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When it comes to business, everybody’s a critic. When I first began working in the advertising world over thirty years ago, I heard all sorts of advice – some good, some bad – on how to succeed in the business world. Taking advice from colleagues and people that you respect is an integral part of developing as a professional, but learning from bad advice is important too. Here are a few pieces of terrible work advice that I’ve heard repeated time and time again:

You’ve Got to Think Big

Often people think that they need to create the flashiest product, or offer the most luxurious service, in order to be successful. As a communications consultant, I’m here to tell you that this isn’t true. Not every product can be the iPhone! Recognizing deficiencies in the market, and creating products or services to fill that void, is the true sign of a successful businessperson.

Customer Service Should Be Secondary to the Product

Obviously, a business must offer a quality product if it is to succeed, but as a communications consultant, I can’t tell you how often I see a business try to skate by on a gimmicky ad campaign or solely on a product. If you want to create a powerful brand, you must ignore this terrible advice, and place a high value on customer service. After all, business is all about communicating a need with one another.

Be The Smartest Person in The Room - Scott DemingBe the Smartest Person in the Room

In communication training seminars, I often tell people that being a good leader means surrounding yourself with people who will challenge you and disagree with you. We all have strengths and weaknesses, but recognizing our own limitations is part of what makes a successful leader. I can guarantee that finding individuals who can constructively challenge one another will create an atmosphere of innovation.

Values Are Not As Important As Products

I hear a lot of terrible advice when it comes to a company’s values and purpose. Your values are what generally guide you throughout life. They are instilled in you by your parents and your upbringing and shape the way that you approach your professional and private life. They are also, I discover during my communication training seminars, some of the most overlooked factors in business. Those companies that take the time to communicate and better understand their values and purpose can utterly transform themselves into more efficient and innovative teams.