BRAIN FOOD: Matters for the mind to chew on - Lord Levene - If I had to start again

BRAIN FOOD: Matters for the mind to chew on - Lord Levene - If I had to start again - I would try to concentrate on some of the most basic lessons that I've learned over the years but which don't always seem obvious at the time. Allow time for reflection

by LORD LEVENE, vice-chairman of Deutsche Bank AG London and atrustee of the World Trade Center Disaster Fund

I would try to concentrate on some of the most basic lessons that I've learned over the years but which don't always seem obvious at the time. Allow time for reflection when you become really worked up - if you can restrain the knee-jerk reaction, it usually seems quite different the next morning. Remember in business that people do business with people and not with companies. Close personal business relationships built up over the years invariably pay off, and they make life more fun too.

Follow your instincts. The first views on an idea and on a person usually prove right over time. Don't be afraid to back those instincts at your own financial risk - if you're going to succeed, why give most of the fruits of your labour to someone else?

I've been fortunate to enjoy a career in many areas - building a business, running several government departments, advising the prime minister, running Docklands Light Railway and Canary Wharf Ltd, serving as Lord Mayor and working in the City. One area I admire, where I did not serve directly, is the Armed Forces. They develop and deploy some of the most able people in this country, adapt quickly to new situations and could teach us all a great deal. I worked closely with politicians over some 15 years. They vary in ability enormously, but the politics often get in the way of the right decision.

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