By: Cassandra Gross, Talent Acquisition Specialist | 08/10/2022 |
I’m so thankful to be sharing the three biggest lessons I have learned in business. We’re all on our own path to learning, and this blog post is about my journey. There are so many lessons I have learned throughout my career. It was so hard to choose just three to write about. Lessons can be easy or hard. They can be a suggestion that is understood immediately, or it can be a long, painful, drawn-out, hard-to-learn process. This post aims to help others identify some of the lessons they can learn to help them succeed. While I hope it’s not too difficult for you, I’ve learned that the “hard way” is necessary sometimes. In my experience, the more difficult the experience, the easier it is to remember – at least that was the case for me.
For me, the “biggest lessons” are the ones that have had the greatest impact on my career or, in some cases, my personal life. These lessons not only affected me in a powerful and positive way but also affected my relationships with team members, co-workers, bosses, customers, and even my spouse. So without further ado, here are my personal biggest lessons learned in business:
Lesson 1: Don’t be too rigid or controlling – be flexible
Fun fact – one of my high school classmates always remembers me being “the manager” (as she put it) during girl scout cookie selling time. There was a point early in my career when I was very rigid and controlling. I was trying to be a good manager in my first management position. Who wouldn’t want to be, right? I quickly learned that being super-controlling and a micromanager leads to more turnover. Having to deal with the loss of great employees taught me this first lesson. Many years later, I am grateful to have learned not to be rigid and controlling at work. With the help of an awesome mentor, I learned to be flexible with employees, coworkers, other departments, and customers. I learned that everyone is essentially my customer. Today, I help others succeed by leading by example. I believe that all people have their own driving force, and I am not it. People do better when I am not “helicoptering,” as my daughter puts it. I am flexible with management decisions, as well, and appreciate the tough choices they must make to keep an organization healthy. Now, my work life is richer because of my flexibility, which has opened many opportunities for me.
Lesson 2: Don’t have a closed mind – be open-minded
Learning to have an open mind is the second most significant lesson I learned in business. My father taught me to have an open mind and work hard. I did not understand why people were doing the things they were doing. My father also taught me that people could act a certain way based on their personal experiences, and just because I have not shared their experiences doesn’t mean they’re wrong. Now, when faced with a challenging idea, I put the idea on an imaginary shelf. The idea will sit there until something in my experience suggests that I bring it down. I can safely leave the idea on my shelf so that it’s not dismissed or forgotten – it’s just on “the shelf.” This fun little practice has done wonders for me. It prevents me from challenging others too much about something I don’t understand. It also enables me to move on. Often, the idea on the shelf comes down. It may be an idea that I initially thought was untrue, unimportant, or just plain wrong, but then it turns out to be credible, important, or sometimes, a best practice. Having an open mind has allowed me to learn from others in an exceptional way. I would not have made it to this point in my career with a closed mind.
Lesson 3: Never stop learning – remain teachable
Several years ago, I had a very intimidating boss while working at a recruiting agency. At the same time, he was also super-knowledgeable. Usually, I would have tried to find another job, but since recruiting is a passion of mine, I decided to take a chance and learn everything I could from him. I learned how to run a recruiting agency from the ground up. I learned to build a book of business, negotiate contracts, and even do collections. This same boss once said, “[my] job was at the deep end of the pool, and [I’d] better learn to swim.” Not only did I learn to survive in the water, but I also learned to become a sponge. I tried to capture everything my boss could teach me. I took many notes. I put notes in notebooks, documents, and other note-keeping apps. Even today, I still refer to the things he taught me. The other day, I referred to some notes I had taken in 2013. The notes I’ve taken over the years help me a lot in my current position as a Talent Acquisition Specialist here at Percepta.
There are so many lessons to be learned in business. So far, the biggest lessons I’ve learned are to be flexible, have an open mind, and remain teachable. These are certainly not the only lessons, of course. They’re just the biggest ones for me. I hope that in sharing this, you will identify some lessons to be learned and succeed as a result.