Sage advice can go a long way. In fact, some of the most accomplished people in business suggest that good advice was the secret to their success.
Thanks to LinkedIn, we know which pearls of wisdom they cherish most.
Last fall LinkedIn launched the ‘LinkedIn Influencers’ program, which gives its members the ability to follow an exclusive group of thought leaders who contribute to the platform regularly. Today, the group of ‘Influencers’ exceeds 200—including President Barack Obama, Meg Whitman, David Cameron, Jeff Immelt, Richard Branson, and Arianna Huffington.
As part of the ‘Influencers’ program, LinkedIn regularly assembles editorial packages where the thought leaders write posts on the same topic. In the latest series of original posts, “The Best Advice I Ever Got,” more than 70 leaders in banking, real estate, public relations, energy, technology and travel shared insights on the words of wisdom that have most influenced and shaped their paths towards success.
Here’s what 10 top leaders had to say:
Richard Branson: “The best advice I ever received? Simple: Have no regrets. Who gave me the advice? Mum’s the word,” the Virgin Group founder wrote. “If you asked every person in the world who gave them their best advice, it is a safe bet that most would say it was their mother. I am no exception. My mother has taught me many valuable lessons that have helped shape my life. But having no regrets stands out above all others, because it has informed every aspect of my life and every business decision we have ever made.”
Martha Stewart: “The best advice I’ve ever received was from my father when I was 12 years old and willing to listen,” the media and business magnate wrote. “He told me that with my personal characteristics, I could, if I set my mind to it, do anything I chose. This advice instilled in me a great sense of confidence, and despite the fact that sometimes I was a little nervous, I stepped out and did what I wanted to do when I wanted to do it. I think it really often is up to the parents to help build confidence in their children. It is a very necessary part of growing up.”
“We just weren’t very good; but I felt, as quarterback, that I should take some responsibility for the team’s performance. Our mounting losses only deepened my need to know what it takes to become an effective leader.
“Years later – too late for the Muskies – I received some great advice from Marshall Goldsmith, one of the preeminent authorities in the field of leadership. He told me this: ‘If you want to be an effective leader, listen to and accept with humility the feedback that comes from your team.’”
Beth Comstock: “One afternoon over ten years ago, I was talking on the phone to my boss, former GE Chairman and CEO Jack Welch, when the line went dead. I called his assistant Rosanne Badowski to say we had been disconnected,” wrote GE’s SVP and CMO. “’No you weren’t,’ she said. ‘Jack hung up on you.’ ‘Huh?’ ‘He wants you to know that’s what it’s like to be in a meeting with you,’ Rosanne said. ‘You’re too abrupt.’
“We both got a good chuckle out of that. Point well made, and with humor as the tutor. Jack himself had been pretty abrupt a few months previously, when he called me into his office. ‘You have to wallow in it.’ That’s what he said. I had just left a decade-long run in media to hop to the corporate side of things at GE, working with Welch on communications strategy.”
She said: “I cringe sometimes when I think of how I must have come across at times, and how long it took me to change my ways. And even now there are times when I forget Jack’s advice (it is a decade old). But yes, I’ve learned to not only wallow in it, but to enjoy it. Time to think and time to connect with people are as important as getting everything done. Sometimes you have to go slow before you go fast.”
Deepak Chopra, MD: “The best advice I got in life came from my parents. My mother was the archetypal goddess of wisdom symbolized in Saraswati, and my father was the archetypal healer and warrior. His name was Krishna and, like the divine Krishna, he embodied the knowledge and perseverance that guides us on the battlefield of life,” wrote the famous Indian-born American alternative medicine practitioner. “From an early age they impressed upon me through their words and actions that ‘True success comes from self-power.’”
He continued: “Furthermore, I was told that my core being was a field of infinite possibilities, infinite creativity, comfortable with uncertainty, synchronicity, and imbued with the power of intention and choice. These simple principles have guided my entire life and my journey as a physician and healer.”