As you already know if you’ve been following me for a while, I’m Italian. As you can guess from the proliferation of the tricolor if you have come here by chance, I am Italian. My country is famous in the world for so many wonderful things. You will probably know Nutella for example: hazelnut chocolate cream famous all over the world.
But we rarely talk about entrepreneurs, especially if they are of the highest level.
The inventor of Nutella was called Michele Ferrero: born in Dogliani (in Piedmont) in 1925 and died in 2015 he was the creator of an avalanche of successful products from his group. He was the richest man in Italy for years, a fortune estimated by Forbes in 24 billion dollars, at that time almost three times that of the much better-known Berlusconi.
Today I am talking about him because a document I had gently put aside to preserve it and that I think contains an infinity of wisdom of other times, came into my hands.
These are some guidelines that Ferrero wrote in a letter to his managers to “instruct” them to the best. I translate them because you can learn a lot:
Maximum to follow in contacts with the staff: “When you talk to an individual remember: he is also important”.
- Put your employees at ease in your contacts:
– Dedicate the necessary time to them and not the “crumbs”.
– Take care to listen to what they have to say to you.
– Do not give them the impression that you are on thorns.
– Never let them feel “small”.
– The most comfortable chair in your office is for them.
- Make clear decisions and get help from your employees, they will believe in the choices they have made.
- Make the collaborators participate of the changes and discuss them before their implementation with the interested parties.
- Communicate the favorable comments to the workers, the unfavorable ones communicate them only when necessary, in this last case do not limit yourself to a criticism, but indicate what must be done in the future because it serves to learn.
- Your interventions are always timely: “Too late” is as dangerous as “Too early”.
- Act on causes rather than behavior.
- Consider the problems in their general appearance and do not miss the details, leave a certain margin of tolerance to the employees.
- Always be human.
- Do not ask for impossible things.
- Admit your mistakes serenely, it will help you not to repeat them.
- Worry about what your employees think of you.
- Do not pretend to be everything for your collaborators, in this case you would end up being nothing.
- Beware of those who flatter you, in the long run they are more counterproductive than those that contradict you.
- Always give what you owe and remember that it is often not a question of how much, but how and when.
- Never make decisions under the influence of anger, concern, disappointment, worry, but ask for it when your judgment can be more serene.
- Remember that a good leader can make a normal man feel like a giant, but a bad boss can turn a giant into a dwarf.
- If you do not believe in these principles, give up being leaders.
What to say, all this was written over forty years ago, but in their simplicity and wisdom these guidelines should be followed by today’s managers, who, too often, show that they have lost their compass.