Friday, August 13, 2010

Words To Live By

I've been in the professional business world for about 15 years. In this time I've run into thousands of people and have had many hours of conversation related to business. There have been a few who have said things that have stuck with me. They may not have had any clue the impact they had. This post is to share some of these simple one-liners in the hopes that they may have a similar impact with you:

"Surprise and Delights" - Jerry McClelland, VP @ Marketing Associates

This was Jerry's personal mantra. We used to work together on the Ford College Graduate Rebate program. It was a fairly visible account with a certainly big-time client. He used to give me projects that I would complete. When I'd bring the completed work to him, he'd start asking me questions. Inevitably, I wouldn't know the answers b/c I was too busy doing the task. What he told me was you have to provide 'Surprise and Delights' to your clients and your boss. Not only should you strive to complete the task that was given, but also think two steps ahead and answer questions that haven't even been asked. This will build confidence in the receiver that you understand what you're doing and are taking the initiative to improve.

"The true test of a good employee is what they do when there's nothing to do" Dr. Lee Meadow - Professor at Walsh College

It was his belief that anybody can look productive when there is a lot of work to do. It's the real test of how good an employee is when there is nothing to do.

Many employees will simply sit at their desks, complain, or start socializing. It's the employees who are looking for ways to create work (thus profits) that will ultimately be successful.

"Get off your @ss and stop feeling sorry for yourself - Nadine Borowicz - N.A. Accounting Manager at IonBond

This one hit close to home as it was my wife (then girlfriend). I was between jobs, wasn't really doing good in school and really needed the kick in the pants to get going. Although the comment was said to me from a personal standpoint, I tend to still hear those words when I think things are going bad and it seems to get me going again.

What words of wisdom do you live by? Please post them and share with the group.


  1. 'The time to lean is the time to clean'
    Learned that one from my manager at Chuck Gillam at McDonalds circa 1977. It's the same way of saying that you can judge an employee by what they do when there is nothing to do.
    'Busy and Productive are not interchangable terms' - that one is mine.

  2. I like your last quote. Taking 5 hours to do a 2 hour project shouldn't be a bragging point.

    The other one I hear is, 'but I tried hard'. Although I do have some sympathy, I tend to respond with, 'I could try hard being a brain surgeon, but it doesn't mean you want me cutting your skull open'

    Thanks for commenting.

  3. 'There are two types of people who will never succeed: those who never do what they're told, and those that do nothing but.' - Greg Hawkins, a friend of mine, told me that in college.

  4. @ Nick...I like that one. I think if I had to choose, I'd pick the person who does nothing but what I say, depending on the position. As long as you recognize them for what they are, they can be very good employees.

  5. "Time to lean? Time to clean!" was probably my earliest business lesson from my manager at Eddie's Drive In in Harrison Twp.

    Another one was not necessarily words, but advice from my former manager to join Toastmasters. It has made such a significant impact on my life and career.

    Any my final words were from my mom, who said "We always make time for the things we really want to do." Meaning everyone has 24 hours in a day and ultimately you will choose how to spend that time. If it's important to you, you will find time to fit it in.