Love or hate Bill Gates, it’s up to you, but no one can deny the impact he has had on business. Microsoft was setting the standards of working happy before most of Silicon Valley got on board. They have a career development compensation program as well as health care investment programs. They also do little things like free drinks (anything you like), on-site services (dry-cleaning/laundry service and grocery deliveries), professional counseling, office ergonomic consultations, and paid health-club membership.
Bill Gates understood the value in paying well, giving great perks, and investing in his employee’s future. He has probably made more people wealthy than any other CEO alive. He also understands what it takes to motivate his employees so they were engaged and excited about their work. Bill Gates is a leader that we can all learn from. Here are 7 quotes from Bill Gates that will help you understand his ability to work so successfully.
1. Failure Teaches Resiliency
“It's fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.”
The employee deserves recognition for great work, but mistakes should be recognized. and when an employee or co-worker makes a mistake. It may be a small failure, but it must also be acknowledged, not swept under the rug, so it can be turned into a gain. Microsoft has made countless mistakes. They’ve put out software that wasn’t ready or that was fragile against hackers, but they learn from their mistakes and do their best to make the software better.
I own Vista and it’s not a great operating system, but it hasn’t crashed or been attacked by a virus. I’m a huge fan of the Microsoft Office products. They are still the best office based programs available to companies, and they constantly being improved.
Microsoft understands what a person needs and then they try to over deliver. They don’t always hit the mark, but neither will you, so try to use each mistake to improve your company.
2. Understand Your Ego
“Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can't lose.”
If I don’t keep delivering value, all of you will stop reading this blog. I can’t just push out a bunch of recycled material from someone else’s blog and expect my readership to grow.
Take a look at how you might be coasting. Some bands make a whole career out of just one hit. One hit wonders. They think that they can just ride out the wave and not come up with anything else new. If you want to separate from the pack and become the success that your mother had hoped for, then stop believing your own hype and keep those ideas coming.
3. Unhappy Customers Help You Improve
“Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.”
The customers that don’t complain are ones that don’t care enough about the company to come back and buy again. They will just take their money to someone else that listens.
I’ve dealt with this when I ran my own wild mushroom mongering business when I was in college. I didn’t take enough care to throw away the mushrooms that were riddled with tiny worms. I thought that I didn’t have enough time to worry about it. I got up at 6am and picked wild mushrooms until 1pm, just as the lunch rush ended. I took a quick shower and was at the first restaurant by 1:45, then I rushed until 6pm trying to peddle my mushrooms to the various chefs at each restaurant. I thought that the sous chefs could deal with the mushrooms that weren't good enough to serve their customers.
Well…I learned quickly. The chefs stopped dealing with me. I learned this because one chef told me that I was giving him crap. He told me to come back when I had better mushrooms. I made sure that the next batch that I picked was of higher quality, which meant less money since I was paid by the weight. It worked. The head chefs started buying from me again.
Make sure you listen to your customers at every stage of the process. If you ignore what they have to say, they will soon ignore you.
4. Leadership isn't about Control; It's about Trusting Others
"As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others."
I love companies that empower their employees to make the company better. Toyota is the company that has almost perfected this technique. They give rewards to any suggestion that is implemented into the company’s processes. Even if it’s a small suggestion such as a new type of cleaner for the oily floor, they will give the employee a monetary reward.
Toyota understands that every employee must be involved in improving the company, otherwise you’ll have managers making all the decisions. Managers are sometimes so far out of the loop that they can’t make informed decisions that help with day to day operations.
Being empowered makes an employee feel proud. A proud employee feels appreciated. That’s what most employees want more than anything else: to contribute to a company that appreciates them.
5. Treat Everyone with Respect
“Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.”
Be nice to nerds, your secretary, the supervisor in the next building, and the co-worker that just doesn’t know when to shut-up. Whoever you are dealing with, they could one day become your superior. If you were a jerk to them, they won’t do you any favors when you need them the most.
I worked with someone that treated me like crap. When I moved up he suddenly wanted to be my best friend. I knew that he was only out for himself. I was nice, but never bent over backwards to help him. My boss could see this and one day we had a discussion about this employee. I vented my frustrations. He was gone by the end of the month.
I’m not proud of this and didn't expect him to be fired, but if you don’t give more than you get you won’t be successful at your job.
6. Action Creates Results
“We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next ten. Don't let yourself be lulled into inaction.”
Listen to everyone because they just might have a great idea that might bring in a lot of revenue. Howard Shultz, the CEO of Starbucks, didn’t like the idea of the Frappuccino. He was a coffee purist. He finally relented when he saw how his partner (Starbucks likes to call their employees partners) was so adamant in wanting to serve a drink to her customers that was cold, creamy and sweet. After telling her to stop trying to make her anti-pure coffee drink, she ignored him and made it anyway. He finally listened and took action, letting her come up with a concoction that her customers would like. Through this process they saw the potential. They eventually perfected the idea and it was an instant hit.
Starbucks now bottles Frappuccino and sells it in grocery stores and convenience stores throughout the world. They are pushing the Starbucks brand to new people every day.
What if Howard stuck to his guns and stayed the course with what he thought was best? If he didn’t listen to his coffee partner that wanted to give her customers what they really wanted, they might not be the strongest coffee powerhouse in the world.
7. Step Back and Look at the Bigger Picture
“Until we're educating every kid in a fantastic way, until every inner city is cleaned up, there is no shortage of things to do.”
Work is great, especially when we have a good year and the boss loves our production, but work in itself shouldn’t be our whole lives. Bill Gates understands that he may be the richest man in the world, but if he doesn’t help others lift themselves out of tough circumstances, he hasn’t lived to his full potential.
We need to give back to the people that are less fortunate than us. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the largest donators to underprivileged people in the world.
Because there is no shortage of people who need help, Bill was able to help Microsoft become stronger and he will continue to work happy because he is isn't afraid to set new goals.
Bill Gates is a controversial figure, but he is making history. No one can deny his influence on business and charity. He is working to his full potential. Bill is not perfect, but he does care about the choices he makes. When I think of Bill Gates I think of many descriptions, but lazy is not one of them.
When you use the resources that you have to take action, you are creating a work happy mindset. Whether you are a marketing assistant or the CEO of a fortune 500 company, make sure you are engaged in every decision you make. The work happiness will come when you allow yourself to be involved.
Image courtesy of Esparta
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