Last week, I gave a short speech to a group of 15 or 20 aspiring young business people who were putting themselves forward for Prince’s Trust funding. The event provided these young people with a few days of training and some tips from hard seasoned campaigners like myself.
I was specifically asked to talk about commitment, motivation, challenges and setbacks.
It was interesting whilst talking that I caught the eye of a number of these people and it was very clear to me who were concentrating with rapt attention and those who were simply bored out of their skulls. I hazard a guess, that the former group of people have probably more chance of success than the latter.
My mind turned to commitment and motivation again this week when I went to get my standard cup of coffee from my local coffee shop with whom I have visited for more than 25 years. The young eastern European girl at the counter was moaning to me about how tired she was and when I jokingly said to her ‘had she been clubbing’, she explained how she gets up a 4am every morning so she can start work in the café and then after leaving work at 4pm, she then goes on to City University every day where she is doing a marketing course and then gets home about 8pm, has something to eat then goes to sleep. It’s that kind of fierce determination, never say die, commitment and motivation that today’s young business people really need in spades if they are going to make it. As I explained to the Prince’s Trust people, that on its own is still not enough. You also need passion, creativity, a good heart and a positive attitude. In fact, on reflection, I feel even more strongly that these personal qualities are the key to success in business, even more so than business skills. So many business skills can be learned and are often just a matter of common sense. Personal qualities like the ones I have described above – well you’ve either got them or you haven’t. The young eastern European girl in the café will undoubtedly forge a career in business either here or in her own country and I am sure will be successful.
As a footnote to this piece, I have always prided myself on my recruitment skills although I have made one or two famous miss-hires. The one thing that I have always said I look for in people is attitude and I don’t mean that in a negative way. Give me someone with great attitude and we can teach them anything – that’s what I was told by a very important mentor in my life. I suppose deep down, that’s my message to the Prince’s Trust attendees, the girl in the cafe and everyone else. A positive attitude, a desire to succeed, a reluctance to fail, passion, motivation and commitment are the keys to business success.