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Knowing What You Want

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Bill McDermott, current CEO of SAP, started working in a deli at age 16 and ended up buying the deli about a year later. Two characteristics that distinguished McDermott were his enjoyment of his work and his strong work ethic.
Here are the lessons to be learned from McDermott’s story:
Lesson 1: Know what you want and want it more than other people.

Going on to attend night school while running the deli that funded his college education, Bill learned to work with other people rather than be a taker.

Lesson 2: Demonstrate an unwavering passion to succeed, and people will make bold bets on you. Passion, energy and motivation are infectious and inspire other people.

When interviewing with IBM for his first job in the technology sector, McDermott was told by the interviewer that he would hear a decision in two weeks. Bill was determined and he had told his dad he’d come home with a job later that day, having never broken a promise with his dad. The interviewer was so impressed with Bill’s self-confidence that he actually offered him the job. Bill’s polish as a business leader enabled him to move up the corporate ladder ever since.

You don’t learn in business school what you learn during your career by putting your hands in the soil. When you have experiences and talk to other people in a business setting, success becomes part of who you are. Successful people also love what they do.

The mission of business is to help other people. A purpose-driven life leads to happiness. A purpose-drive business leads to the joy of succeeding.

Bill became a district sales manager at IBM, responsible for operations in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, which was their worst region in terms of performance at the time. He took over and brought a positive attitude to his team. He managed with three objectives: for his team to be motivated, to feel a sense of direction, and to have fun. He ended up doing well and moving on to bigger things during his career.

Before you can achieve success during your career, you first need to understand what your personal philosophy is and what you are about as an individual. Those who are purpose-driven and who learn to do business from experiences will be best equipped to handle the daily challenges they face.

Published: August 20, 2013
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