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A little business advice from grandma

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in Career Management,Workplace Communication

Grandmas are known for their nuggets of advice about bundling up in winter or baking a fruit cobbler. As it turns out, they know a thing or two about navigating the workplace, too.

Pearls of wisdom from grandma:

√  Always treat others with trust and respect. As a child, when attorney A. Wayne Gill visited his grandparents in Jamaica, he spent much time in their general store and saw the way his grandmother dealt fairly with vendors, who always wanted to do business with her. “My grandmother was already practicing win-win,” he says.

Now, when Gill is negotiating, “If I get a little less, if I make the other guy happier, we can have a long-term deal.”

√  Show confidence in yourself, and you can do anything. Former Yahoo executive Tim Sanders carries the advice from his grandma Billye with him.

Grandma Billye also taught her grandson the lesson of the pecan. After he’d been teased at church camp, she showed him a pecan and asked, “Can you eat this thing?” No, he answered. She told him to open it.

“Every piece of criticism is a pecan,” Billye said. “Your job is to crack it open and find the nut and throw away the shell. What can you see that’s good? Every piece of criticism is a gift.”

√  Do things the right way. Presi­­dent and CEO of Lebenthal & Co. Alex­­an­­dra Lebenthal works every day at the same desk where her grandmother worked. It’s impossible for her not to remember how “passionate” her grandmother was about doing things the right way.

What wisdom did you learn from grandma?

— Adapted from “Why execs turn to grandma for business advice,” Vickie Elmer, Fortune.

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