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Archive for the ‘Best Advice I Ever Got’ Category

“I was on a panel about business and philanthropy at a conference in 2001. Alan Hassenfeld, who at that time was CEO [now chairman] of Hasbro, took me aside afterwardMarc Benioff and told me I had a lot of good ideas, but I had to give them more structure. He said I should also incorporate the ideas of volunteerism [into]. To meet somebody who had already fully integrated something like this into his company was critical. Hasbro has

“Incorporate philanthropy into your corporate structure.” - Founder and CEO of - Marc Benioff, 40

one of the richest philanthropic programs of any U.S. commercial organization. One of the many things they do is make toy donations to children’s hospitals. It wasn’t something Hasbro did by writing a check; it was part of their culture.

“We ended up putting 1% of our equity into the nonprofit Foundation, as well as 1% of our profits, which of course at the time were zero. But following Alan’s advice, we also put in 1% of our employees’ time. That’s six days a year of company-paid time for volunteerism. Employees want to work for us because of these programs -they want to reach out and do volunteerism anyway, and we give them a structure. Also, we let nonprofits use our service for free. Alan’s advice ended up being really important, because this is what sets apart from being just another company.”

“My mentor is my father, Ralph, who turns 85 this month. When I wanted to start my Comcast career at corporate headquarters, my father wisely insisted that I learn the business from the field, even though that isn’t the way he started. brian roberts ceo comcastOne of my first summer jobs in college was as a cable installer in New Kensington, Pa., near

“Let others take the credit.” Brian Roberts, 45, CEO of Comcast

Pittsburgh. I struggled to climb the telephone poles, strung cable, and went into people’s homes to wire them. I really learned the ropes from people at the system level. That experience drove home how important our technicians and customer service representatives are, and how dangerous some of those jobs are at times. That empathy and understanding was something Ralph knew couldn’t be taught in corporate headquarters.

“Ralph is a great listener. He doesn’t feel the need to direct the conversation. Usually, when you come in, there’s the problem and then there’s the real problem; there’s the agenda, and there’s the hidden agenda. Just by listening and asking questions, he lets you get to the heart of the issue that you are chewing on. He’s not looking to take credit for anybody’s work. In fact, the single best piece of advice Ralph ever gave me was to let others take the credit. ‘You’re in a lucky position, and you know it,’ he told me. ‘You don’t need all the glory. If you let others take the credit, it makes them feel like they’re part of something special.’ He’s right. That’s just the way Ralph is with me, and that’s the way I try to be with others.”

mickey drexler

“It was 1980. I had been working at a department store [Bloomingdale’s] for 12 years, and I knew I had to get out. There wasn’t really a future there for me. I was offered the job of president at Ann Taylor [the women’s-wear chain, a division of a now defunct corporation called Garfinckel Brooks Brothers Miller & Rhoads]. I

“Bail out of a business that isn’t growing.” - CEO of J. Crew - Mickey Drexler, 60

thought about it-and when you are changing jobs, you think of all the reasons you should not do it. Then you get a little nervous. I said no.

“That night I was having dinner with someone who was older and wiser, Arthur Levitt [then chairman of the American Stock Exchange], and I told him about the offer. He said, ‘I would grab that position at Ann Taylor. Department stores are a nongrowth business.’

David Neeleson

“I’m a God-fearing guy. And the best advice I ever got came from the head of our [Mormon] church, Gordon B. Hinkley. It was when we were going public in 2001, and I was caught up in the money, power, and glory. He cut me right down to size. In a conference where he was speaking, he reminded me, ‘It’s all about your family, your relationships. You’ve got to balance that with your work.’

“Balance your work with your family.” CEO of JetBlue - David Neeleman, 44

“So I set rules to be with my family and to keep everyone from encroaching on my time. I keep weekends as free as humanly possible. I try to make it home in time for nightly Scripture study and prayer as a family, and I try to make sure to take some good vacations when my kids are out of school. Those rules have had a positive effect on the business. I’ve seen so many people who have neglected their families. Now their kids are giving them trouble, so they’re distracted. If you have a closer family, you can be a lot more focused when you’re at work.”