People are always going on about work-life balance and how you should compartmentalise one from the other. But I've certainly found that many of the lessons I learned early on can apply to both.
"A lot of what I learned is just good old common sense!"
One of the keys to long-term success is having good business integrity, and that can be boiled down to this simple question: what would you do in any given situation that is the right thing, and doesn't make you feel bad?
Would you lie just to make a sale?
Would you throw a colleague under the bus just to get a promotion?
Would you steal from your employer just to pay your own bills?
Would you be untruthful on your CV?
On a much bigger (and more responsible) scale, would you terminate a supplier knowing that 50 people would lose their jobs, without raising any warnings and allowing them time to correct the issue?
Could you release a product to market knowing that it hadn't been tested fully and was potentially dangerous? After all, deadlines have to be met and all that marketing spend would go to waste if you didn't deliver on time.
And how about those pesky fish in the river next to your manufacturing plant? So what if we got a bunch of warnings on your last safety check about environmental standards; they're just fish, right?
"All good questions ... and ones you should ponder before the situation arises!"
Why? Because when one of those moments does happen, and your business integrity is on the line, you'd be under so much pressure to make a decision, you could end up making the wrong one.
Anyone with business integrity just wouldn't do any of those things. And that's because we had some good old common sense instilled into us when we were young. For example, we learned not to associate with the wrong people, and that certainly feeds into our business world doesn't it?
"If you work with someone who doesn't have business integrity, then it'll damage yours too!"
But the good news is that if you surround yourself with the right people, then their own values will rub off on you and lift you. Kindness could be seen as weakness, but is it? Is it really? Someone who is humble can teach you how to conduct yourself, in life and in business, so is humility such a bad thing?
My grandfather always made me giggle with one particular story about humility. It was about the Talmud, the lion. He always said "The Talmud never needs to go around telling everyone that he's the king of the beasts, does he? Roar, I'm a lion, Roar! I'm a lion! Roar! Fear me! No, everyone already knows that. He doesn't need to prove a thing."
"Be kind, be humble, and surround yourself with like-minded people who'll work together to find long-term success!"
I'm very lucky that I've never had to compromise my business integity during my career. I've built a successful business over the past 10 years by working with good people, and I know my own values have rubbed off on them ...
I had a successful 20-year career as an office manager and personal assistant; however, my job was no longer focused on the customers and became all about the numbers. My customer-focused background began when I was 12 in my father's independent carpet showroom. I had a spell with Marks & Spencer before I moved into office-based jobs. I have worked as a training administrator, a PA and PA/office manager in a variety of industries from manufacturing to the IT education sector.
Meanwhile, my husband Ian, a successful Northampton based Master Decorator and owner of Rainbow Frost, was losing out on work due to missed phone calls. When he was busy, callers were getting his voicemail but weren't leaving messages. I knew how to fix that problem!
I quit my job and took on Ian as the first client of The Office Genie in November 2005. Word quickly spread with the second client coming on board just one week later. The majority of our clients since have come to us through word of mouth recommendations and networking referrals. Over the years, I have become well connected in Northampton and Milton Keynes.
Outside of work I enjoy swimming, roller skating, the theatre and my cats and dogs!
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