Lucky you, if you’ve ever worked for an inspiring boss. Working under someone who’s smart and entrepreneurial is a better perk than a company car, in my opinion. It’s a definite asset, being able to watch someone brilliant in action. You can learn from how they manage their staff, how they make decisions, the actions they take and the reasons why. Working under someone inspirational is better than any business course you can do. I still remember and use key lessons I learnt from “onto it” bosses I had early in my career.
Steve Sjuggerud has a smart boss. And every day that he turns up to work he learns from him. He made a list of 7 things he learnt from watching his boss in action. The list is simple but awesome, so I’ve pasted it below (you can see it in full here if you want to: http://stansberryresearch.com/investor-education/seven-secrets-of-smartest-businessmen/)
He’s not afraid to be proven wrong. I’m not saying he likes being wrong… He’s a competitor. But he won’t hold stupidly to his original belief once it’s been discredited. Ever since we were kids, he’s had a unique ability to lead the troops in one direction, full speed ahead… Then if he’s proven wrong, he’ll do an immediate about-face and lead the charge in the opposite direction. If a business idea isn’t working, cut it. Don’t waste valuable time trying to make a wrong a right. Surprisingly, most smart people have a hard time with this.
In a business deal, he does an outstanding job explaining what’s in it for the other guy. In short, he doesn’t talk about himself, his wants, and his needs… at all. He talks about the benefits for the guy on the other side of the table. Like everyone, the guy on the other side of the table is selfish. When you get down to it, he really doesn’t care what’s in it for you. But if you can convince him you’ll make him more successful at what he does, you’ll get your deal.
He praises and constructively criticizes people equally. If you’re screwing up, my boss will call you out. So when the praise comes from him, everyone knows it’s legitimate. It’s valuable. If you’re the boss, you know constant praise without constructive criticism is useless.
He’s friendly with “rivals.” He even gives away most of our secrets. I didn’t understand this one at first. I’m sure our competitors still don’t… Why would we happily give away our secrets? Well, after spending time with us, our competitors often end up wanting to partner. That grows their business, which grows ours… And if a rival’s business folds, the employees know us and try to get a job. We end up with the best talent. You might not like the idea of inviting your rivals over to share your secrets. But it makes great sense for both sides. (My boss says, “I don’t mind giving our secrets away… They’ll never execute them like we can.” That is the biggest insight of all.)
He hires people smarter than him. Wait, didn’t I say he’s the smartest guy I know? My friend is brilliant, yes. But he’s not that organized. So he hired a man “to run the business.” And when he decides to push our business into new areas, he hires the best guys he can find.
He pays his employees well – through pay incentives. He’s done a fantastic job tying his employees’ pay to the jobs he needs them to do. In my own case, he’s always structured my pay in a way that should 1) increase my income and 2) push me to put my efforts behind the best opportunity he sees.
Lastly and most importantly… it’s not about the money. The money is simply one “scoreboard” of his success. A lot of it is about fun… about coming up with a business idea and seeing if it works. If you took all his money away tomorrow and told him he had to move to a different country, pick a place where he didn’t speak the language, and find a different industry, he’d make all that money back again in the same short amount of time. He’d use all his secrets… like the handful I outlined above… and he’d do it. No question about it.
What’s the smartest person you’ve worked for taught you? I’d love to know! If you feel like you still have room to learn and are open to upskilling, get on-board with us at Business Changing for some inspiring business coaching – we’ll pass on all the great stuff we’ve learnt over the years! firstname.lastname@example.org; 021 775 660