UK: BRAIN FOOD - Sir John Banham - If I had to start again ..

UK: BRAIN FOOD - Sir John Banham - If I had to start again .. - Truth to tell, there is very little that I would do differently if I could start again. I have been blessed with more than my fair share of good luck - which, as Napoleon recognised long ago

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Truth to tell, there is very little that I would do differently if I could start again. I have been blessed with more than my fair share of good luck - which, as Napoleon recognised long ago in selecting his marshals, is one of the most important ingredients for success in any walk of life.

From my involvement in successful start-ups to running public bodies and being invited to become the chairman of Kingfisher when the group's share price was below £2, there isn't much I'd alter. Given that I wouldn't change any of the foregoing, what advice can be distilled from my chequered career? If I was starting out now, I would be doing what I was really interested in. I would recognise that something which excites me is what I would be likely to do best. I would focus on what I enjoy and I would be looking to work with fun people. I would be more concerned with professional and personal satisfaction than with financial rewards. I have seen too many good people burning out in the City because they can't answer the question: 'to what client's problem is this the solution?' I would be concerned with building organisations for the benefit of all the stakeholders - not just the owners. In my darker moments I would re-read Lord Chesterfield's letters to his son - remembering that the well-meant advice was largely ignored. And, in better times, I would remember that any success I may have enjoyed will have been built on the efforts of others.

Sir John Banham was director-general of the CBI 1987-92.

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