Ever wonder what today’s most influential and successful business leaders consider the most important insights gained during their rise to the top? Today’s up and coming executives could learn a lot to help them shape their careers. Fortunately, top leaders have answered this very question, and here are five key insights from the movers and shakers in the business world.
Obsess About Your Customers – Jeff Bezos
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Amazon founder Jeff Bezos started the global behemoth with the core mission being “Earth’s Most Customer-Centric Company,” a philosophy in which every aspect of the company is grounded. According to Bezos, true customer centricity means listening to — and inventing for — the customer. “If you’re truly obsessed about your customers,” Bezos says, “it will cover a lot of your other mistakes.”
Listening to customers means doing more than hearing their words, it means intuiting and anticipating their needs and wants. Bezos says the Kindle and the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud were invented because of his obsession to give his customers what they want.
Leadership Diversity Is Extremely Important – Tim Cook
a href=”http://www.inc.com/eric-markowitz/tim-cooks-message-for-ceos-admit-when-youre-wrong.html” target=”_blank”>Apple’s CEO Tim Cook insists diversity isn’t an HR buzzword; it’s an operational philosophy throughout the organization. He believes that bringing together people with a wide variety of backgrounds enhances the creative process and leads to more innovation. “We want diversity of thought,” Cook says. “We want diversity of style. We want people to be themselves.”
Cook also reminds leaders, “you can only do a few things great,” and recommends being the absolute best at the things you’re good at. After all, Apple itself only focuses on four main products, the iPhone, iPad, iPod, and Mac.
Hire Entrepreneurs and Innovators – Jack Ma
Jack Ma, the charismatic CEO of Alibaba believes employees with entrepreneurial attitudes and innovative spirits make better employees than well-heeled business people with flawless resumes. He says these people are adaptable, meet challenges head-on, tend to be natural leaders, and share a deep commitment to Alibaba’s common goals. For a man whose corporate goal is “win eBay, buy Yahoo, and stop Google,” enterprising self-starters are probably a necessity.
Ask the Right Questions – Elon Musk
Tesla and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk found his most important business insight in an unlikely place: The book “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.” The book, he said, quite positive I think,” and “it highlighted an important point, which is that a lot of times the question is harder than the answer.” He went on to say “If you can properly phrase the question, then the answer is the easy part,” a truism emerging business leaders should also internalize.
Be Optimistic – Larry Page
Google CEO Larry Page’s keynote address to the 2013 Google I/O conference was memorable for its focus on optimism. “Being negative is not how we make progress,” he said, adding, “We need to have more ambitious goals.” He says his company exists to make the world a better place with technology, concluding “And that’s an exciting place to be.”
So, up-and-coming business leaders, pocket these nuggets of leadership wisdom and use them to chart a path to success.
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