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The best business advice of 2013

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Here’s a look back at the best business advice ConnectNS Leaders shared with us throughout the year.

“When I was starting my career I received some great advice from Mike Wheatley, an entrepreneur in the truest sense. He said; “Focus your energy on learning as much as you can through great people and challenging experiences. Don’t worry about money or promotions, those things will come.” At the time, I recall he suggested that I keep that focus until I turned 40 but I decided to keep going. Great people and challenging experiences continue to bring me the greatest rewards.”


Chris Keevill, President & CEO

“Even though it goes against popular culture, one of the best pieces of advice I got early in my career is that sometimes it’s good to sweat the small stuff. Everybody expects that you will take care of the “big” things. Paying attention to the detail is where you have an opportunity to surprise and delight. If you want to separate yourself from the pack, determine what really matters and do it better than anybody else – right down to the last detail.”



Chuck Hartlen, Senior VP, Customer Experience
Bell Aliant

“The best pieces of advice I have received, and I had to hear it more than once before completely understanding and acting on it, was, “Always look for people smarter than you, and surround yourself with people who can challenge and inspire you.” I truly believe you are better off having a great team with a modest opportunity than a mediocre team with a fabulous business idea.”



Mark Lever, President & CEO
The Chronicle Herald

“The best business advice I have received was not actually in words. The “advice” I received was by observing real business leaders I have been lucky enough to know. This is what they have: a great work ethic, integrity, optimism, courage to take risks, impatience for change, and compassion for others. A sense of humor and an ability to laugh at themselves holds it all together.”



Andrew Fraser, Partner
Stewart McKelvey

"Hire people who are smarter than me in their functional areas, are consummate team players and have a passion to win. At the executive level it is so important to not only have people that know what they are doing, but that also have great integrity and can pitch in to help their counterparts, as well as the employees in their area of responsibility. It is also a prerequisite that they thrive on getting positive results and enjoy winning. It doesn't mean we are always successful, but this type of positive perseverance pays off over the long haul."



Tom Ruth, President & CEO
Halifax International Airport Authority

“Change is a part of life.  In fact, it's the only constant we can rely on.  It's the relationships we build along the way that really matter and it’s keeping these connections alive that make it all worthwhile.”



Stephen Lund, CEO
Bermuda Business Development Corporation (BBDC)

“I remember working in my father’s business at the tender age of 14. I had one of my first paycheques and decided to walk to the bank at lunch time to deposit (and withdraw) the money. This was before ATM/Debit card advancements and you were required to show your bank book and picture ID (neither of which I had with me that day), particularly for withdrawals. I still remember the embarrassment I felt when the teller told me I couldn’t have any of my hard earned cash I had just deposited! My father later asked me if I had gone to the bank and I shamefully told him the story. His words were simple, “Always have good relationships with your banker." Even at the age of 14, I knew what that meant: 1) Bankers can help you achieve what you want to achieve and 2) Business relationships are critically important. Today, I have good relationships with three major banks in Canada and because of that, I have the freedom to enjoy terrific entrepreneurial experiences.”



Jeff Forbes, Managing Partner, Executive Search & Vice President
Knightsbridge Robertson Surrette

“The late Irving Schwartz, O.C. was someone I could always count on to provide advice and sage counsel.  Irving would always remind me that action is more important than words.  He would say, '’We need people to focus more on getting the job done and less time talking about what has to be done.'"



Keith MacDonald, President and CEO
Cape Breton Partnership

“I learned early in my career that you can achieve a lot more when you work with and surround yourself with committed partners. People who are aligned with your values, understand what you want to achieve and are eager to play a role in helping you get there. I’ve been fortunate enough to lead some very exciting projects, none of which would have been possible without the unwavering support of the partners behind them.”



Scott Ferguson, President and CEO
Trade Centre Limited

“Innovate and diversify or die!”  Check out Peter’s six additional tips.



Peter Conlon, President and CEO
Nautel Limited


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