What are the biggest lessons you have learned in the corporate world? originally appeared on Quora – the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
I’ve worked for a Forbes Global 2000 company, a Fortune 100 company, a Fortune 500 company, and a total of four public companies. I spent over 8 years of my life at these enterprises and had a fantastic set of unforgettable experiences. More importantly, it came with a lot of lessons too. I’d like to share those with you. I hope it helps you crush it in your career.
Here are the top 7 lessons I learned in the corporate world:
- The way you deliver a message can be as important as the message itself – Some of the most amazing leaders I’ve worked for have the ability to truly inspire people. During one conference, one of the CEOs I worked for gave a speech about how our technology was going to change the lives of people struggling abroad. He showed photos of his travels and told the stories of the people that he had met. Shortly after his speech, the lights to the room turned on, and I looked around. People were moved to tears. Many of them told me they felt a sense of purpose in their work after that. It made me realize that “how” you do things can be equally as important as the “what.” Don’t underestimate the power of human emotion. It can change the game and inspire tens of thousands of people at a company.
- You don’t need a title to be a leader – “If only I was a VP, then I could really make a difference.” This simply isn’t true, yet this thought probably crosses your mind all the time right? You can make a difference. The best ideas at a company comes from all different roles. Have a good idea? Speak up. You have a voice. Make it heard!
- Ignore the naysayers – Have a dream? Get it. You’re in control of your life. There will always be naysayers and doubters. Use that to fuel yourself. For example, 4 out of 5 hiring managers at a Fortune 100 company once ranked me second to last during interview sessions. That fired me up. By the end of the next year, I was #1 nationally in recruitment and had won 4 awards. Challenge yourself to rise above the noise. #ProveThemWrong
- Embrace your champions – Along the way, if you do truly epic work, you will find people that will champion your cause. As Steve Martin once said, “Be so good they can’t ignore you.” Make sure you embrace these folks, and they’ll help to amplify your impact. When I did exactly that at one of my first jobs with a Senior Director, it led to a great friendship and mentorship as well. Within one year, he helped to recruit me to another great company and got me a 58% raise. You can go fast alone or go far together.
- Invest in your relationships – Take the time to genuinely care about the people you work with. You’ll enjoy the work journey a lot more. When I worked at Box, some of the best conversations I would have with coworkers would be when we were late in the office talking about our biggest fears, goals, and aspirations in life. Invest in your relationships. You might end up making lifelong friends.
- Have a North Star – When you’re faced with a tough problem, ask yourself, “What is our north star that will guide us to the right answer?” For example, when I first started putting on marketing events, I would often make the content almost entirely focused on the services we offered. It wasn’t resonating with companies. People would often get bored and tune out. Someone once fell asleep at one of my events. Seriously. But that’s when I realized I didn’t have a north star to guide me in the right direction. Now, one of the north stars I use in product and marketing decisions is to ask, “What’s best for the client?” and I work backward from there. So how did that change my marketing events? Now I focus on putting on events that add a tremendous amount of learning and value for the attendee. This user-centric approach has completely changed the game for me at work. Did it work? Well, I did an event last April, and we had 250 people show up, and it was standing room only. Find your North Star.
- Staying humble and hungry – Be eager to learn from others that you work with. Many of them will have a depth and breadth of experience you could only dream of. One of my friends Eugene taught me how to make iPhone apps. Within 1 year I had made 4 top 100 apps in different categories. It all started with one question, “How did you do that?” Ask the right questions and you can uncover a wealth of information from anyone.
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Published at Wed, 18 Jan 2017 23:44:53 +0000