Rajesh Setty shared some wisdom with me last year. One thing out of many that I remember was this idea: the most valuable compliment you can hear from another person.

I had the privilege of reading a draft of Rajesh’s newest book over the last month and I have written a recommendation that hopefully will appear when the book comes out later this year. Here’s some of his books and manifestos available as pdfs https://rajeshsetty.com/resources/books/

What is the best compliment you can hear?

How to Become worthy of this Compliment?

  1. Be interested in them – help them get clarity on who they are and what they want, their strengths and passions
  2. Connect people – put people in contact with others that share common passions, experiences
  3. Let them help you – let them see that I have changed myself because of their impact on me

“The most valuable compliment is: I wish I had met you 10 years earlier”

Rajesh Setty

If you enjoyed reading this post, you will also like Listening with your Eyes and What is the best advice you have ever received?.

Last month, I asked my email subscribers a question:  What do you know now that you wish you knew then? (and wish you did).  Imagine you are having a coffee with a younger version of yourself. What would you say?  (If you still feel that you are the younger self… what would you ask the future you?)

I will be publishing a couple of the answers as I have really benefitted from the wonderful answers over the last 6 weeks.  Check out Lesley’s answer.

I am interested in these answers because I am in the process of preparing a speech to 1,600 undergraduates who are on the point of transition between the world of university and the world of work and building a career.

Fiamma’s Answer: What A Marketing Entrepreneur Would Say

Regarding your question about what do I know now that wish I knew then , there are 3 important things that I have learnt:

1. Listen to what people don’t say

Emotions play a substantial role in communications making most part of relevant messages non-verbal.  Moreover, we’re losing information in all our technological communications – for this an extra effort to listen to what people don’t say is needed in order to never miss the whole context.

2. Appreciate Failure.

Failure in a big company is a shared a responsibility and a learning experience for everyone. Failure offers huge thriving opportunities when you and those around you decide that a part of success is working through failed processes and learning from it.  The US military systematically makes this part of their culture.  After every project or exercise, they conduct “after action reviews” that are very harsh and ignore hierarchy in seeking what happened, what broke and how to fix it.  All project members from most junior to most senior are involved fully in the review.

And Most Important:

3. You Own Your Reputation

The most difficult thing to manage in a company are people, at all levels. Jealousy happens all the time, to unexpected people.

This is, even great leaders have shadows in their brightness. Making work mates or close managers green with envy can be quite common, suffering inappropriate comments, childish reactions or even disrespectful situations. Of course, time puts things in their place if you maintain firm, respectful and coherent… How can it be that the one that treated you the worst at work is now the one that recommends you on Linkedin and sends you birthday wishes 6 years after you left that job?

However, weird reactions from bosses are something extraordinary you can’t imagine and would never expect… In this case being firm and coherent to protect yourself is very tough; integrity, energy and emotional intelligence play a relevant role. For this, never lose control of your reputation, don’t let anyone’s opinion (even the CEO!)  define how you are and play with your values or your reputation.

About Fiamma Panerai

fiammaFiamma Panerai is a Marketing Strategist specialised in digital media and luxury brands. She has dedicated her last 10 years to focus on luxury brand marketing in digital media.  She has launched 3 businesses (1 as founder, 2 as part of executive team).

Fiamma loves transforming insights into strategic ideas and make them happen with passion and disciplined execution.  As a person: “what you see is what you get”!  Fiamma enjoy’s life in Madrid and makes sure fun is a part of every day.

You should follow Fiamma on twitter @FiPanerai or learn more about her on LinkedIn.

Last month, I asked my email subscribers a question:  What do you know now that you wish you knew then? (and wish you did).  Imagine you are having a coffee with a younger version of yourself. What would you say?  (If you still feel that you are the younger self… what would you ask the future you?)

I will be publishing a couple of the answers as I have really benefitted from the wonderful answers over the last 6 weeks.

I am interested in these answers because I am in the process of preparing a speech to 1,600 undergraduates who are on the point of transition between the world of university and the world of work and building a career.

Lesley’s Answer: What An Independent Consultant Would Say

Your question stimulated a rather interesting ponder over a glass of wine listening to the waves in Cartagena! This is what I’d tell my younger self, but it definitely wouldn’t apply to everyone…

  1. People (clients, bosses etc) are more influenced by what you say about yourself than you might think so learn the art of self-promotion as quickly as possible and don’t rely on the quality of your work to speak for you.
  2. View feedback as potentially interesting information about yourself and the person giving it (not personal criticism).
  3. Individual differences between people are even greater than you think so learn some tools to help you make sense of those differences as quickly as possible (especially MBTI) so you can handle people as they need/want to be handled.
  4. Perfection is unnecessary and unattainable.
  5. It’s not cheating to play to your strengths and delegate/pass on the other stuff to people who are better at it. There are actually people who enjoy the routine stuff and they’re worth their weight in gold!. Be in ‘the flow’ as much as possible (ref Csikszentmihalyi).
  6. But the devil IS often in the detail, so you’re right not to try to wing it!
  7. Trust your intuition even if it’s hard to put into words how you know and you can’t back it up with hard evidence.

Years ago I went to see John Harvey-Jones speak and someone asked him the same question. I loved his surprising reply: “The shits always get theirs”. I’ve seen quite a few bullies rise up through corporate structures and unscrupulous individuals riding rough shod over people but sooner or later they have generally been derailed. So I’m delighted to say that I agree with him.

Sadly, I’m not sure any of the foregoing will help get any young Catalans/Spaniards into work. What I’d say to them is “Learn good English, think more about delighting customers and before trying to get funding for a big idea, get hands-on experience in a small business that makes and/or sells things to learn about business basics like cash flow, margins and understanding the customer.” Working in my Mum’s greasy spoon as a teenager was a great preparation for running my own consultancy!

About Lesley Cannell, C. Psychol. AFBPsS 

lesleycannellLesley is a business psychologist who established her consultancy business, the Change Team, in the UK in 1993, with the mission of using psychology to enable people to change their behaviour and organisations to change their culture. Her clients are mainly multinational FMCG companies.  Lesley has lived in Barcelona since 2007. Like the birds she flies south to escape the cold… spending the winter months in Cartagena, Colombia.