Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Confucius Says

The best advice is often just a few words.

I was 24 and very inexperienced when I got a good job as manager in healthcare in a residential unit for people with a learning disability.

To be perfectly honest I was scared of people with a learning disability because in my childhood in the 1960’s these people were never in the community – they were in hospitals.

I met the doctor I was to work with for the following 4 years and he told me;

‘I expect just two things from you as a manager. One is to keep an open mind and the second is to spend time with the patients and their families’

That was terrific wisdom from a man I greatly respect. By following his advice I came to love the time I spent working in that service.

It turned out to be the best possible advice I could have had at that time in my career. I spent 4 years working in this area of healthcare alongside this doctor and it was the most rewarding and educational of the 35 years I spent in the NHS.

What great wisdom have you received in your career?


Anonymous said...

I think the greatest bit of wisdom I received was from Booker Noe, a very dear friend of mine. He had quite a successful career. He said it was all built on passion. A passion for people and a passion for your product. I think that has to be the best professional advice I have ever heard. It has served me better than any other advice I have received. More so than anything I learned academically.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Rocky that you need passion to succeed, to be the best that you can. But sometimes, especially in larger organisations, it is worth recalling Noel Coward’s advice to a young actor, which went something like this: Dear boy, forget acting, just say your lines and try not to trip over the scenery!

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks Rocky and David for 2 great examples

It is wonderful we get such wisdom from people - generally speaking - older than ourselves and those with more experience of life.

Dmitry Linkov said...

I got one superb advice when I was a trainee for 3 months in a media company called MI-Entertainment. I was given a task and actually failed. I didn't know how to do it and didn't ask anyone to help. So the time passed and boss asked for results. I haven't got any. I began to explain the problems I met and he said "who cares of this problems? You even haven't asked me!"

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks for that Dmitry – hope things are well in Moscow. What a wise boss you had.

Your story reminds me of when I was 21 and I lost a key for the massive walk-in safe in the General Office at the hospital where I was working. I was one of only two key holders and I felt terrible. I couldn’t sleep and I just couldn’t find the courage to tell my boss of this terrible mistake I had made. By the time I found the courage to tell him I was convinced I would be sacked for gross incompetence. I walked very nervously into his office and told him. His reaction was brilliant. He was not angry and was in fact very supportive. He asked me to get another key cut and he and I came to a decision that the key had been lost and had not stolen and so we didn’t need to replace the entire safe locking mechanism. He is not the boss I remember as the best I ever had but in that one incident I was really pleased by his support and his faith in me as a young man who made a genuine mistake.

Dan said...

I've got two little bits of wisdom.

One is from LtCol Joe Wotton, a truly great boss. He would often say "It's easier to direct energy than create it." He put that into action by allowing me to run off and do crazy little projects, trusting that they would somehow connect back to the organization's mission.

The other one is from my hero, my dad. He taught me "Conformity is optional." We always have a choice.

Oh, here's another bit of wisdom from my dad: S = R/E.

In that little equation, S represents Satisfaction, R is Reality and E is Expectations. So, your Satisfaction equals Reality divided by Expectations (and if expectations are low, satisfaction gets big).

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks so much Dan for those pearls of wisdom. This is fun and I learn so much from these exchanges. There is so much wisdom out there all the time. Your Dad was a wise man indeed. ‘Conformity is optional’ – that is fabulous!

I also love that delegating style of giving people with the energy the freedom to just get on with things. LtCol Wotton obviously had a big impression on you Dan – sounds like he was quite a boss

Anonymous said...

"a closed mouth gathers no foot" :)-

My mentor during a DoD stint

"learn to listen, listen to learn" !

VP - Corporate Loyalty Management.

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks for that Peter - hope you are well.

Listening is perhaps the greatest of all communication skills it seems to me. I am not always the best listener - it is a skill that has to be obsessionally practised :-)

Anonymous said...

the best part of the comments so far is that you folks actually took the advice. Otherwise they are just so many words.

Here is a real gem from my brother-You can justify everything but failure.


Trevor Gay said...

Hi Sanjay - I agree completely. I try so hard all the time to deliver on what I say I will do and what I believe in. I like your brother’s statement of great wisdom - thank you.