The Consulting Thing – Part II
By Lyle R. Hill
I am hoping that you regular readers … up to 31 at last count … will remember that I wrote a column in this very magazine a few months back wherein this “Consulting Thing” was mentioned. Specifically, I talked about my many years in the industry … 48 and counting … and my desire to share what I have learned with you, the bright-eyed, deep-thinking and quite talented readers I love. Part I of this program dealt with common definitions and explanations so as to get you up to speed on any number of important business terms and practices. With that now behind us, we can get into the real meat of the program. If you need a copy of Part I please send me some cash and a self-addressed, stamped envelope and I will mail a copy to you. I suggest you collect the entire series, put the lessons in a three-ring binder and hide it away in a safe place. Then, when you get very old and are sitting in a rocking chair in a retirement home, you can get it out and see where you went right and where you went wrong. You may also want to add a few things of your own to pass along to your grandchildren, none of whom will be working in the glass business because they are much smarter than us. Some of the lessons and recommendations I am going to provide I learned because of my own stupidity. I hope you can avoid the mistakes I made by absorbing some of my suggestions. Okay, so let’s get into Part II.
1. Never burn a bridge … unless you are running from the law. This is an old axiom, but a good one. Simply put, every bridge you go across, every person you meet and deal with, may be useful at some point again in the future. Don’t dismiss or mistreat anyone.
2. Take it easy … be as intense and anxious as you want to be, but keep it inside you. After a few years in the biz I started telling customers and suppliers that my goal was to be the easiest person they had ever dealt with, and with a few exceptions, I think I have been.
3. Remember the other Golden Rule … as you know, the Golden Rule says “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” The other side of that rule is “expect to have done unto you by others what you have done to them.” Or as my Southside Irish friends here in Chicago like to say, “what goes around comes around.” Every time!
4. Be patient … no one likes dealing with an impatient, nervous, pushy or overly aggressive person. Learn to practice patience and if you can’t really be patient, learn to hide your impatience.
5. Watch your mouth … I can’t stand foul-mouthed, loud and/or ob-noxious people. And you know what? Most of the world is in my corner on this. Everything you say does not need a profane adjective to emphasize it. Saying stupid or intemperate things makes you look stupid!
6. Self-promote with care … there is absolutely nothing wrong in the business world with self-promotion, but do it with care. Don’t be boastful or obvious. When you have done something re-ally terrific and want the world to know about it, try to get someone else, rather than yourself, to get the news out.
7. Don’t be a knocker … When I was quite young I worked under a very talented guy who was quite valuable to our company. But he was constantly running everybody down. I mentioned this to him one day and his response was, “kid, the sooner you learn that a knock is as good as a boost, the faster you’ll climb the old corporate ladder.” Of course I realized he was probably knocking me to every-one else just like he was knocking all of them to me. When I became his boss, I let him go. People like this are cancers for a business.
8. Accept criticism and take the blame for your mistakes … no one is perfect, including you. Be honest about your missteps to others and yourself. No finger pointing and no playing the blame game. In the long run, nobody wins this game.
9. Help anyone and everyone you can … you have no idea how much good will come back to you by being the first one to help a co-worker who is struggling or a little overwhelmed. For further explanation, re-read #3 above.
10. Read Proverbs from start to finish … the 20th book of the Bible’s Old Testament is stuffed with personal and business teachings that can be of incredible help to you. Yes, it gets a little preachy, but the wisdom therein is found in virtually every chapter and many of the teachings … proverbs … found there are still quoted regularly today. I wish I would have read it and accepted its teachings much earlier in my life than I did.
Okay … this is Part II. Whether or not there is a Part III will be determined by the response I get to this one. And as always, thank you for reading.
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