A recipe for making a successful career in business

Adriano Silva - June 26, 2020 In business, what we say isn't always what we do. COVID-19 gives us an opportunity to change that.

In business, you don’t have to be intelligent.

Resist the embrace of complexity. It is better to be practical.

Those who think a lot fall in love with the problem. In business, you need to fall in love with the solution.

Business people do not problematize. Business people simplify.

They let go of big reflections. It will serve you better to sharpen your instincts. Learn to identify the smell of blood. And come home with the meat.

A company is not a place for people who constantly look for a hidden meaning between the lines or a new way of seeing things.

You need to drive fast, and reinventing the wheel only slows you down.

Rather than flying at higher altitudes, with a too wide range of vision, it makes more sense to keep the flight low enough to guarantee full scrutiny of the terrain, leveling a focused eye on the prey and the predators, the dangerous cliffs and the water sources.

A sophisticated solution is not a good solution. It’s more important to keep it simple and to do it well.

In business, you don’t have to be a genius.

What you need is to solve problems for anyone willing to pay you for it.

It’s like Edison said: genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration. You’ve also heard it before: a brilliant idea poorly executed is worth very little compared to a mediocre idea executed exceptionally. It’s all true.

Business is the domain of those who do. Not of those who only dream, imagine, plan, ponder – the winners are those who manage to transform that in achievement.

So you don’t have to be smart. What you need is to see the obvious. And take action.

READ: Why we need to cherish every little win during COVID-19

In business, you don’t have to analyze.

Confidence in yourself and your decisions is a much more useful quality for the entrepreneur than the ability to dissect and study a situation dialectically.

Resilience is a pre-requisite. The ability to hear a lot of “no,” while continuing to walk down your path – believing both in the company and in yourself.

You can’t stop to question things all the time. It’s important to learn, of course. But it must happen with a clear vector of overcoming obstacles and moving ahead. (For this, it also helps not to think too much.)

In business, you have to develop a taste for taking risks. And for living in discomfort, uncertainty and incompleteness. Every day, you will need to show fear who is in charge.

In business, you don’t have to dive deep.

Business is the realm of anti-philosophy. It’s about delivering what you’re asked to, without much questioning.

Your opinion is second to your clients’. You have to play their game. Ignore one thing there, swallow another thing there, sometimes pretending that you haven’t heard or that you didn’t see.

Yes, business often offers ground for cynicism, and not necessarily for consistency or authenticity.

Business is also a fortress of anti-poetry. Results matter most. There is such a thing as an ugly goal – ugly is not scoring the goal.

One ordinary goal that guarantees victory is worth more than a spectacular goal that does not win the championship.

It’s no coincidence that companies are measured by their revenues and profits and not by the way these numbers are achieved. Never mind the trail of happiness or madness, joy or destruction, that the organization leave behind.

READ: The old way of doing business is dying. Here’s what’s replacing it.

In business, you don’t have to be daring.

Business is the territory of the basic that works, the good-and-cheap solution, the best cost-benefit ratio. It’s the territory of regularity, reliability, predictability, measured by orders delivered and goals accomplished.

You don’t have to be brilliant. The vast majority of companies don’t even understand outstanding people, much less absorb them, lead them, stimulate them.

Executive life often seems more suited to obedient types, social strategists, people with flexible characters. The mainstream is generous to those who don’t create problems. And to those who don’t bother with the absurdities that sometimes erupt in the office, in the middle of any given afternoon.

In the corporate world, as a rule, it is necessary to belong, to fit in, to follow the established flow, to do your part – neither less nor more.

It’s always better not to be noticed than to be noticed too much.

Doing business is also the art of knowing how to behave. You have to learn to keep your silence. And to get closer to the right people. And to say what they want to hear. What they want you to say. At the right time, in the right way.

Sometimes it’s necessary to pay the price to be accepted in the right circles. Keeping a blind eye in the face of some injustice. Adulating someone here or betraying someone else there.

In business, you don’t have to worry about the means.

Navigating the business world means knowing how to surf the right waves, rolling with the wild mass of water without falling.

And skipping waves whenever the wind changes. You don’t have to have a cause, a flag, a purpose – none of this will guarantee you survival in the business world as much as developing a good sense of opportunity. And knowing how to move your pieces wisely on the board.

In business, there is only one rule: stay afloat. Without guilt. And without mercy.

It is a film in which only the ending matters. You have got to devote yourself to the rat race. Capitulate to this and learn to see everything else – your family, your health, yourself – as annoying distractions. As void conversations that don’t lead to conversion.

READ: How are businesses dealing with COVID-19? Here are 7 outcomes we discovered.

In reality, all you need is a chance to make a change.

Personally, I do not defend most of the things I described above. I feel a good deal of discomfort just by writing these words. You may feel the same reading them.

However, with the dose of bitterness that is in every admitted truth, it seems to me that this is a portrait very closely reflects the business world as it is in action. Or how it has been for perhaps too long.

Regardless of how we say it is. Regardless of how we would like it to be.

How our business environment will emerge from this huge crisis… well, that will depend on each one of us.

You and I will not have a better opportunity to change the way we have been doing things in our lives, in our careers and in our companies than this one that fell on our heads in 2020.

So what will you do with this opportunity?

Adriano Silva is co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer (CCO) of Draft Inc. and Draft Canada.

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