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Learn from your seminal moments

What challenges in your life and career have shaped you as a person?

We’ve all had those breakthrough moments in our career when we have had to fight and win in extraordinarily difficult circumstances. In those moments we probably learned things that we have carried forward into our careers and used as a template in many other similar circumstances.

Think about the key moments in your career where you experienced either the biggest challenge or the greatest learning. When were those moments? What did you do? What did you learn and what do you keep repeating now? Why?

What were the things that you have achieved that you are most proud of? Why? Who else shared in your pride and what did they say? When have you felt truly fulfilled and how have those moments given your life meaning?

One of mine involved having to rebrand a company in an incredibly short time frame. Having secured funds for the rebrand, and secured the support of the entire management team for the new brand, the challenge now was to implement in just a few weeks. There was no way that I was going to be able to do this with just my small team and some enthusiastic suppliers. Instead, I decided to delegate the task completely to the divisional heads of the business. My job was to ensure they understood the guidelines, set a tight framework within which they could make decisions and trust them to get on with the job as best they could in their own areas. I told them that so long as they stayed within the guidelines, they could implement in the most appropriate way in their areas. They did so magnificently. We achieved the transformation with time to spare. This achievement gave rise to a saying I often use now: ‘Universal Prescription, Local Dose.’ Having seen it work so well in this circumstance, I now often look to do the same again. That one proud achievement has shaped a belief I have that you can trust others if you give them a clear enough vision and a clear set of guidelines, and the freedom to move as they see fit within them.

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