Useful Career Advice from Well-Known Business Leaders

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A successful career offers lots of benefits and real opportunities. There are many possible reasons for which an individual would desire success. If you see your work as meaningful, you’ll work harder and be more productive as a result. Not having a clear picture of your next step and your final goal is one struggle that comes to work for many. The truth is, even those who are at the top of their game encounter difficulties when it comes to work – especially if their decision has an impact on many.


Each successful individual has used the experience of others and has taken advantage of great consultants. Good and bad, wise and foolhardy – everything they’ve gone through in their rise to the top put them in a position above the others. Now it’s our chance to learn from stories of successful leaders whether they are still working and pursuing more or they had their time and passed away. Here’s what’s worth knowing and applying for your own.




“Do something you are passionate about, do something you love. If you are doing something you are passionate about, you are just naturally going to succeed, and a lot of other things will happen that you don’t need to worry about.” – Mary Barra (CEO, General Motors)


Knowing what you want to do – and believing in it – should be at the heart of our work. Otherwise, we won’t enjoy doing it and the result won’t be the best. Loving what we do every day, our short term and long term goals are necessary. For many people, this discovery won’t come instantaneously.


“… find a passion, and if you find a passion and you really do well at it, chances are you’re going to do just fine in your career.” – Kim Jeffery (former president and CEO, Nestle Waters)


We’ll likely go through many things before we figure out what it is that is so important to us to the point that we’ll actually look forward to the beginning of the week while other people dread it. At the same time, being aware of our passion will help us overcome the challenges as they come because we will be more determined to get past them in the belief that such an effort will be worth it in the long term. If we don’t have a true faith in what we do, we’ll eventually give up.


Learning from Opportunities


See the world without bias, like a child. Be curious. Keep learning.” – Jen Hsung-Huan (CEO, Nvidia)


Passion and learning go hand in hand: if we like or love something so much, we want to have a deep knowledge about it. The same is true for our career, no matter what it is that we do. A good advice for business is to never stop learning about our work or our industry. Learning will keep things fresh, allow us to better determine the direction in which we want to steer the business and become a leader in our field. Education plays a big part in each success story.Enrolling in a course, attending webinars, asking for help from a mentor, etc. is like an investment that pays huge dividends later on.


Never stop learning. Whether you’re an entry level employee fresh out of college or a CEO, you don’t know it all. Admitting this is not a sign of weakness. The strongest leaders are those who are lifelong students.” – IndraNooyi (CEO, PepsiCo)



Showing Respect


“… you need to treat every employee no different than how you want to be treated. Every person in an organization or in a store, their job is critical.” – John Gainor (CEO and President, International Dairy Queen, Inc.)


How we treat each other has a big impact on our path. A study on project managers’ treatment of their team members shows that improvements in performance and behavior of team members can be expectedwhen they exercise fairness in an interpersonal manner. It’s very simple, being a good leader does a lot to instill dedication and commitment to those whom we manage.


“Good leaders put their teams first and create an environment where employees feel empowered to share ideas and feedback. Invest in your people and they will be invested in your business.” – Michael F. Mahoney (CEO and President, Boston Scientific)


Those days are gone when bosses are standoffish and feel the need to project an aura of strictness; instead, showing warmth and genuine concern are proven to yield better results. Respect begets respect, and if you are still on your way to becoming a leader yourself it’s good to remember where we came from and how we started out!


Innovation and Creativity


“If you listen to people… they make you grow, they keep you innovative, they keep you active.” – HikmetErset (President and CEO, Western Union)


“Having run a company through a major transition, it’s a lot easier to change when you can than when you have to. The cost is less. You have more time.” – Paul Otellini (former CEO, Intel)


When we’ve got a good thing going, career-wise, the tendency to relax and stay in that comfortable situation will make itself apparent. Being this complacent can result in negative.If we don’t innovate, we’ll find ourselves eating the dust of those who choose to go one step further. We’ll be bypassed for a promotion by someone else, or find that our closest competitor just widened the gap between the two of us.The worst is only realizing it when it’s too late. We should always listen to others to be aware of what new needs we can answer by upgrading ourselves.


“I think if you do something and it turns out pretty good, then you should go do something else wonderful, not dwell on it for too long. Just figure out what’s next.”Steve Jobs (co-founder and former CEO, Apple. Died on October 5, 2011)


Being Proactive


“A setback is never a bad experience, just a learning curve.” – Richard Branson (founder and chairman, the Virgin Group)


One advice we’ve talked about was that education is necessary– and one of the best teachers out there is failure. We definitely want to avoid failure at all costs, but we can learn a lot from each failure when it happens. Failure – especially the big ones, impactful kind – can easily devastate those who aren’t strong. But if we look at failure as a form of learning, we will always be able to rise above it.


“It is often our failures, flops, and even face plants that are the most vital part of shaping us. These are the things that “make us.” – Rick Goings (CEO and chairman, Tupperware Brands)


The important thing is to be reflective about the experience and then apply the necessary actions to get back on track.Take a step back and see where you went wrong, how you can rectify your mistakes, which aspects are still worth pursuing and which ones you ought toremove completely. While we don’t necessarily want to embrace failure, we can at least come away from it wiser.


A Path to Success


Passion, education, respect, innovation, and grit;if there ever was a formulafor success in career, it’s highly likely that these make up the five most important steps of it. Knowing what you love will motivate you to know everything you can about it. In turn, being knowledgeable about what you do allows you to innovate in a way that others can’t, because you have an idea of how you can better serve others’ needs or fill in a demand. If you show authenticity, you earn respect and support from others.


Building a successful career takes time, effort, and patience. Sacrificing some free time and willing to get out of our comfort zone is would be the first step toward success.


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