What is one piece of advice you wish someone had given you?
“Don’t hire telecom people from big-named companies. They rely on the Big Name too much – it’s tough for them to sell an intangible." — Frank Ahearn, president, Business Communications Management
"Build up a huge reserve so that you can withstand a recession with the intensity and depth as this last one." — Dany Bouchedid, CEO, COLOTRAQ
“When you lose a sale, they are not rejecting you, they just did not understand your value." — J.R. Cook, vice president, agent channel, New Edge Networks
“The grass just looks greener on the other side of the fence; it really is not." — Matt Duray, president and CEO, The Connect Group
“Sometimes the fight is not worth the time. Be OK with letting ‘stuff’ go, even if the fight is justified. At the end of the day we only have so much time to go around and sometimes it's better to move on." — Cameron Larsen, principal, Astound Communications
“Sign up for all the frequent flyer programs when you get into this business." — Michael Machonkin, vice president of sales and marketing, GLOBALINX
“Use resources (money, people and time) VERY, VERY carefully" — Troy McCracken, CEO, Spectrum Inc.
“Focus first on the longer-term strategy, second on having the right people in the organization and third on the task at hand. It's easy when you first start in the business to skip right to No. 3 — the task at hand — and never get back to Nos. 1 and 2." — Janet Schijns, vice president of Global Training & Knowledge Management, Motorola Enterprise Mobility Solutions (EMS)
“Work hard consistently and think long-term. Careers and businesses are built over 10- to 20-year timelines. ‘Rome was not built in a day.’" — Rick Stern, CEO, Nitel
What's the secret to hiring the right people?
"Build a company with solid systems that can accommodate average employees, not just the exceptional talent. With this in mind it becomes less critical to hire the best. Create entry tests and other objective measures that remove the likelihood of guessing wrong. Trust your instincts. One of the many key strategies I retained from the Jack Welch best seller: Imagine your No. 1 competitor has just hired the potential candidate sitting in front of you. Think about how that makes you feel. If it bothers you enough, they might just be a good fit." — Laura Bernstein, president, CRA Inc.
"I follow three simples rules: references, references and … wait for it … references. I feel skill sets can be taught, but character attributes cannot. So moral fiber, work ethic and dedication are just some of the elements I look for when hiring people. And nothing speaks louder than having several credible references vouch for you." — Dany Bouchedid, CEO, COLOTRAQ