Courtesy Miramax Films
In the movie, Pulp Fiction, Uma Thurman’s character asks hitman Vincent Vega (aka John Travolta) this between-the-eyes question: “Do you listen or do you wait to talk?”
He replies: “I wait to talk, but I’m trying to listen.”
Ah, there’s a business lesson here: Listen before you talk. Then, take the time to learn and leverage what’s said.
As we begin 2016, it’s useful to carry over conversations worth remembering—and repeating. Call them lessons with legs. Among them were discussions at the Chase Women’s Business Symposia, where I did plenty of listening and learning, along with several hundred attendees and fellow panelists:
For me, the takeaways for leveraged learning remain relevant in the New Year:
- Go with your gut. How many good ideas got away because you failed to act? Tic toc, the clock is ticking. Opt in or out of the opportunity. Take in as much information as you can to make a well-informed decision. Stringing out the process for months will only hurt your company, not help it. Time, indeed, is money.
- Be polite, but direct. Some people in authority have titles, but no clue. And they’re between you and what needs doing. Speak up. Be polite, but direct, says Lori. Not the right chemistry. Tell them. Not listening to what you’re saying. Ask to talk to someone who will. Pull an Uma Thurman.
- Find a banker who gets it. To be clear, it’s not about borrowing money. Rather, it’s about finding a banker who understands the business for the long term—your values and vision. Working Solutions pitched eight to nine bankers before finding one that “got it” and understood its virtual services business model. That’s what we banked on.
- Stuff happens. Sideways is not a preferred direction. But stuff happens—all of the time. Does your business bounce with it or get bruised by it? Factor it in. Bottom-line those bumps. Leverage experiences to find solutions for sideways. Always have in hand—or know someone who does—a fix that will work. Dead end ain’t a business plan.
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Studios
- Believe in your dream. Practice the art of self-realization. I call it the “Jiminy Cricket effect.” Borrowing a verse from his song, “When You Wish Upon a Star,” it goes: If your heart is in your dream, no request is too extreme. Jiminy had it right. Fellow panelists—Angelle, Carmen and Lori—and I succeed because we believe in what we set out to do. And purpose gives all of us power—as it can for anyone with a dream.