The Number One Lesson in Business

March 26, 2010 6 COMMENTS

Recently, I spoke to a group of Vanderbilt University students. The university has a class for aspiring entrepreneurs that regularly brings in business owners to share their professional experiences. When I inquired what it was they would like me to speak about, my instructions were to “just tell your story and share the lessons you’ve learned over the years.”

So I gave some thought to what I’ve learned about business in my nearly 25-year professional career and came up with a few things I felt might be worthy of sharing with the class. I’m not sure that I’d ever really reflected on it before, but in going through this exercise to prepare for my talk with the students it became very clear to me that of all the lessons I’ve learned in my career — and this applies to my personal life as well — one stands out above all the others.

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What Makes an “Employee of the Year”?

March 19, 2010 1 COMMENTS

Last week I wrote about the importance of employee recognition and described our company’s version of the “employee of the year” award. I got to thinking about our most recent award recipient and what set her apart from her peers. What was it about this award winner that caused her coworkers to nominate her and made her worthy of such a distinction? She must demonstrate attributes that every employee could learn from. If not, she wouldn’t have been recognized as being the “best of the best” by her colleagues and management. So what makes a great employee?

Kim MesecherOur employee of the year for 2009, Kim Mesecher, was an incredibly deserving candidate. In fact, her contributions during the past year made her a clear winner of the award. But Kim isn’t new to the company or someone who was recently promoted into management. Kim has been with the company for more than 16 years.

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Courage Is Critical at Work

February 05, 2010 2 COMMENTS

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by those you did.” Mark Twain

Ever find yourself at work wondering whether or not to speak up in a meeting? You have an idea that you think might really make a difference, but you’re unsure how it might be received by your colleagues or, more important, your boss. As the seconds tick away, you debate with yourself whether your idea has enough merit to share it with the group.

Courage seems like a strange word to associate with the average employee. Policemen and soldiers need to be courageous. But does the average employee holding down an office job need courage?

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