At 58 years old, I am back as CEO of a small business with just 100 employees, and I have been trying to put the lessons of the past 35 years to good use.
First, respect the numbers. Even if you are not an accountant, you must understand a P and L account and the rudiments of a balance sheet. Study these regularly. You may not like what they tell you but they do not lie. Respect them.
Second, nobody matters more than your customer. Shareholders and employees are vital, but without customers you do not have a business You may not like what they tell you but they are always right. Respect them, too.
Third, respect the young. Give them real opportunity, real challenge and responsibility. They will always pay you back handsomely. Young managers drive a business forward; they are unconventional, hardworking and have no baggage. You may not like how they do it but they are your future.
Fourth, always search out bad news. Good news has a way of finding you; bad news hides away or it comes at the end of a meeting as an afterthought. Respect those who bring bad news - if you get it early you can act quickly.
Finally, never give up. When you are determined, you will find ways to succeed. Respect hard work against the odds.
Lord Chadlington was the founder of Shandwick and is CEO of marketing communications consultancy Huntsworth.