Recently, our CEO asked his LinkedIn network for the best piece of advice they have received during their career. You can find the post here.

The results were great. He received numerous comments from his connections, with everything from the new SynergyMode Head of Marketing, Rob, making sure his value is known, through to Confucius – we even received a new Turkish saying, about fish rotting from the head down!

We want to unpack some of the comments in more detail.

“Don’t take criticism from someone you wouldn’t go to for advice.”

This is so pertinent. It is really a point about respect. Whether you are the most junior member of a team, or the CEO, have confidence in your abilities and don’t allow just anyone to criticise you. And if you’re an advisor, always remember – you’re the one who has taken the risk and jumped into the arena. If you wouldn’t go to the person for advice, it means you do not trust their judgement. It’s best avoided. And if you find someone you can trust to tell you it straight, then hold on to them – they will prove their worth time and again.

“Contribute more than you cost.”

A very apt piece of advice. The world of non-execs and advisors has changed. James recently posted a video of Ben Johnson, talking about the old attitude of hiring non-execs, which you can find here. This is no longer an old boys’ club. As an advisor, you need to contribute. In this economic climate, businesses are going to be more thrifty than ever. How can you showcase your skills and how much you will contribute to a business?

“Success is not final; failure is not fatal”

This was from Mark Hastings, a SynergyMode advisor. Too often in business, we deal in black and white; profit & loss; success and failure. There are, actually, many shades of grey, and rarely is failure the end of the line for you or your business. Similarly, resting on your laurels can be utterly destructive to a company – innovate, challenge, refine. Three musts for avoiding complacency. And three things advisors are perfect for.

It struck us, reading the diverse range of answers, one liners, mottos and wisdom, that we have so many influences throughout our lives. How do we focus on what is important? How do we take ourselves forward without drowning in advice?

“It’s ok not to have all the answers, you just need to know where to get them.”

How often do founders and CEOs not only think they have all the answers, but actually feel like they need to have all the answers? It’s unhealthy to believe that all problems should be handled on your own. Time and again, comments came in on the post around taking a step back before making a big decision. This is critical, but why not also seek advice from a trusted source?

We passionately believe that all companies would benefit from advice at the boardroom level. We are building a community of brilliant advisors who can help you with the difficult questions; challenge conventional thinking; help instigate business change; and, most pertinently, find the answers. We do not promise success, but we do think our advisors can help.