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The Worst Piece of Advice

We recently asked some of the most experienced business professionals in Chicago:  Is there a piece of information that has turned out to be profoundly incorrect?

As we crafted this question I was torn between two different perspectives on advice. On one hand, it can be argued that every piece of advice contains a nugget of truth.   Alternately, advice can not only be taken out of context, it can be provided out of context.   With no expectation of what the results would yield, we charged ahead with our question.

The answers we received were well thought out and insightful. I would expect nothing less of these professionals as they have been very helpful and supportive of ClassAct. If you are a young professional or you have children or employees beginning their career, the ClassAct program is a fantastic way to tap into the knowledge of successful leaders, executives and mentors.

There were some interesting observations with regard to the comments from our executives. Not all had received bad advice, but for those that had, the opinions were the most animated of any responses in our larger survey.

The recurring theme in all responses was that each piece of bad advice had a common misconception embedded within it. Whether it was how you would expect a company to act, hard work to be rewarded or a title to confer authority, each of our executives’ experience was predicated on a systemic expectation that proved to be false.

What was fascinating is the thematic similarity in the lesson everyone took away from their experience. Everyone shared the notion that each individual needs take ownership of their own destiny and forget about any perceived “rules” of how things are supposed to work.

We had some great quotes of incredibly worthy advice in the articulate responses from our executives. Here are a few I enjoyed the most.

"The key takeaway is that every individual should build their own brand, irrespective of the organization they are working for. Your own work ethic, character, integrity will sell you far better than any company you worked for. Companies come and go. It is the tough individuals with solid character and sense of purpose that thrive."

"If you’re doing something not in the most productive way you will get outperformed by others still who may not work as hard. You have to be able to see all criteria of what will make you a successful at an organization. It could be building relationships after hours vs. staying late to produce something."

The commonality with all of these executives is that they learned these lessons early in their careers. Together with our readers we strive to positively affect today's professional environment by sharing our wisdom with the next generation of leaders so they too can learn important lessons early in their careers.

You can help us do this. Consider sharing this post with your network if you found the material informative. If you, your children, your employees or anyone you know are interested in becoming a ClassAct, signup for the course with the button below.

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