Mr. Joe Hall, who is the former President and Chief Operating Officer of Food Lion, spoke about various lessons which he learned while dealing with different businesses throughout his life. He spoke about nine lessons in particular that he had discovered. These lessons were about character in the workplace, relationships, trust, relying on rules, understanding business, mentors, patience, initiative, and learning from mistakes.
Mr. Hall stated that “every business is a people business” and this is something that you have to apply in every job which you have. In all jobs you will have to deal with people and create some kind of relationship with these people. The key to this is to capitalize on these relationships and build them to a point where they are helpful to you, both on the job and off. He said that he often used these relationships to know what was happening on the floor of the Food Lion warehouses and to stay informed on what manufacturers were correctly shipping and what manufacturers were over-shipping or under-shipping. Use these people to your advantage to ensure that you know what is going on in your business. In order to establish these relationships, you will have to go out of your way to talk to employees and establish friendships with them. People always seem to react more positively to a person who they consider a friend, or at least have no reason to think of them otherwise. Another factor to establishing these relationships is trust. This coincides with the employee seeing you as a friend and not a foe. People are much more cooperative when they believe and trust you. Mr. Hall also commented that you must build a “trust account” in the workplace, which you can draw on when you do let someone down. If you always fulfill your promises to someone, then the time when you let them down will be much easier. It is a simple matter of doing what you say you will do.
Another topic on which Mr. Hall spoke was the use of positive reinforcement. It should be used to persuade employees to do what you need them to do, but they are apprehensive about doing. You should reward positive actions and punish negative or detrimental actions.
Hall spoke on the fact that one must learn what business it is that he is in. He should learn all facets of the business that he can and then make sure that he actually understands the business. One must also be aware and cautious of the things which are the key drivers in the industry which they are a part. He mentioned the fact that young business-people will have been with an average of nine companies by the time they are 32 years old, possibly reinforcing this fact that most business-people do not understand the business which they are in.
Finally, Mr. Hall talked about satisfaction in work. He stated that you must find what truly makes you happy and pursue that field or occupation. If you are not happy in an occupation, then it will make your life miserable. You must know yourself and find what you need to be happy. Additionally, he said that we must learn to gain something from our mistakes and take something away from them. Everyone is going to make mistakes along the way, but the ones that succeed are the ones which capitalize and learn from these mistakes. You should not be afraid to make these mistakes either, for that will only leave you unable to take risks and advance your career to the next level.