Advice comes from every direction - even when you don’t want it, but a few times in life, a special someone shares a few words of wisdom that will shape your life forever. This is, perhaps, most true for the world’s biggest business leaders, a group that has learned to recognize good advice better than almost anyone else.
This morning, Forbes published an insightful piece that summarizes the best advice that’s shaped the lives of some of the world’s most successful individuals. Our favorite is Beth Comstock’s story.
During a call with former General Electric CEO Jack Welch, the call abruptly ended. She called Welch’s assistant to let her know that the call had accidentally disconnected - only to find out that the disconnection was intentional. “He wants you to know that’s what it’s like to be in a meeting with you,” the assistant said. “You’re too abrupt.”
Harsh, but practical. More importantly, it was absurdly useful, and it really helped her climb the corporate ladder at GE.
Martha Stewart and Deepak Chopra share similar tales. Long story short, they cherished the concept that each person is a source of infinite possibilities - a simple nugget of wisdom delivered by their loving parents. In other words, they can do whatever they want in life.
Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist.org, describes his experience at an IBM office, where he learned to balance his know-it-all attitude with his above-average sense of humor. His tendency to correct people when they’re wrong - whether or not it mattered - really became a problem with his co-workers, but he was often funny too. By replacing his know-it-all attitude with jokes and stories, he brought back a sense of unity that departed his team a long time ago.
There’s several more stories from a variety of leaders with a variety of backgrounds. The whole piece is worth a read if you have the time.