The World’s most successful entrepreneurs and business managers
If you are looking for sensible and practical management advice, the world’s most successful entrepreneurs and business managers are arguably the best go-to people. They have the experience and success to back the advice and insights they impart. Fortunately, it’s unnecessary to set an appointment with them to learn about their thoughts. In many interviews and interactions, these uber-successful business leaders have generously shared excellent management advice.
BILL GATES: Companies giving extra flexibility to employees have an edge in hiring and keeping the best talents.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates once predicted the growing competition in hiring the best employees. His quote about this increasing headhunting competition (and giving extra flexibility to employees) is regarded as one of the best recruiting quotes in the tech industry.
In a way, Gates foresaw the rise of telecommuting and alternative employment setups. He apparently knew that the growing number of startups, especially in the tech industry, will come to a point when human resources will become scarce. At the same time, there’s the acknowledgement of how the cost of living is on the rise in key cities where most company offices are located. The top entrepreneur and philanthropist knew companies would eventually have to offer various incentives to lure in the best talents.
One of the best incentives is the option for telecommuting or remote work. There’s no strongly worded statement or video of Gates promoting telecommuting, but he recognizes it as a (positive) trend in at least one video interview. He was once asked about his thoughts on work-from-home setups, and he implied approval of it. It’s understandable that he did not push the idea too strongly considering that then Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer implemented a ban against telecommuting for Yahoo employees. Yahoo was a partner to Microsoft before.
WARREN BUFFETT: Build relationships and treat people well.
This line sounds cliché, but it’s worth citing, considering that it comes from a celebrated investment mogul, business magnate, and philanthropist. You don’t often hear extremely wealthy people giving emphasis on personal relationships, let alone the virtue of treating people well.
In a speech to University of Iowa students, Buffett surprised the audience when he talked more about his personal life instead of business. He shared his “human take on business” to MBA students who were mostly pleasantly surprised by how lighthearted the billionaire was.
Being in business does not mean shunning personal relationships. It does not mean treating people as tools or instruments in achieving business goals. It’s not about disregarding everything for the sake of attaining sales or profit targets. Likewise, it does not mean being cold-heartedly strict in setting objectives and implementing rules.
Arguably, the most notable line Buffett left to his audience was this: “You can’t replace the relationships you build and the way you treat people with business knowledge.” This may sound impractical in the business setting, but it’s not. Many notable business figures can attest to how they found their way to success by forging many business and personal ties, and by treating people well.
JEFF BEZOS: Don’t be trapped in a bubble.
The 2018 “richest man in the world,” Jeff Bezos, has brilliant advice for business owners, especially CEOs and those who are in top-level management. It’s not uncommon when CEOs or business owners become isolated, unaware of the things happening in their own companies. This usually happens because their subordinates are afraid to tell them the information they believe their bosses don’t want to hear, or because they only relay to their bosses what they think their bosses want to hear.
No competent CEO or business owner would want to be intentionally or unintentionally trapped in an isolating bubble. To avoid this kind of predicament, the founder of Amazon says that “when you’re in a box in an office, you’ve got to invent a way out of that box.”
There are many ways to “get out of that box.” For one, an employee feedback system that directly reaches top-level managers can be put in place. Ideally, it should allow everyone to send no holds barred comments, criticisms, reports, suggestions, or insights. If it helps, employees may use the system anonymously. The goal is to allow an unfiltered flow of information, so managers and business owners are assured that they know everything there is to know.
Everyone should be encouraged to speak their minds out. The culture of having “yes men” in an organization should be eliminated. Being flattered by lackeys or sycophants does not contribute anything productive to any business. It can even lead to serious problems.
STEVE JOBS: Hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.
Steve Jobs may have already departed, but his influence and legacy continue to endure in the world of business. One of his famous quotes perfectly reflects his management style, and it makes total sense: “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”
What’s the use of hiring intelligent individuals if they will only end up following everything the management says? Intelligence, in this case, however, does not refer to academic achievement, the mastery of theories, or attractive credentials. It’s more of being able to offer new ideas and perspectives, initiative, problem-solving skills, and brilliance in identifying and taking advantage of opportunities.
This is the reason why Apple’s recruitment process is characterized as intense. In the early days of the company with Jobs at the helm, there were instances when candidates had interviews from early in the morning until nighttime. These candidates had to meet several people in Apple so they could be thoroughly evaluated for their skills, potential, and passion for working according to the company’s unique culture. According to Jobs, they were looking to recruit people who didn’t have to be managed.
Jobs once described professional managers as “bozos,” not because they didn’t know how to manage but because they were not great leaders. Take note, however, that this does not contradict the idea of hiring intelligent people (who can tell the company what to do). This is consistent with his belief that it’s possible to find smart people who can contribute to the success of a company. It’s just a matter of doing the right approaches in finding and hiring them.
JACK MA: Be optimistic, build good relationships, and just keep going.
China’s richest man, Jack Ma, has some interesting tips useful to entrepreneurs and business managers.
In a speech at the finale of the Jumpstarter 2017 startup competition, the owner of Alibaba pointed out how the right attitude and people spell success. He emphasized the need to be always optimistic. For Ma, a great entrepreneur should have optimism for the future. An excellent business mindset is one that sees the possible instead of harping on the difficulties and unlikelihood of success. The founder of the operator of world’s largest B2B and B2C marketplaces encourages business owners by asking themselves what problems they can solve and how they can solve these problems better than everyone else dealing with the same issues.
Ma also points out the importance of working with the right people. While he believes that prudence in hiring people is a must, he also thinks that it’s not necessary to find the best people in the world. Interestingly, he says that “the best people are always working with you in your team.” As such, you need to exert the effort and time to train them and work with them. In other words, make do with the resources available. They are not there for nothing. There should be a reason why they have been with you for a long time, instead of getting fired for incompetence or some other reason.
In another speech, at Alibaba’s Gateway ‘17 conference in Detroit, Ma imparted other excellent business success tips. In relation to the tip on working with the right people, he says that businesses should be hiring young and smart people. It pays to give opportunities to young workers who don’t have working experiences yet. At the same time, Ma thinks it’s advantageous to hire people who are smarter than him as he believes it’s the best for his company.
Lastly, Ma urges entrepreneurs to just keep going. There are sacrifices to be made along the way, and it’s not going to be a difficult journey, but he believes that perseverance will eventually lead to success. He knows perseverance works based on his experience in building and growing Alibaba into the global company it has become at present.
MARK ZUCKERBERG: Stay focused.
Focusing on his mission is said to be one of the top management strategies Zuckerberg used to build Facebook. He once advised aspiring entrepreneurs to translate their values into a business and focus on the change they want to see. With this kind of mindset, Zuckerberg turned Facebook into something more than just a place for meeting people and sharing personal updates.
Facebook now has an instant messenger service (Facebook Messenger), a Safety Check feature (allowing users to tag themselves as “safe” if they are safe during disasters), new ways to react to posts other than with the Like button, an e-commerce platform (Facebook Marketplace), as well as its own language translator, among many other new features. The language translator is still not as good as human translation services, but it is enough to handle the simple translation of words, phrases, or some sentences. It’s also worth noting that Facebook remains to be the undisputed number one social media network in the world, and has even acquired Instagram, WhatsApp, and Oculus VR Inc.
It’s not difficult to see how the pointers, insights, and advice above make sense. They are based on real-life experiences of some of the most successful business personalities in the world. They may not be technical tips or insights, but they are ideas most managers and business owners neglect as they focus more on the money-making aspects of running a business.
Translating advice to success
Successful entrepreneurs from different parts of the world may have different business management styles, but, they are similar in setting and focusing on their vision, herding people towards success, finding ways to address deficiencies and challenges, and persevering. The language barrier, for example, is not a problem for them as they know there are ways to get around it. They can hire an expert language service provider like Day Translations, Inc.
Day Translation is an example of a business venture born out of a vision, passion, and determination. It was started by someone who loves languages and the idea of connecting people around the world. It had its fair share of challenges but through tenacity and resourcefulness, it now operates a massive network of human translators in various countries providing translation, interpretation, localization, and other language services in over 100 language pairs to clients across industries worldwide. To learn more about the company’s services, contact Day Translations by phone at 1-800-969-6853 or through email at Contact us.
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