Nancy Peretsman, Managing Director of Allen & Co. was recently featured in The Best Advice I Ever Got article in Fortune Magazine. The theme of Nancy’s advice is to “Stop Talking and Start Listening.”
Nancy tells about carefully listening, as opposed to talking, during a visit with Google’s Eric Schmidt, Sergey Brin and Larry Page. Two years later, when Nancy’s firm helped take Google public, her careful listening paid off in spades. Big time spades!
Nancy says, “You always get more than you give by listening!”
Other advice from this highly successful executive included:
- Make failure pay. Some of the best investments I’ve ever made were on the backs of failed ones.
- Think beyond the downturn. Life’s a long race. Remember it isn’t about this year or next. Each year is a building block to a journey.
- Do your hiring homework. It stuns me how often people don’t do reference checks. Call as many people as you can until you start getting an identical story. People usually hesitate to say negative things, so I ask about the top three strengths and weaknesses.
- Cut the small talk. Sometimes you have to be a little rude. I’ll start a conversation by saying, “I have 10 minutes. If you want to spend that on the niceties, fine, but I’m happy to jump right in.”
- Be willing to let a deal die. There are deals we’ve worked on for years. We’ve been at the printers, ready to finalize something, and we’ve said, “Let’s walk. This doesn’t make sense.” Sometimes the stars line up, but sometimes you have to wait.
Excellent advice that is personally and professionally relevant to each and every one of us… from a highly successful person who doesn’t feel the need to dominate and do all or most of the talking. Nancy carefully and purposefully listens… and then she gets the job done!
We all would do well to more effectively and frequently heed this proven, ‘game changing’ advice.