Why not get advice from the best? I’ve been fortunate to have several conversations with a successful investment banker / turnaround expert who is 92 years old. He had a 100% success ratio – why bother asking anyone else? Of course, since I had the opportunity to ask about his secrets to success, I took my opportunity to find out how he achieved such a fantastic track record. Interestingly, his advice was largely common sense but obviously overlooked by all the companies he worked with and/or recommended for purchase/ turnaround. I’ll discuss a few of his tips in future blog posts; however, recently he mailed me an obviously old, beat up laminated card with a few business tips. He was inspired by reading my newsletter and thought I might be interested. In the cover letter, he said that he used these consistently in his past and believes they are most likely as true today as then. When someone with his success rate not only carries the laminated card around while working deals but also saves it for YEARS and YEARS and then sends it to you, it is a treasure.

On one side of the card is the following advice on “How to Handle a Problem”. The high level is as follows: Determine objective. 1) Get the facts 2) Weigh and Decide 3) Take action 4) Check results. On the other side of the card, it is labeled “Job Relations”. A supervisor gets results through people (As an aside, I was thrilled to see the connection to my newsletter). And, it continues with the “Foundations for Good Relations”: 1) Let each worker know how he is getting along 2) Give credit when due. 3) Tell people in advance about changes that will affect them. 4) Make best use of each person’s ability. Then, underlined and capitalized at the bottom is the statement, “PEOPLE MUST BE TREATED AS INDIVIDUALS”. Sounds exactly like my HR mentor Debra!

Isn’t that absolutely timeless advice? Why do we hang onto fads and the latest and greatest technology and forget the timeless, proven, simple advice?