To compile a thorough list of the biggest lessons learned in the corporate world, one need not look any further than the industry insiders and innovators of their respective fields, and also some of the progenitors of the best business ideas that failed to make a mark in the business arena. After all, failure is the best teacher.
When an outsider thinks about corporate life, he/she would probably conjure images in their minds of business meetings, secret deals, big apartments with an amazing view, big bank balance, and many other fantastical elements. But that’s what those images are – fantasies.
Don’t get me wrong, those things do happen, but these are just the tip of the iceberg when analyzing the depth of the reality of the corporate world. Life in a corporate enterprise is not like a bed of roses after all, and to be honest, that’s where the real fun begins.
So after analyzing the responses to this very question from many credible personalities who are well versed in the rules of corporate life, we bring you a list of what are the important biggest lessons learned from the corporate world.
Hard work pays off
This should come as no surprise, but many business elites made a point to emphasize that hard work is non-negotiable. They further noted that the reason they remained one step ahead of their fellow colleagues is that unlike them, the colleagues preferred to slack off and take it slow.
That will obviously not do. You need to get into the nitty-gritty details of things. Hard work means tons of grinding, going the extra mile, facing numerous challenges. When you put in 10 times the effort into a job, chances are you will be rewarded more than proportionately.
Smart work pays better
Learn to automate and simplify the kind of tasks that induce drudgery and don’t engage your mind. But smart work doesn’t mean that to create simple copy-and-paste shortcuts.
Make connections where possible, not just in your department or company. You never know when you might need help. A habit of making genuine connections everywhere will act as your safety net to help you out.
Be proactive. Look for things others aren’t going to do, or don’t want to do.
Achieve a sense of clarity on what you want to pursue exactly
Be clear on what you want to pursue such as your profession and the type of company that can help you achieve it best. Clarifying to yourself what you want and what efforts you need to take to get it are crucial to help you along the process.
You may seek the advice of those who matter and those who are even more experienced than you and managed to get their way to the top. Let the rise not be accidental. And most importantly, avoid falling for the trap of eloquence of a good speaker.
You are never the smartest one in the room
Life is an ever-growing, ever-changing, and experience-rich process. This means that we are going to keep on learning forever.
When you work in the corporate world, you are bound to meet different walks of life, and like it or not, there may always be people who know more things than you do.
So you can be the best in class, a top influencer in your market, or the best sales rep. However, you will never be the smartest one working at that place.
This is one of the most valuable lessons learned in the workplace according to many industrialists.
A know-it-all is rarely the smartest one in the room.
But hey, if you are in fact the smartest fellow of the bunch, be sure not to act like one.
No one likes a know-it-all.
Listen to everyone, but follow your mind
Taking advice and listening to everyone is a must for surviving in corporate life, no matter how absurd the advice is. Listening is important because it always comes with the possibility that you may catch something valuable or gain a new perspective about something of import.
Have a high standard of integrity
It doesn’t matter what industry or what sector you work in, if you want to succeed, you need to have honor and self-respect.
Have a high standard of integrity or a personal ethical code of conduct. Be clear on what things you can do, and what you can’t do.
If not, you risk falling into traps, which you often set for yourself.
Make sure you live up to your words. Having a good moral fiber ensures that no doubt can be cast on you or your actions.
Don’t expect people to care about you
Everybody cares, just that it’s not about you. Often, nobody truly cares about you.
Care is a big word that gets thrown around in the office environment. But no one actually applies it.
Many psychologists have figured out that the number of psychopathic personalities in the corporate environment usually goes up as you go up the command chain.
Don’t fear failure and rejection
No one is perfect, not even you.
Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Try new things all the time. Making mistakes will inherently make you stronger. Mistakes likely present a new corporate opportunity to learn and grow.
Use the contemplation method:
- Identify your mistake.
- Articulate and write it down in simple words.
- Think of all the various other alternative decisions or actions you could have taken to get better results
- If possible, get a second opinion. Bill Belichick, the general manager of the New England Patriots, stated- what I learned from my company is that ‘Listening’ is probably the most important skill for a businessman to be good at.
Never give up
Persistence is probably the most important attribute to be successful in any walk of life. An undying, unrelenting, aggressive work ethic.
When no one is watching, when it’s not fun anymore, when everyone in their right minds is asleep, you should be hung up in your corner somewhere, burning the midnight oil and working your but off.
Work harder than everyone, work smarter than everyone and every single day stay later than everyone. And eventually, you’ll end up becoming that which others can only dream of.
These are the biggest lessons learned from the corporate world. Make the best of them.