Telling the truth about SME life today

Eight business leaders unveil best advice given to them by their father

5) Bill Gates, co-founder?of Microsoft

As I’ve said before, my fatheris the man I aspire to be. I especially admire his sense of integrity. He is one of the wisest and most calm people I know. And he taught me a lot about how to think. Heis a retired attorney, and I think I inherited his lawyer’s approach to analysing problems.

“I spent a lot of Sunday dinners listening to him?talk about work with my mom, who was very involved in the United Way in Seattle and at the national and international levels. They might discuss a case he was working on or an issue that she was dealing with. Eventually I started joining in the conversations, and they were very influential years later when I got involved in philanthropy.

6) Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo

“Whatever anybody says or does, assume positive intent that’s the best advice he gave me. You will be amazed at how your whole approach to a person or problem becomes very different. When you assume negative intent, you’re angry.

“When you assume positive intent, I think often what happens is the other person says, ‘Hey, wait a minute, maybe I’m wrong in reacting the way I do because this person is really making an effort.'”

7) Ken Chenault, CEO of American Express

“If you’re going to focus on anything, focus on what you can control, my father used to say. And the only thing you can control is your performance.

“What it says to a person is you can really make a difference. You can really make a difference off your performance.”


8) Naomi Simson, founder of RedBalloon?

“My dad taught me the definition of motivation?that simple. He worked hard, laughed loud, and pursues his passions single-mindedly. He taught me to dream big to play full out and that I could do anything if I put my heart to it.

“My dad always believed in me even when I did not believe in myself. I have never thought that people took me seriously. It is as if my need to ?prove myself has fuelled my relentless pursuit to create a best work place, for growth and for being ‘world-famous’ for what we do. To show all those people that said to me ‘you can’t’ that in fact I can.


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