As we approach the end of the year and look to 2016, think about the advice these leaders say helped guide and shape them.
BY JOHN BRANDON
Contributing editor, Inc.com
What's the best advice you ever received? Sometimes, it takes just a small tidbit to motivate you or help you see a clear path to success. These leaders have shared the best advice that helped them through a tough period or to jumpstart their careers.
1. Don't lose sight.
"'People who used to run car companies were really into cars. People who ran hotel chains loved hospitality. Now, everything is run by accountants, and you feel it as a consumer.' This slightly grumpy rant from one of my mentors, the famed mad man Martin Puris, inspires me to stay focused on the purity and passion of a business pursuit." --Andrew Deitchman, co-founder of The New Stand
2. You get only what you settle for.
"The best business advice I ever got came from my dear old Dad. It's quite simple and immeasurably powerful. It goes like this: 'You, and only you, should set the value of your talents, ideas, services, and/or product. Don't ever expect anyone to pay or give you more than they have to.' As an entrepreneur, you have to get used to the fact that, quite often, you'll be faced with an offer that seems less than the value of your talent, ideas, services, or product. That's business. You are the sole arbiter of what you, your ideas, services, or product is worth. Therefore, what you get is what you are willing to settle for. You have to fight for what you feel you're worth. Not that settling is necessarily a bad thing, but where you end up is what you settle for. Sage advice." --Neil Powell, fine artist and co-founder of Mugnacious
3. Be clear and transparent.
"I learned many things while working for Steve Jobs in the '90s, including what not to do. While Steve was arguably the greatest marketer of our generation and gave some of the most inspirational speeches of our time, he wasn't the best communicator when it came to individuals. Steve didn't set defined expectations for me or other employees: he simply knew it when he saw it. Watching him operate made me recognize the importance of clarity and transparency with my team, and how imperative it is to set expectations and effectively communicate with them. The more transparent I am about where I want to take the company, the clearer my team is about how to get there. Making sure everyone is on board before you make business decisions will help ensure you won't alienate people (sometimes your best ones) in the process." --James Green, serial entrepreneur and CEO of technology company Magnetic
4. Forget "having it all."
"These days, there's an ongoing debate about whether women can 'have it all,' and I've often been asked that question. I'm a person who likes to give 100 percent to everything I do. I want to be the best at my job and as a mother. But I realize I can only give 100 percent in the moment. If I'm at work, am I giving 100 percent to my kids? No. If I'm at home, am I giving 100 percent to my work? No. It's a balancing act, but worthwhile as long as we don't kid ourselves that we're superwomen." --from the book Getting Real by Gretchen Carlson, host of The Real Story with Gretchen Carlson on Fox News, used by permission
5. Don't get caught in analysis paralysis.
"Work is never going to be as slow as it is today. The pace of business in general -- and start-ups specifically -- will only quicken in 2016. So, we have to make a lot of important decisions quickly. I got some great advice early in life, which was: 'Sometimes you won't know the right decision, so you have to make the decision right.' In other words, when you lack perfect information and time, you have to be thoughtful about your process, be diligent in your analysis, then make the decision quickly. After that, it's all about execution and putting all your energy into making it work." --Don Smithmier, founder and CEO of The Big Know
6. Listening is very different from hearing.
"The best piece of advice ever imparted to me comes from my mom, who is fond of saying 'What you say matters less than what people hear and understand.' As a teacher, she was a brilliant listener, and she used what she heard to build a bridge between what she needed to teach and how the student needed to learn. From that, she taught me to focus my efforts on helping people understand rather than on what I wanted to tell them. She taught me how to hear, and it is the single most important skill in my professional success." --Courtney Buechert, founder and CEO of creative marketing agency Eleven, Inc.
7. Put your weirdness into your work.
"These words were spoken to me by famed voice-over and recording artist Ken Nordine. This was many years ago, and I've carried these words with me ever since. He recognized that we all get a little weird from time to time, but it's how we choose to channel our weirdness that's key. To offset my very ordinary life, I infuse every project I touch with experimental and fluid creations. It's what's led to my best work and most successful endeavors. With weirdness and imaginative thinking embedded in all facets of your work, you are free to spend the rest of your time enjoying the little things in life, a balance that is delicate yet so profound." --David Slayden, founder and executive director of designer-founder accelerator BDW
8. Action creates opportunity.
"There's a variety of advice that has had lasting impact, but this is the one that I continue to return to on a weekly basis. It's a quote from my former CEO. This phrase remains valuable in the big and small, in the tactical and the strategic. We are in an industry that requires the creation and fostering of constant change. We have to invent new ideas, create new services and capabilities, all while increasing the quality of our craft. So while we can all spend an endless amount of time contemplating and planning, there is one force that cannot be denied. Take action, as it will surely create and open up new opportunities." --Ed Brojerdi, CEO of KBS New York and co-founder of Spies & Assassins
9. No cohesion, no team.
"In creative industries especially, teams are central to the work. They are integral to collaborative cultures and, far more often than not, essential to innovation. What too many people fail to recognize, however, is that two or more people working together doesn't automatically constitute a 'team.' These people may be partners and co-workers, but that's not enough to effect the magic that genuine teamwork can produce. When I was running the brand-strategy practice for consultancy FutureBrand, we assembled teams to take on each assignment and were careful to include a diversity of skills and backgrounds in each. I couldn't help but notice, though, that certain teams were far more effective than others. In a management meeting, we discussed the issue and then we each went off to gather more data. When we reconvened, the lesson became clear: No cohesion, no team. It turned out that the highest performing teams simply liked each other more. They would break for dinners. Go bowling. Share their weekend plans and recaps. They genuinely cared about one another. And that led to a level of performance that far outstripped anything that less cohesive teams could hope to achieve. I keep that lesson in mind, not just when I'm putting teams together but also when I'm hiring. However brilliant or accomplished a prospect is, I don't want to hire that person if he or she can't play well with others. I look for the right mix of skills and mindset, of course, but beyond that I want to know that the person will be worthy of colleagues' trust and a positive presence within the company. If not, I'd prefer that person play on someone else's team." --Andrew Benett, Global CEO of Havas Worldwide and Havas Creative Group
10. See the spaces, not the trees.
"This is a snowboarding reference. It can be daunting, standing at the top of the mountain readying yourself for the trip down, and seeing all the trees in your path. But the key is to see the space between the trees. This sort of mindset, seeing the opportunity and not the obstacles, is important as you start out on your next life chapter, both personally and professionally. When you're deep into your work or facing a personal challenge, it's easier to see the barriers, but don't let them stop you from pursuing the opportunity that exists around them. Remember the business of your business. Many companies get caught up in the service they provide versus what actually drives their business. For example, Twitter is a micro-blogging service. But at the end of the day, what pays the bills is selling ads and sponsored tweets on the platform. Don't lose sight of the actual economics of your business; it's what keeps the lights on.
You Join a Company, but Leave a Boss.
"Most of us say we want to work for a company, whether it's Google, GE, Facebook, or IBM. Let's say you score the interview and land the job--congrats. But once you're there, you'll see that you don't actually work for the company; you work for your manager. Through actions and management, your boss is the one who has a direct impact on your experience at the company. That relationship is incredibly important to your future, both inside the company and for your next job. It's the team and people you surround yourself with that matters every day. When people leave a company, it's usually their manager or the leadership that they're really leaving, so when choosing your next adventure, select equally on leader and logo." --David Gaspar, managing director at innovation consultancy firm DDG
This wisdom from a long time ago and a galaxy far, far, away will inspire you to be thoughtful, brave and successful!
BY KEVIN DAUM
Inc. 500 entrepreneur and best-selling author
When I was 12 years old, I stood in line for three hours to see a new space adventure. I was so entranced I went back six times over the next several days to see it again. For the next 38 years, I, like many others, would quote Yoda, Obi-Wan, and Han Solo, among others. George Lucas, one of the greatest entrepreneurs in this star system, did not simply create a fantasy empire or a business empire. He established a philosophy, one that has shaped our culture for decades. So much of what Lucas created in the series is applicable in business and in life. The memorable moments of the Star Wars series are countless, and so are the inspirational quotes from the characters, and of course their creator. Enjoy them below, use them in your journey, and let the Force be with you. 1. "If you want to be successful in a particular field, perseverance is one of the key qualities." -George Lucas
2. "You have to find something that you love enough to jump over hurdles and break through the brick walls."
3. "If you can tune into the fantasy life of an 11-year-old girl, you can make a fortune in this business." -George Lucas
4. "A lot of people like to do certain things, but they're not that good at it. Keep going through the things that you like to do until you find something that you actually seem to be extremely good at. It can be anything." -George Lucas
5. "My first six years in the business were hopeless. There are a lot of times when you sit and you say 'Why am I doing this? I'll never make it. It's just not going to happen. I should go out and get a real job, and try to survive.'" -George Lucas
6. "You simply have to put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Put blinders on and plough right ahead." -George Lucas
7. "I took over control of the merchandising not because I thought it was going to make me rich, but because I wanted to control it. I wanted to make a stand for social, safety, and quality reasons. I didn't want someone using the name Star Wars on a piece of junk." -George Lucas
8. "Right or wrong, this is my movie, this is my decision, and this is my creative vision, and if people don't like it, they don't have to see it." -George Lucas
9. "Train yourself to let go of everything you fear to lose." -Yoda tells Anakin that fearing loss makes one greedy, thus in turn making one more apt to turn to the dark side. (Episode III: Revenge of the Sith) 10. "Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering." -Yoda tells Anakin the consequences of having fear. (Episode I: The Phantom Menace)
11. "Always pass on what you have learned." -Yoda tells Luke as he dies. He wants Luke to turn into a teacher and keep the culture of the Jedi alive and well. (Episode VI: Return of the Jedi)
12. "That is why you fail." -Luke tells Yoda that he cannot believe that the little guy lifted his X-Wing out of the swamp. Yoda's response is to assert that Luke's lack of faith is the reason for his failure. (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
13. "If once you start down the dark side, forever will it dominate your destiny, consume you it will, as it did Obi-Wan's apprentice."
-Yoda to Luke. Once you make a morally questionable decision, you will start a cycle that will end in your own destruction. (Episode VI: Return of the Jedi)
14. "If you end your training now-if you choose the quick and easy path, as Vader did-you will become an agent of evil." -Yoda doesn't want Luke to run into a battle he isn't ready for. (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
15. "Patience you must have, my young Padawan." -Yoda tells an impatient Luke at the start of his training. (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
16. "A Jedi must have the deepest commitment, the most serious mind.... All his life has he looked away...to the future, to the horizon. Never his mind on where he was. Hmm? What he was doing. Hmph. Adventure. Heh. Excitement. Heh. A Jedi craves not these things. You are reckless."
-Yoda notes how Luke simply cannot keep himself focused on the present moment, but is instead always looking to run before he can walk. (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
17. "You must unlearn what you have learned." -Yoda tells Luke at the start of their relationship. (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
18. "In a dark place we find ourselves, and a little more knowledge lights our way."
-Yoda says this as he returns to Coruscant with Obi-Wan Kenobi to uncover what has happened in the Jedi Temple. (Episode III: Revenge of the Sith)
19. "You will know when you are calm, at peace. Passive. A Jedi uses the Force for knowledge and defense, never for attack."
-Yoda tells an angst-ridden Luke. (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
20."Truly wonderful the mind of a child is."
-Yoda says this to Obi-Wan about the purity of innocence and the insights that can be gleamed from listening to fresh ideas. (Episode II: Attack of the Clones)
21."The fear of loss is a path to the dark side."
-Yoda to Anakin, after the latter asks about losing a loved one. Yoda tells him that fear of loss will lead to an unstable emotional state that will eventually push him down the dark path. (Episode III: Revenge of the Sith)
22. "Do or do not. There is no try."
-Likely one of the most iconic Star Wars quotes, Yoda says this to Luke after the latter questions his own abilities to pick the ship out of the swamp using the Force. (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
23. "Only what you take with you."
-Yoda's final comment to Luke as the latter prepares to enter a dark cave. Luke asks what he should bring with him. (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
24. "Size matters not. Look at me. Judge me by my size, do you? And well you should not. For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is."
-Yoda says to Luke after Luke complains that his sinking X-Wing is too big to lift up using the Force. Yoda tells him that size makes no difference. (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
25. "Wars not make one great."
-Yoda tells Luke. In the context of all six films, this is Yoda's response to the disillusionment heexperienced after fighting in the Clone Wars. He knows that battling and fighting is ultimately fruitless due to the losses of life one must endure for its sake. (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
26. "Difficult to see. Always in motion is the future."
-Yoda on predicting the future. (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
27. "Much to learn you still have...my old Padawan."
-Yoda tells Count Dooku as the two face off for the first time. Yoda wants to temper Dooku's arrogance. (Episode II: Attack of the Clones)
28. "Greed can be a very powerful ally."
-Qui-Gon Jinn, as he prepares to make a deal with one of the junk dealers on Tatooine. (Episode I: The Phantom Menace)
29. "The ability to speak does not make you intelligent."
-Qui-Gon Jinn to the rambling Jar Jar Binks. (Episode I: The Phantom Menace)
30. "Your focus determines your reality."
-Qui-Gon Jinn tells Anakin. (Episode I: The Phantom Menace) 31. "Remember, concentrate on the moment. Feel, don't think, use your instincts."
-Qui-Gon Jinn tells a nervous Obi-Wan Kenobi as the two enter an uncertain situation. (Episode I: The Phantom Menace)
32. "There's always a bigger fish."
-Qui-Gon Jinn's observes that there are always bigger obstacles awaiting you. (Episode I: The Phantom Menace)
33. "Your eyes can deceive you; don't trust them."
-Obi-Wan provides some advice for Luke, who is frustrated by the training exercise. (Episode IV: A New Hope)
34."Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our point of view." -Obi-Wan Kenobi tells Luke after revealing that Darth Vader and Anakin are not the same person, despite occupying the same body. (Episode VI: Return of the Jedi)
35. "Who's more foolish? The fool or the fool who follows him?"
-Obi-Wan tells Han Solo after the latter complains of their having to hide in the compartments of the Millennium Falcon. Obi-Wan is defending his plan by pointing out that Han Solo opted for being a follower instead of bringing his own wisdom to the situation. (Episode IV: A New Hope)
36. "In my experience, there is no such thing as luck."
-Obi-Wan tells Han Solo after the latter claims that there is no Force controlling everything. He sees life as random and fortuitous. (Episode IV: A New Hope)
37. "Use the Force, Luke."
-Obi-Wan tells Luke as he makes the trench run to destroy the Death Star. Obi-Wan is asking Luke to switch off his targeting computers and use his impulse and feeling to deliver the death knell. (Episode IV: A New Hope) 38. "The Force will be with you always."
-Obi-Wan reassures Luke as they see one another for the last time. (Episode IV: A New Hope)
39. "Strike me down and I will become more powerful than you could possibly imagine."
-Obi-Wan's words to Darth Vader as they duel on the Death Star. (Episode IV: A New Hope)
40. "Be mindful of your thoughts, Anakin. They will betray you."
-Obi-Wan's guidance to the ever-impetuous Anakin as he dreams of a romance with Padm. (Episode II: Attack of the Clones)
41. "I can feel you anger. It gives you focus. It makes you stronger." -Chancellor Palpatine's words to Anakin as the two confront one another for the first time. Palpatine's identity as Darth Sidious is now out in the open. Instead of dwelling on frustration, one can use it to focus one's mind and strengthen resolve. (Episode III: Revenge of the Sith)
42. "I find your lack of faith disturbing."
-Darth Vader confronts an imperial general for questioning the power of the Force. (Episode IV: A New Hope)
43. "When I left you, I was but the learner. Now I am the master." -Darth Vader tells Obi-Wan Kenobi during their final confrontation on the Death Star. (Episode IV: A New Hope)
44. "The Force is strong with this one."
-Darth Vader as he tries to take down Luke in the Death Star trench. (Episode IV: A New Hope)
45. "Compassion, which I would define as unconditional love, is essential to a Jedi's life. So you might say that we are encouraged to love."
-Anakin reinterprets the Jedi code, acknowledging that love and compassion are crucial to his role. (Episode II: Attack of the Clones)
46. "Sometimes we must let go of our pride and do what is requested of us."
-Padm tells Anakin as the two head to Naboo as fugitives. (Episode II: Attack of the Clones)
47. "I am a Jedi, like my father before me."
-Luke comes to terms with his true identity in front of the evil emperor, moments after taking down his own father in a duel. In this moment, Luke refuses to accept turning to the Dark Side. (Episode VI: Return of the Jedi)
48. "You serve your master well. And you will be rewarded."
-Luke tells one of Jabba's minions upon entering his palace. (Episode VI: Return of the Jedi)
49. "I'll not leave you now. I've got to save you." "You already have." -Luke and Anakin Skywalker's final exchange on the Death Star. Anakin acknowledges that his son has already done all he can to redeem him. (Episode VI: Return of the Jedi)
50. "Great, kid. Don't get cocky."
-Han Solo tempers Luke Skywalker's enthusiasm after he shoots down an Imperial TIE fighter. (Episode IV: A New Hope)
51. "Never tell me the odds."
-Han Solo in response to C3PO telling him the odds of surviving an asteroid field. (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
52. "I am not a committee."
-Princess Leia responds to Han Solo when he refuses to acknowledge her point of view. (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
54. "You have your moments. Not many of them, but you have them."
-Princess Leia tells Han Solo as a compliment after he saves them from an asteroid field. (Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back)
55. "I will not condone a course of action that will lead us to war."
-Queen Amidala makes this statement when attacking the Trade Federation is brought up as a potential plan. She refuses to start a war, preferring a diplomatic solution. (Episode I: The Phantom Menace)
56. "I was not elected to watch my people suffer and die while you discuss this invasion in a committee."
-Queen Amidala tells Senator Palpatine that she is unwilling to sit around without being proactive. Her next move is to return to her planet to save her people from the occupation of the Trade Federation. (Episode I: The Phantom Menace)
57. "Now, be brave and don't look back. Don't look back."
-Shmi Skywalker tells her son Anakin as he embarks on a journey that will change his life. (Episode I: The Phantom Menace)
An important life lesson is revealed by an unlikely source.
BY JUSTIN BARISO
Emotional intelligence (EI or EQ) is marked by a person's ability to recognize and understand emotions (both his or her own and those of others), and to use that information to guide decision making. It includes demonstrating extremely complex qualities such as empathy, sympathy, and compassion. Of course, these qualities help us to be better people. But they can also help youbreak your worst communication habits, so that others receive your message in the best way possible.
For example, have you said something recently that you wish you could take back? For years, I struggled with the weakness of speaking too quickly, without thinking things through.
Curbing that tendency is easier said than done, but there's a quick "three question method" that can prevent you from saying something you'll later regret.
The 3 Vital Questions
I discovered this brilliant strategy through an unlikely source. I was watching an interview with comedian and television personality Craig Ferguson, when he gave some very sage advice:
There are three things you must always ask yourself before you say anything.
Does this need to be said?
Does this need to be said by me?
Does this need to be said by me now?
Ferguson says it took him three marriages to learn that lesson.
Before you dismiss this method as simplistic, think about how many antagonistic comments this would eliminate from social media. Or, we can take it a step further and consider how it might apply at work:
Let's say you're a manager, and you've been working hard to improve the relationships with certain individuals on your team. One day, you witness someone doing something great at work, and you take advantage of the opportunity to commend them. Great job! (Sincere, authentic, and timely praise goes a long way in motivating employees.)
But suddenly, you remember how they messed something up a few weeks ago. "I should bring that to their attention, too," you reason. "Let me tell them before I forget..."
No! Stop! Ask yourself:
Does this need to be said?
Does it need to be said by me?
Does it need to be said by me now?
True, constructive criticism is best delivered soon after a mistake. But you've alreadymissed that boat. If you give that negative feedback now, it will completely destroy whatever goodwill you built with your praise and commendation. The person will think:
"So, essentially you just told me something nice to soften the blow of what you really wanted to say. Jerk."
When you ask yourself the three questions, you'll probably conclude one of the following:
- You know, the criticism I wanted to share wasn't so important after all. My opinion may even be changing on this.
- It might be better if I speak to their team leader first. Maybe what I saw a few weeks ago wasn't really the whole picture.
- I definitely still need to talk to them about the problem I saw. But now's not the right time. Let me set a reminder to schedule an appointment with the person after I'm better prepared.
See how well it works?
This is just one scenario, but practicing these three questions will help you in various situations. Imagine if everyone did it: We would see far fewer (and shorter) emails, shorter meetings, and fewer employee complaints about others' inappropriate remarks...and yes, maybe even a few saved romances.
Keeping It Balanced
Of course, I'm not discouraging speaking up when appropriate. I strongly believe in honest and direct communication, and there are times when the answer to all three questions will be a resounding yes--even when what we need to say isn't comfortable for us or the recipient.
When those times come, the three question method will help you speak with confidence--and learn to be assertive when it counts.
Apple's iconic co-founder had an unmatched talent for zeroing on what's most important.
BY MINDA ZETLIN
Co-author, 'The Geek Gap'@MindaZetlin
There was only one Steve Jobs, and it's easy to see why we're so fascinated with him. A twin separated at birth; a visionary who made products that changed how we use technology; a college dropout who studied coding and calligraphy for fun; a wisdom seeker who spent months wandering India barefoot in a sarong. Oh, and after a long flirtation with sweater vests and bow ties, a man who wore a black turtleneck and blue jeans everywhere he went.
Here are some of the reasons more freelancers, startups, and other businesses are going the coworking route.
BY JEREMY GOLDMAN
Founder and CEO, Firebrand Group @jeremarketer
More and more Americans are turning to freelance employment; in fact, by some accounts, it's now reached 34% of the workforce. These workers are looking for productive spaces to conduct their businesses. When your home isn't conducive to concentrating and cafes are too loud and crowded, where is a freelance professional supposed to work? One major solution to this growing problem is coworking spaces--communal offices that are shared by new businesses, digital companies, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. When I started Firebrand Group, I turned to coworking spaces as a viable, future-oriented way to start our digital consulting agency. While coworking has been on the rise for a few years now, it looks like 2016 may be the year that coworking goes mainstream. Here are some of the many reasons why freelancers and others are turning to coworking spaces:
47 percent of people surveyed reported that the meetings they attend are not productive. Don't make it worse by saying these
words and phrases.
BY PETER ECONOMY
The Leadership Guy@bizzwriter
Few of us enjoy--really enjoy--the time we spend in meetings. Part of the reason for this is the fact that, for a variety of reasons, meetings can be particularly unproductive. In fact, in a survey of 1,000 people, intranet provider Igloo found that fully 47 percent reported that meetings were unproductive. That's pretty abysmal.
In the ever-elusive search for ways to get more work done faster, these ideas proved to be some of the most popular on our website.
BY ANNA HENSEL
Editorial assistant, Inc.@ahhensel
As an entrepreneur, it doesn't matter how successful and profitable your company is--there are still days when you can feel like a failure for not getting enough work done.
After having successfully launched several companies during my career, here are the 10 things that I look for in a new hire.
Entrepreneur and investor@johnrampton
Hiring the right people for your small business isn't a nice little perk. It's an essential part of your business since your employees the heart and soul of your business. They're your biggest brand advocates and will responsible for the successful growth of your business. Furthermore, if you can retain great employees, you'll save a ton of time and money since you won't have to be concerned with a high turnover.
"Christmas waves a magic wand over this world, and behold, everything is softer and more beautiful."
-Norman Vincent Peale-
The curtains close on yet another year with the magical show of Christmas! With jingle bells on silent nights, winter wonderlands, mistletoe and wine. While Santa makes his list and checks it twice, and Rudolf prepares for his sleigh ride, the entire world prepares to welcome the most wonderful time of the year. So as the sleigh bells ring, let’s deck the office halls with boughs of holly and rock around the Christmas tree. Let’s bring a little bit of Christmas magic to the office!
It’s all about the content! Check out this year’s top contenders.
For brand marketers using LinkedIn it’s imperative for them to be able to measure their content marketing efforts. At LinkedIn, content is king and engaging professional audiences with information that not only educates, but also inspires them is ultimately our goal.