Shut up and listen. Nothing you’ve read or learned is nearly as important as what the person across from you is about to say — if you just shut up and listen. Besides, when you speak first, you’re giving away information and potentially committing yourself to a position. Always listen, learn and then speak.
Problems create opportunities. The most important opportunities to make a difference are always when things go wrong. How you respond in times of crisis, when somebody — a customer — needs you, is a window into your true capability. And that spells opportunity if you rise to the occasion and deliver results.
Business is all about relationships. These days it’s popular to demonize corporations. That’s ridiculous. Companies are all run by people, and business is all about relationships between them. Organizations and teams are groups of people that interact and operate to accomplish shared goals. There’s no such thing as a self-sustaining business.
Your customer always does come first. Customers aren’t just the people at the end of a business transaction. You have way more customers than you think. Call it business karma, but whatever you have going on, whatever you expect to accomplish on any given day, when someone, anyone comes to you with a problem, that’s a customer. Help her first.
Understand the decision maker’s motives. Whether you’re trying to sell a product, promote an idea or accomplish pretty much anything in the business world, there will always be a decision maker. Once you identify him, understand what motivates him, what’s in it for him. That’s the key to getting anything done.