With Father’s Day coming up just around the corner, our team, along with consultancy Nina & Pinta, started a thread about the best advice we’ve received from our fathers. Although we meant it to be general advice, much of it ended up being relevant to the business world.
Some of it was sage, some of it was funny, but we thought it was all valuable and therefore decided to share it with you below.
If you have any wisdom you’d like to share from your own father (or father figure), we want to hear it! Please share with us in the comments below.
From my Dad: “Don’t be afraid to share your knowledge. If someone wants to pick your brain, let them. At the same time, don’t take credit for other people’s work. That way, you will always have people’s trust and your knowledge and expertise will be valued.”
And the best bit of advice from my uncle who ran a large pharmaceutical company in Germany: “Don’t let them buy you. Don’t accept free gifts, packages, stays or incentives unless paid for by your employer. If a supplier, client or official offers you something for free — it’s not. What they are purchasing is you.”
“Strike the right balance between saving and spending. Don’t let your desire to save hold you back from taking advantage of a good business opportunity.”
At the same time, “Make sure you have enough savings to walk away. Don’t put yourself in a position where your financial situation backs you into a corner or drives you to compromise your professional integrity.”
One was “Always protect your integrity – it’s all you have.”
The other was “If you are in a hole – stop digging!”
“Your reputation matters. You only get one and you can’t always start over.”
“People like to talk about themselves. Always ask questions and be a great conversationalist.”
I also definitely learned the value of an Excel sheet from my dad! Katharine understands. 🙂
My Dad always impressed on me the importance of asking questions and speaking in terms other people could understand. He’s worked around hardware and machinery his whole life and he can seamlessly switch between speaking to engineers and silver-haired grandmothers without alienating either. He also uses analogies to make a point — not something he ever pointed to as a business lesson, but certainly something I picked up!
I also remember he gave me a dedicated lesson one day in how to politely interrupt people, which I’ve found so important as a woman in journalism and business.
“You only get one chance to make a good first impression. Always put in the effort to dress your best and look your best.”
“Don’t over-manage or micro-manage people. Give your direct reports plenty of rope and expect them to perform. With that said, hiring the right people is critically important. Be thorough in the hiring process — conduct multiple interviews and ask candidates to make several trips to the office prior to extending an offer.”