10 Common Sense Lessons from the Corporate world

I’ve recently started recognizing people (outside work environment) who work in multinationals. They have a certain way of behaving and, of course, personal idiosyncrasies (or as we say it in Romanian, “pitici”, or “stoluri”).

On the other hand, there are some valuable lessons I’ve learned, some not yet mastered, while working almost 6 years for corporations. These lessons,  even if  not rocket science, help in day to day life at work, and they can help even in personal life. Raise your hand, those who used delegation at home! (*raises hand*)

So, without further ado, here goes:

1. Ownership. If you come with an idea, don’t shove it on another person’s plate. Own it fully, and even if you delegate it at some point, be aware that you are still responsible if the other person fails.

2. Follow-up is not embarassing. People are busy. Sometimes they will even be thankful if you call or send a “kind reminder” message.
Following-up the third time, however, is annoying to both sides. That’s when escalation (calling the person’s boss) could be the right thing to do.

3. Say what you want. Don’t assume that giving hints will make the other person know what you want them to do. Say it, and say it clearly. Write it down if needed.

4. Say by when. If you get (or give) an assignment, a project or task, estimate a delivery date. Don’t assume you know. Check.

5.  If you can’t do it, say why not, and say it openly. You might be surprised of the help you will get.

6. Facts are hard to beat. A proper, fact-based argument goes a longer way than a sparkling vision. If you have an opinion, or an idea, be prepared to go into the practicalities.

7. Pre-alignment goes even a longer way. Don’t assume that since your idea or project is so brilliant, everyone will agree with it. Check their opinions first, and incorporate their views.

8. If you call for a meeting, send out an agenda first, and tell the people you invite what you want from them. You’ll find that, not only will they be much more engaged in the discussion, but you might be better at conveying the message, since you’ve made it clear in your mind.

9. Don’t be rude - you don’t know when you will need the other person’s help. That’s the “be friends with the GM’s Secretary” principle taken one notch higher.

10. It’s not compulsory to know some personal details of people you work with. But it sure helps. Dale Carnegie used it very well, and apparently his book on “How to win friends and influence people” still is on the best selling personal development books list. Being a half-introvert, I’m so not good at this one.

As said, I’m not writing the above from a master’s, but from a learner’s perspective.  Working in a corporation might at times be hard, exhausting, or annoying, but it sure teaches you business manners. That’s one of the things I really like.

Good luck!

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