UK: Brain food - Lord Simon - If I had to start again ..

UK: Brain food - Lord Simon - If I had to start again .. - First I would certainly have to spend time becoming computer-literate. Then it would be fun to start a business earlier in life. It was wonderful to work in one of the UK's great companies and to

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Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

First I would certainly have to spend time becoming computer-literate. Then it would be fun to start a business earlier in life. It was wonderful to work in one of the UK's great companies and to have an international career - but having the entrepreneurial drive channelled into your own business appears to add a level of risk-taking which I must admit was often missing in large companies. We all know today that recreating that conscious commitment to entrepreneurial risk-taking and empowering an extensive organisation is what today's enlightened managers have understood as a key challenge. But I know those of us who worked in large public companies in the '60s, '70s and '80s did not always find the atmosphere quite so open and onward looking.

Going abroad to complete an MBA was unusual in the mid-60s, but for a liberal arts graduate like me it was a tremendous eye-opener to become relatively numerate! Today's equivalent is computer literacy and it is vital to master the electronic world. Today's electronic visual communication is a value creator: so get computer-wise, master the internet, learn about business, appreciate risk, start a business and find the fun and commitment that having your own business can bring. What's more you can build a team the way you feel best and that can be the most rewarding part of working life. If I had to start again I'd want the same energy and twice the brain, so maybe I'll stick to the third-age career: giving advice to others.

Lord Simon was chairman of BP 1995-97.

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