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40 pieces of advice from a 40 under 40 honoree

To celebrate Sean’s recent induction into the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s 40 under 40 class of 2016 we are offering 40 pieces of daily career and business advice from the man himself. (Really…you can call us anytime and our Oggi Pros will give you career and business advice but today we’re putting it in a blog.) Enjoy!

1.  Work as hard as humanly possible. Before you settle down with a mortgage, maybe a marriage and a couple of kids, and other things that simply require time & effort, use your extra energy to get ahead in your career. People notice.

2.  Focus on matters that matter. Anyone included in the hiring process should be prepared to talk about corporate giving, community involvement, and your company’s mission – more than ever before. Quality candidates want to feel good about what they are doing and who they are doing it for.

3.  Be an Excel guru. EVERYONE uses it. From Executive Admins to CFOs, just about everyone in the business world uses Excel for various reasons & in varying degrees in their roles. The further you get down the rabbit hole of Excel’s functionality the more you realize what a powerful tool it can be. This is a significant & important skill for accounting & finance pros, but knowing its basic functionality is an asset no matter what your role is.

4.  Be willing to walk away. In any negotiation, you lack any semblance of influence if you are not willing to leave the table. Before you sit down know what your bottom line is and—barring any new information—stick to it.

5.  You can’t win with six goalies on the ice. You can’t be and do everything. Accept that. Hire people with complementary skillsets to strengthen your team.

6.  Do what’s not expected of you. We all have defined duties in our roles, but the ability to see the things outside of your scope and take care of them will set you apart from your peers.

7.  Make your point, then stop talking. Too often people make a compelling point and destroy the moment by continuing to speak afterwards. Let it sit.

8.  Perfection is a myth. Regardless of how “perfect” a prospective employee is on paper and no matter how much you enjoy their personality you will never feel 100% comfortable hiring someone you don’t know. Realize that and move forward accordingly.

9.  Neutralize your social media. Social media has opened many doors that were previously non-existent, but it can also be damaging during a job search. Think before you post. Once you’ve posted that status update or photo you might not be able to take it back and it could affect your upward mobility.

10.  Work Wins!

11.  Take a leap. Whenever you are considering a new opportunity you’ll always have reservations. Don’t let emotion and uncertainty stop you from making the right choice.

12.   Put your phone away. As socially acceptable as it is to have your phone attached to your palm there is nothing worse than someone who leaves their phone out during an imperative conversation. ESPECIALLY in a first meeting. People want you to be present.

13.  Work hard. Have fun. Listen to your coaches. This is the advice I give my kids before every practice, game or event. It is still applicable in life.

14.  You can learn from everyone. Some of my most challenging coaches, managers and bosses have taught me the most about leadership and what not to do.

15.  Successful people do work they don’t want to do.

16.  Risk is a synonym for opportunity. If you want more opportunities, take more risks.

17.  Definition of leadership: “Leadership is a potent combination of strategy and character. But if you must be without one, be without strategy.” – H. Norman Schwarzkopf

18.  I’d rather rein in a thoroughbred than kick a mule. 

19.  Stop seeking approval. When you are truly talented 95% of people won’t understand you anyway.

20.  Leave on a high note. THANK YOU for following Sean’s 40 pieces of advice from a 40 under 40 honoree. We hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have. We will continue to post Sean’s advice (21-40) on our Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter sites throughout the year. Give us a follow today!

OGGI ASKS What is the best career advice you’ve ever received? Tweet us at @OggiPro with the hashtag #OggiAsks.

Brought to you by

Sean Keating

I founded Oggi Professional Services because I believed Twin Cities professionals deserved a firm that would listen and put their needs first. And that's what we do. I love my wife, kids, our Leavitt Bulldog Mangus, the Boston Bruins, Bruce Springsteen & holiday music.