I believe we all have a responsibility in life to provide a positive impact on those around us. We are really a sum our life experiences (and genealogy, of course), and the people who have had a lasting impact on our lives. This article is not about me, rather to pay homage to some remarkable people who have had a positive impact in my life, personally and professionally.
In my life, I have been very fortunate to have met and been impacted in very positive ways, by some incredibly inspirational people along the way. In some cases, please note than some lessons may have also been gained through reading and not face to face encounters with individuals. I believe these life lessons are meant to be shared and “paid forward”, so here we go, good, bad or otherwise, the following are some of the most impactful lessons I have learned in my life thus far, hopefully you will find some gems in here:
Lesson 1: “Never give up!”
My Dad passed away when I was only 2 years old, so my mother raised my 4 siblings and me, as a single parent. She was the sweetest and most amazing woman I have ever met but also incredibly tenacious. If she put her mind to something she would knock down buildings to achieve her goal, especially when related to protecting her family and children.
This lesson is certainly applicable professionally. Life and business will always throw you curve balls and try to trip you up, but if you never give up and push through there will always be great lessons to learn along the way and pride in the fact that you gave it your best effort.
Lesson 2: “Kids spell love T-I-M-E!”
This is certainly true in business; employees and business associates spell love TIME also. The more time you invest in listening and engaging with your colleagues, employees and team, the stronger the bond will become and the more engaged they will become with the company.
Lesson 3: “Nobody is standing around waiting to buy XYZ from you, you must give them a reason WHY”
I love this lesson and use it daily! For me: it is the heart of Sales and Marketing, but so many forget to think about the “why” and just focus on the “what”: product or brand benefits vs features.
I look at every brand, product, business opportunity from the customer’s perfective and ask “why would I want to buy this product or service or do business with this company?”
Lesson 4: “The details make the difference”
I learned so many valuable lessons from my late friend, former boss and founder of RTI: John Demskie, it is really hard to just pick a single lesson to highlight in this article, but important for me to include him as a significant mentor in my professional life.
John was a very skilled writer and dramatically improved my writing, through the talented editing he provided over the years (any errors in this article are my error and not a reflection on his mentoring). He was also the classic small business/inventor success story, starting with a simple dream and zero money, to a world class control company. John was very meticulous and really strove for excellence in everything he did. He was a details master and pushed others to deliver the best in their roles (in a very good way). I believe it is sometimes very small efforts that divide good from great in many results delivered.
Still to this day, it is because of my years spent with John that I will always review any project several times, very carefully, before I deliver the final product. Very often, the final changes are ones that make the magic happen. When you think you are done, take another look – then step away and take a few more…
Lesson 5: “Respond, don’t react”
This one is so essential in business … and life. Very often when humans receive bad news or become confronted, the nature impulse is to react, while much better decisions can often be made by taking the time to digest the information and make sure you have gathered ALL the facts…then, carefully respond.
Lesson 6: “Just Do It!”
Although I have never met anyone from Nike, I really love their tagline. It relates very well to a podcast I just listened to, interviewing retired Navy SEAL Jocko WIllink. The interviewer asked Jocko, “what advice would you give to someone who wants to be tougher”. Jocko replied simply: “if you want to be tougher, be tougher”! So simple, but so powerful.
We all have extra gas in the tank to lift more at the gym, run harder, apply ourselves more, etc.. If you want to be better at your job or your business, be better! If you want to start your own business, or move to Austria and become a Goat Farmer – dump the excuses, the moment is almost never right – Just Do It!!!
Lesson 7: “Good Communication is Essential!”
Having founded and been in management positions with several companies, the prickly issues often bubbled up to me – with irate or frustrated customers. In every case I can think of, poor communication was instrumental in creating or exacerbating the problem. In most cases, if good communication was employed, even with a significant issue, the matter would have never escalated. It is always better to deliver bad news, than no news at all.
I would attribute most of the success I have experienced in my career, as an integrator, manufacturer, etc.. to my focus on always having good communication with my customers, team and business associates.
Lesson 8: “Provide an exceptional experience for your customers”
Look at the companies that are really excelling now: Amazon, Apple, Airbnb, etc… All of them focus on delivering an exceptional Customer Service Experience. I love the AirBNB philosophy of creating an 11 Star Customer Experience. You can google this to find out more, but it is a really cool thought process; going beyond a 5 Star (hotel) Experience and what would it look like to the customer. Maybe an 11-start experience is not possible, for your customers, but if you allow yourself to think about what it might entail, it allows you to craft an outstanding 5-6-7 or 8 star experience that is still pretty exceptional. Bottom line, if you don’t take care of your customers, someone else certainly will.
Lesson 9: “Maybe the bad thing, is actually a good thing”
When I look back on some of the “worst” experiences in my life, they are actually some of the most valuable lessons or pivotal moments in my life. This is something that I have heard Tony Robbins speak about. Don’t invest time and energy into resentment, instead find appreciation in lessons learned through life experiences. If you don’t win the big project, maybe you learned from this and will be better prepared to win the next “bigger” project. If a job change happens, maybe it opens up the door for future, better opportunities. There is always a lesson to be learned from even the worst experiences – you will be much better off focusing on the positive than the negative – don’t rent out space in your brain to negative, counter-productive thoughts.
Lesson 10: “Invest in good relationships …”
Don’t’ take your relationships for granted and never, ever allow yourself to believe that you are more important than the person standing next to you in a meeting, elevator or fast food line. That person may be the next VIP who interviews you, a future contact for your next big gig, or the next potential client, etc… I’m certain most of you have heard the story about the scruffy looking guy who walks into an exotic car dealership and no one pays any attention to him … little did they know that he was the mechanic for some movie star or billionaire or maybe the VIP himself … ready to buy everything in the store. Treat all others as you expect to be treated. And remember that people do business with people, not with companies.
For more information or questions, please feel free to email me any time, I would love to hear from you. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
BIG is a full-service sales and marketing representative and consulting firm dedicated to providing unmatched brand development and global expansion support to our customers in the consumer electronics industry. The company’s goal is simple: deliver exceptional value by exceeding our clients’ expectations in every regard.
BIG was founded by Pete Baker, a dynamic global sales and marketing professional with over 25 years of experience successfully maximizing product sales and driving revenue growth in the custom electronics industry.
Mr. Baker has had numerous successful roles in the industry: Founder of a leading Integration Company, Licensed Low Voltage Technician, System Designer, Programmer, Keynote speaker, CEDIA Subject Matter Expert, guest contributor for a dozen different publications worldwide, International Sales Manager for several CE Brands, and VP of sales for a leading Control System Manufacturer.