule to building a business career and –many would say- a life to be proud of. Fail this rule, and you will not be remembered well. To succeed, this must be the basis of everything you do. Here it is:

The Best In Business Thrive At This One Trait, and So Do Their Careers!

It can take intrepid game watchers years of effort to see ‘The Big Five’ in the African bush. Yet I saw all five in the first three hours I went looking in July. Buffalo, lion, rhino, elephant, leopard. How could this be? The answer encapsulates what you need to have in your armory to survive in your careers today. Seriously. Read on.

Our nine seater open air truck was driven by Ranger Piet, with Tracker Nelson sitting up front. We left the lodge a couple of hours after having arrived in the bush from Johannesburg. Excitement levels were high. Yet we never expected to see all Big Five within three hours of starting out, given the game reserve was the size of Whales.

But it happened. And it happened because Ranger Piet did one thing that epitomizes the most critical skill needed today to survive and thrive in business. It’s all about delivering outstanding results to your customers. Piet knew this. So he adopted one habit: a habit vital for today’s business world. Quite simply, Piet is a master at:

A Very Wise Man Told Me This- It’s A Truth About Business And Life

David Gonski is a fixture in the Top 10 Most Influential People in Australia annual rankings. He’s on multiple boards, is much sought after as an advisor and is generally considered a very wise man. So when he laughed out loud at something I’d said, and then gave me a one sentence piece of advice, I listened. It’s a gem. This is what he said.

Let me be clear. I don’t know David Gonski. But I did manage to get a meeting with him once, where we sought his support in referring clients to our fledgling business (and to his credit and our deep gratitude, he did do exactly that. That major client is now a dear friend and a Possums reader from his bastide in Provence).

A corporate shareholder in my business at that time had the year prior purchased a competitor of ours, and I was still upset about it, believing that this broke an agreement I had had with the then CEO. I told Gonski about this. He laughed, and then gave the advice that stings still today. He said:

How My SAAB Car Teaches Us A Critical Lesson In Business- And In Life

My car buff mates ridicule me because – in 25 years- I have only ever owned Saab cars. I’ve had seven of them. Now that Saab has gone bust, they laugh even louder. But little do they know that the essence of Saab, and why I buy them, has also taught me the most critical ‘must have’ to survive in business. If you don’t do this, you will fail- guaranteed.

Last night at dinner in a brightly lit Japanese restaurant in Jakarta, my colleague Mike B wept with tears of laughter.

“What are you going to do now that Saab has gone out of business?! No more spare parts for you…hahahaha!” He rubbed it in by telling me the TV car show ‘Top Gear’ had done a great segment on the demise of Saab, and he’d send me the link. Watching it an hour later, I suddenly realized why I always bought Saabs, and why that very same reason had underpinned my ability to keep surviving in business. If you don’t have this in your armory, beware. You WILL come a cropper.

You Have To Have This To Succeed- Why We All Need A Justus In Our Lives

Justus died the day before I was to have lunch with him- about three weeks ago. His death really struck me. Not only because I’ll miss him. But because I realized how lucky I had been to have him in my life, for one year, 15 years ago. Here’s why, and there’s a powerful lesson for us all in this story.

When Justus came into my life, I did not want him in it. He was appointed my Chairman, with a brief to keep me under control. He was a tough, opinionated, seasoned former big time CEO. A Dutchman. He asked questions I did not want to answer. I deeply resented his forced intrusion into my world.

But then I began to look forward to being with him: I began to long for it. Because Justus listened to my answers. And then made suggestions- not directly, but by sharing his experiences in similar circumstances.

When I decided to resign from that role and phase of my career, it was Justus I told first. He understood. He embraced me. And we kept in touch ever since. Justus had been for me, for that one tough year, the most valuable asset we can have. He was my: