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Concannon Business Consulting was founded to address the growing need for experienced project and program management teams across a variety of industries. Our team is comprised of experienced resources that deliver immediate project impact and value for our clients, with the mission of 100% customer satisfaction. Our company has grown from two business partners to dozens of consultants servicing clients in the automotive, financial, high-tech, hospitality, retail, and consumer packaged goods industries.

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The Top 10 Business Lessons From 30 Years in the Workforce

Concannon Business ConsultingSenior Living The Top 10 Business Lessons From 30 Years in the Workforce
Mark Concannon of Concannon Business Consulting

The Top 10 Business Lessons From 30 Years in the Workforce

Thirty years, countless flights, and numerous late-night crisis calls later, I’ve distilled my career into ten crucial lessons that every aspiring entrepreneur and business leader should know.

From my days juggling freelancing with a full course load in college to spearheading a consulting firm, my journey has been anything but ordinary. My early experiences taught me that consulting was the perfect fit for me, providing broad industry exposure and direct rewards for my performance. In the world of consulting, you’re only as good as your last project, and there is no room for error.

1. We All Have a Boss Even as the CEO of a consulting firm, I quickly learned that I wasn’t truly in charge. From the very beginning, I was accountable to my team and our clients. Whether you run a flower shop or a multinational corporation, you answer to someone—customers, a board, shareholders. Recognizing this has helped me build a company that serves leading organizations around the world.

2. Don’t Do It Alone Isolation is a trap. Building strong relationships, both personal and professional, forms your support network. I’ve learned to embrace not just supporters but also challengers, whose perspectives help avoid potential pitfalls and keep the business grounded.

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” – African Proverb

3. Surround Yourself With People Smarter Than You Creating a team that surpasses your abilities sets the stage for success. I’ve been lucky to attract people whose strengths cover my weaknesses, a dynamic that has allowed our firm to tackle any challenge and adapt to change effectively.

4. Hire the Right Person for the Job Diversity in the workplace is vital, but the primary criterion should always be how well individuals fit their roles based on their skills and experiences. This philosophy has helped us maintain stability even through tumultuous times, such as when a major client moved their headquarters and we needed our best on the ground to manage the transition smoothly.

5. Learn From Failure A few years ago, we attempted to launch a software product that failed to become profitable. This costly mistake was tough but invaluable. It taught us to refine our focus and led to a successful pivot that better aligned with market needs and our company’s strengths.

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.” – Henry Ford

6. Under Promise, Over Deliver Managing expectations is crucial. Overcommitting can lead to burnout and subpar results. Learning to promise responsibly and deliver reliably has been a cornerstone of our reputation for excellence.

7. Prioritize Your Team Our firm believes in putting people before technology. By aligning our team’s strengths with attainable goals, we’ve built a respected and successful workforce ready to tackle any challenge.

8. Always Be Learning I’ve recently taken up Italian, not just for fun but to broaden my perspective. Engaging with Italian culture and discussing viewpoints with Italian friends has enriched my understanding of global business and social dynamics.

9. Focus on Financial Health Making tough decisions about personnel and investments is crucial for sustainability. While these decisions are often unpopular, they are necessary to keep the business thriving and ensure that those who are performing well can continue to do so.

10. Lead by Example Leading by example has been my mantra. This approach not only sets the cultural tone but also drives the behavior we want to see throughout our organization. It led to the departure of a mismatched team member, reinforcing a healthy work environment.

“The most powerful leadership tool you have is your own personal example.” – John Wooden

These lessons are the bedrock of not just surviving but also thriving in business. Each point offers a strategy that has been tested in the crucible of real-world experience. I invite you to reflect on these lessons and consider how they might be applied to enhance your own business practices.

What are some lessons you’ve learned in your career? Leave your top lesson below.

Mark Concannon