- Never underestimate the importance of money. I have always been grateful to my husband for teaching me to reel in the wallet.
- Never overestimate the value of money. Cash is by no means the only currency in business. There is much to be said for a job well done, the respect of others, or the thrill of building something from nothing. Pursue these goals as well and let the profits follow.
- You can never have too many friends in business. Loyal friends who derive as much pleasure from your success as you do are the best leverage in business. Given the choice, people always prefer to do business with a friend, even if the sometimes can make a better deal elsewhere.
- Don’t be afraid to say, “I don’t know.” If you don’t know something, say so. There’s no shame in not knowing everything. In fact, there is a subtle form of flattery and ego-stroking at work when you plead ignorance and ask the other person to educate you. If you’re going to bluff, do so out of strength, not ignorance.
- Speak Less. You cannot blunder or put your foot in your mouth if you are not speaking. More important, while you’re busy talking, you are probably not reading the constantly shifting rhythms of your audience and your situation. Flapping gums dull your two most important senses – your eyes and ears.
- Keep your promises, the big ones and the little ones. Few things in this world impress me as much as someone who does what he says he will do. Likewise, few things depress me more than someone who doesn’t keep his word. This person is breaking an unwritten code of business. The starting point of any relationship is trust, not suspicion.
- Every transaction has a life of its own. Some need tender loving care, some need to be hurried along. Once you figure that out, be adaptable. Go into a negotiation with a few preconceptions as possible. Whether you get less or more than you really wanted, it will always be more than you started with.
- Commit yourself to quality from day one. Concentrate on each task, whether trivial or crucial, as if it’s the only thing that matters.
- Be nice to people. Not because you’ll need them on your way down, but because it’s the most pleasant route to the top. Being sensitive to other people’s feelings always pays off; it has an uncanny way of (1) alerting you to their business needs, (2) sharpening your sense of timing, and (3) getting you out of awkward situations. All things being equal, courtesy can be most persuasive.
- Don’t hog the credit. Share it with your colleagues. If you have to tell the world how smart you are, you probably aren’t.
No matter what good and bad situations confront you in your business career, consciously adopting these ideas-and putting them to use every day-will always give you the edge.
~What They Still Don’t Teach You at Harvard Business School