5 business lessons I’ve learnt in 17 years

From tough decisions to different perspectives

After seventeen years in this business, I’ve had my fair share of ups and downs. It’s not always easy, but helping people through challenges and coming to positive outcomes is what keeps me going. And through that, I’ve learnt a lot over the years. Here are five of the greatest lessons I’ve learnt in running this business.

  • 1. People surprise you

I thought I’d seen it all by now. But still, most weeks, I’m surprised by some things people do. Whether it’s a conflict I’ve not dealt with before (like someone not wearing deodorant in the workplace and other staff being bothered by this) or a long-winded dispute being resolved, I’m constantly surprised by people.

  • 2. There are always two sides

We all know this in theory, but sometimes, it can be difficult to stand in someone else’s shoes – and truly see where they’re coming from. But, one of the greatest business lessons I’ve learnt is that there are always two sides to a story – two sets of emotions and opinions. And because it’s always based on personal perspective, neither ‘side’ is ever 100% accurate.

  • 3. People make a business

It’s simple – it’s people who make a business what it is. And the businesses that prioritise their people, value two-way communication and listen to feedback are the ones that find the most success – and have the happiest employees. Without those things, a business feels flat – and that’s an easy spiral into failure.

  • 4. Active listening is powerful

There’s a powerful saying that rings true when I think of business lessons: “When you talk, you only repeat what you already know. If you listen, you might learn something new.” There are a lot of ‘successful’ people who don’t appear to know how to listen. But I believe you should never underestimate the power of active listening – the companies who practice this are almost always the ones with the happiest and most productive staff – and continued success in business.

  • 5. Tough decisions are inevitable

At some point, you’ll have to make tough decisions – delaying a difficult conversation or avoiding a tough decision will only make things worse. These things are necessary to achieve business growth and to pave a positive way forward. The people and businesses who realise this and act quickly are the ones who have the least conflict in the long run.

Almost two decades of valuable lessons

Running a business is full of highs and lows, success, failure and many valuable lessons. And I’ve learnt a lot of them over the last twenty years – like how people always surprise you, active listening is one of the most powerful tools you can have, and no matter how hard you try, tricky situations are unavoidable. If you need guidance on a tough conversation or support with communication, give us a call – we’re always here to help.