Tag Archives: management

10 Insightful Talent & Career Quotes to Inspire & Motivate You

ONE):  “Recently, I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. No, I replied, I just spent $600,000 training him. Why would I want somebody to hire his experience?”- Thomas John Watson Sr., Former chairman and CEO of IBM

TWO):  “Acquiring the right talent is the most important key to growth. Hiring was – and still is – the most important thing we do.”- Marc Bennioff, Founder, Chairman and co-CEO of Salesforce

THREE):  “The secret of my success is that we have gone to exceptional lengths to hire the best people in the world.”- Steve Jobs, Chairman, Former CEO and co-founder of Apple

FOUR):  “If you hire good people, give them good jobs, and pay them good wages, generally something good is going to happen.”- James Sinegal, Co-founder and former CEO of Costco Wholesale Corporation

FIVE): “The competition to hire the best will increase in the years ahead. Companies that give extra flexibility to their employees will have the edge in this area.”- Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft Corporation

SIX): “Nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies.”- Lawrence Bossidy, Former COO of General Electric

SEVEN): “You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it. In that process you will figure out who you really are — and you just might become the very best version of yourself.” – Sheryl Sandberg

EIGHT): “Change equals self-improvement. Push yourself to places you haven’t been before.”– Pat Summitt

NINE): “Positive thinking can be contagious. Being surrounded by winners helps you develop into a winner.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

TEN): “We all have self-doubt. You don’t deny it, but you also don’t capitulate to it. You embrace it.” – Kobe Bryant

Image Credit: AlesiaKazantceva


Breaking the Glass Ceiling – Bold and Controversial Does It

Women in Business

I recently read a very interesting old article on Karen Brady that was published in the Guardian newspaper.  A familiar face on BBC’s The Apprentice, she is widely described by her peers and the press as one of the most successful women in British business. What is even more interesting about her story was her career path and the challenges she overcame to claim a substantial presence in UK Plc.  Not all her choices that led her to her success were straightforward. Indeed, many of the decisions she made were seen as unconventional l, often bordering on controversial. But they were choices that made her who she is, and help her smash her way through the glass ceiling that all too often paralyzes many women’s careers. If all women were like Karen Brady, then there would be no glass ceiling to speak off. Her meteoric rise through British business speaks for itself. She was the first female and youngest (at 23) Managing Director of a British publicly traded company, Birmingham Football Club. Moreover, she is now a Vice Chairman of West Ham United Football Club and holds several positions on various boards, and still only 44 and married with 2 children. Could Karen Brady then be the answer and inspiration for women to penetrate the glass ceilings of the business world?

Bold and Controversial

Karen Brady started her career in advertising agency, Saatchi & Saatchi. But her career really started taking shape after she left Saatchi & Saatchi to join London Broadcasting Corporation (LBC). There she became acquainted with David Sullivan, a client of LBC and sold him advertising space which earned her more commission then the entire sales team put together at LBC. Impressed by her “go getter” attitude, Sullivan offered her a job with his company. Then after a few years, Brady persuaded Sullivan to buy struggling British Football Club, Birmingham City which he did and made her the Managing Director off at the age of 23 that she returned to profitability.

What was a critical factor in her career was her choice of mentor, David Sullivan who was an adult entertainment entrepreneur. What makes Karen standout is that she is totally comfortable in her own skin, and she is not afraid of what somebody else might say. What would have many women running scared actually drew Karen towards Sullivan, and she benefited from that as she progressed throughout her career. Even in the male dominated environment of football, she was totally comfortable. In her first day as Managing Director at Birmingham City Football Club, she turned up to work wearing a fitted powder pink jacket. When one of the players made a sexually suggestive remark, she replied by telling him that he wouldn’t be making remarks like that when she sells him to a rival football club. It was this cool and collected, and mercilessly unflinching manner that propelled her through her career, and made headlines in the male dominated world of football.  Interestingly though, her success has not made her ignorant. She has encouraged and empowered other women like her in business which is a testament to her role at Birmingham Football Club which she left with a senior management team that were 75% women. She sees women as essential in management in companies, and believes that public companies that don’t have women on their boards should have to state the reason why in their annual reports.


Karen Brady is as smart and sensible in her personal as well as professional life. Here is her take on life:

“Life is a series of problems, and how quickly and easily you overcome them generally means how happy you are.” To her, this means not spending life questioning and analyzing because that will end up driving you crazy. To move forward, close the door and don’t look back and move on to the next thing.

What has really allowed Karen to be as successful as she has been is that she has been able to take control of her career at a very early age which is courtesy of her mature thinking when she was made Managing Director of Birmingham City Football Club, and total self belief in her abilities. She has focused on herself and hasn’t allowed the judgment of others to direct her path. Here are the elements that make her tick:

  • A charismatic personality
  • Enthusiasm to operate in a male dominated environment, and totally relish it
  • Raw energy
  • A controversial figure as mentor
  • Not emotional but very rational – doesn’t take things to heart and allows her head to rule her heart
  • Sustainable strength – thick skinned
  •  Keeps weaknesses at bay
  • Keeps doubts at bay – toughness in decisions

Many of these elements are personal and unique to Karen but others have been developed over time that has allowed Karen to negotiate the challenges she has faced. What Karen’s experience demonstrates to women is that it is often a combination of conscious choices women make and other personality traits that can help in developing their careers.

Quick Tips for First Time Managers


Not all people are cut out to be managers. Many companies make the mistake of rushing a high potential employee into a management role, which somewhere later down the line result in problems among team members, and risks hurting the company’s brand. Here are some tips that first time managers can embrace to assist them in migrating towards their first management role.

Honestly is the best policy – Do not be afraid to ask your superior for advice or to admit you don’t know the answer. It’s a learning process that requires the careful guidance of a mentor

Work hard – Hard work is the single most important ingredient in any successful career, and if you have a strong work ethic you really can’t go wrong.

Delegate – Give your employees clear instructions but do not micromanage them. Learn to let go and trust other people to work for you. The best managers in the world are direct but don’t tread on other people’s toes. It’s a fine balancing act, and if you can do that you are on the right track.

Decision Making – Be ready to take decisions based on facts and anecdotal insight when you can’t be certain that you are right.

Understand the team –  Talk and listen to your team. Invest more time and effort in getting to know your team, and above all be approachable.

Attitude – Approach your first day in the role with a positive ‘can do’ attitude. Focus, context and communication must be the pillars on which to build managerial success, and do not be afraid of getting things wrong. Often to get 70% right, you need to get 30% wrong.

Difficulties  -Never walk away from confronting difficult issues. Spend at least an hour in a day one-to- one with your boss and with each team member of your team every week. Don’t forget to thank your team when they have earned it – give them the credit they deserve.

What managers ultimately fail to realize is that it is often very small things that can make a big difference to employees in their productivity and to their development as a manager. Incorporating all or some of the tips above will put the first time manager on a good footing.