Catching up on some reading lately I came across an article from Inc magazine, titled 6 CEOs Share Their Biggest Regrets. I am always open to good advice, especially from people who have “been there” so I checked it out.
There were no startling surprises, there were some sound lessons learned the hard way … and listening to people like this is one way to avoid those hard lessons. Some are a little whimsical, but overall the article is a quick read and worthwhile.
There were two of the CEOs with a similar thread … both regretting that they didn’t involve other people. Trying to do it all alone or being very “I” focused can be especially tough as an entrepreneur. One of the things I tell people when they ask, is that I am happy that I founded Eagle with partners and the potential loss of “equity” has been more than compensated by the ability to spread the load. I also doubt we would have been as successful as a one man show!
One CEO in this article regrets dropping out of school. I left school at 16 to go in the Royal Navy. I later went back to school. My opinion is that our current success, the person that we are today, is a result of ALL our experiences … good and bad. I don’t regret any of my life choices, because I am quite content with who I am today. This CEO could always choose to go back to school tomorrow … if he REALLY wanted to.
In the same vein as the Inc article, is an article in July’s issue of Fortune magazine. This one is titled “The Best Advice I Ever Got” … and features people like Bill Gates, Tiger Woods, Colin Powell and other successful people.
Tiger Woods advice was “Keep it Simple” … which was remarkably similar to Warren Buffett’s advice to Bill Gates. Tiger was talking about learning to golf as a kid, playing with his father. His father didn’t try to work on all the different things that might affect his swing, he just told him to “figure it out”. Woods still thinks about his dad’s advice when readjusting a shot in a tournament today!
There is lots of good advice in this article … one that I liked was imparted to Mohamed El-Erian the CEO of Pimco by his father. His father used to get 4 newspapers every day, all with differing political viewpoints. His advice to his son was that unless you read different points of view your mind becomes closed … and you become a prisoner to one point of view. Essentially the proverbial blinkers come on!
I have had lots of advice over the years, some good and some not so good … I hope I have learned from it all. If someone asked me to impart some wisdom to an ambitious young person entering the workforce I would have to point them at Steven Covey’s 7 Habits …
Habit 1: Be Proactive: Principles of Personal Choice
Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind: Principles of Personal Vision
Habit 3: Put First Things First: Principles of Integrity & Execution
Habit 4: Think Win/Win: Principles of Mutual Benefit
Habit 5: Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood: Principles of Mutual Understanding
Habit 6: Synergize: Principles of Creative Cooperation
Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw: Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal
Developing good habits early, and understanding that you are always learning provides a great foundation for success!