I became an entrepreneur at the ripe old age of 43. Before that, I was ‘corporate’, working in the chemicals industry no less. I received my management training and experience while working at BASF in the Toronto area during the 1990s.
I relished in the chance to attend an advanced leadership training program at head office in New Jersey with other managers from around the world. It was pretty intense – theory, case studies, and business simulations. Fifteen years later, here is what I remember most from that program:
“Be outstanding without standing out.”
More than anything else up to that point, that one brief line summarized for me how to be a successful (and promoted) manager at an international conglomerate, like BASF. At the time, it felt like I’d been handed the secret sauce.
I've had to unlearn that mantra since becoming a small business owner. My challenge was always the second part – I wanted to be outstanding, and also be conspicuous!
Now my goal is more like: “Be outstanding and stand out from the crowd.”