This weeks interviewee is Stu Lunn, Managing Director of Havas Media Manchester. He’s worked in the industry for over 20 years, including leadership roles at Google, Facebook, Dentsu & Omnicom.
1. Biggest Mistake of Your Career
Not seeking out feedback early in my career, and certainly not welcoming it if it was given freely. Most people, in my experience, have positive intentions – you spend so much time at work, and have so many interactions with colleagues. Most people want that to be as positive an experience as possible, so who better to help fill in the blind spots you might have than your colleagues? I didn’t welcome that early in my career, I thought I knew everything and couldn’t see that you never really do.
When I reflect on it, I think it probably slowed my own development but – because I was working for big brands, and I was performing well – it took me a while to see past my own misplaced confidence. I felt I’d ‘made it’ when I was really still learning the basics of business, particularly in leadership.
I addressed it through mentoring, and a lot of reading. Understanding how your brain works, and how positive business cultures are built is fascinating to me. The mentoring, and actively seeking feedback is the key though; I’d encourage anyone looking to develop their career to seek feedback from all areas of their business, at all levels. If you’re in a leadership position then make sure you explore ‘reverse mentoring’, there is an incredible amount you can learn from those perceived to have less experience than you.
Hyperbole on LinkedIn profile headers. There’s a lot of examples, but the one that really pisses me off is ‘Thought Leader’. As a general rule of thumb, based on my own experience at least, if you say you’re a thought leader, then it’s very likely you are not. Our industry is particularly fertile ground to find these profiles.
3. A useful Piece of Advice
Understand what is truly important to you and, as such, you should give a fuck about. This is, you may have guessed, the time to recommend you read ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving A Fuck’.
Why? Well, it’s less about not caring, and more about understanding what you can and should focus your energy on. It demands that you are critical of yourself, honest (brutally) with what you can, could and should accept or change. It’s sound advice for life, not just work. Ultimately, there’s no wanky bollocks – as you’d probably expect from the title – and anybody can take positive action from it.
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