I guess if I go back to my very first job and one of my managers gave each of us Dale Carnegie’s book, How to win friends and influence people. It made quite an impression on me back then and is something that you live by. There were a number of things that still resonate in terms of the way that you actually interact with people. Being interested in people, having a sense of humour, being pleasant, smiling. And one of the most important ones that I I took away from that, at the very early stages was the word respect. I think, if we look at what’s happening in society, nowadays, you look at the crime, you look at the gangs, there’s just a lack of respect for police, for authority, and even for parents. And I think that’s socially and even from a business point of view, I think the word respect certainly can come back into play quite solidly.
I have worked with some good managers over time, you learn from the good, you also learn from the bad, things sort of not to do, And there’s a few of those around and working in big organizations, there are some really big egos, and at the end of the day, as I said to me, those people even when I was a buyer, as a buyer, you have many buyers that get a an overinflated sense of ego. I have said if you or I die tomorrow, there would be very few of these people, at our funerals, you need to remember that it’s about a relationship. It’s about doing the best you can for your organization, but also being human about it. And that sense of being down to earth, and not using an ego to an extreme degree. I think that’s really important. In other senses, as I touched on very early on, the two words that left the biggest impression – best imaginable. It is how you set yourself up, whether it’s your business, whether it’s the way you interact with people, or whether it’s the service you give? How do you offer the best imaginable, whatever it is? If you take that sort of approach as well, rather than just doing what you need to do, or just being mediocre, it certainly can set you apart. This sentiment also came from a Japanese professor that had just won the Nobel Prize for chemistry. He was asked what are some of the credos that you live by, and the thing that he said, “rather than being the number one, be the only one”. And that’s the difference between being four or five different brands of confectionery, soft drinks, snack food, everybody, looking for that market share in the same pool, rather than being out of all of that, and developing something new and innovative, that has appeal for consumers. So strive to be the only one to give you that unique advantage, as I don’t think too many people are thinking around that sort of concept nowadays.