New WashingtonExec Series:
WashingtonExec asked the simple question to top area executives:
“If you could give your kids only three pieces of advice, what would they be?”
Today’s insight comes from Greg Young, President and CEO of ENSCO.
1. Work hard. Working hard is tough because we never tell them “At what?” You need to work hard at delivering quality to your organization in the most important value elements of the business. You need to work hard at being innovative, bringing new ideas that differentiate your business from its competitors. I trademarked “Ingenious Works” for the company recently, a takeoff on “Skunk Works” from Lockheed Martin. But, it also means “Ingenious works!” as in, it really works, and it does! You need to work hard at knowing what is most important in your business and focusing on that. What’s important? People. We have forgotten in many businesses that our people – our employees, our customers and our shareholders are the most important things in our business. If we are successful at working really hard, we are really working really smart at delivering quality, delivering innovation and focusing on our people.
2. Continuous learning. In today’s world of the Internet, rapidly changing technology, rapidly changing economics, rapidly changing need, and rapidly changing competition, we all must be continuous learners, reading, listening, absorbing and understanding the impact and meaning of the changes that occur around us. Change is the only constant in our world today and we have to get really good at getting ahead of that constant.
3. Understanding people. There isn’t a business today whose success isn’t determined by people. The customer, the banker, the regulator, the competitor, the employee, the manager, the leader, all play critical roles in determining the success of the business. But, how do we understand them? We need to learn their motivations, aspirations, desires, biases, goals, and the little things that effect people and their decisions. We need to learn how to effectively communicate with people to elicit these human behaviors. When we can predict behavior, we are understanding people. When we are understanding people, we can make the best decisions that exceed their expectations.
If we can do these, business is a snap!