Florence didn’t really interview me as much as she sold me on the opportunity; the opportunity to work in an advertising agency – such a glamourous life –
and the opportunity to work in my field of marketing research!
I was so excited. I was 22 years of age and this was a dream job. This is the only time I have ever worked for a woman.
Florence was an interesting role model … she gave me a crash course in self-leadership.
When I complained about the noise working in the open office (beside the secretary who was constantly banging away on her manual typewriter), Florence looked for an office for me. When none was available, she declared,
“Go over, under, around or through but never be stopped by any obstacle!”
and she moved my desk into her office. It was cramped, and it was quiet.
When the agency landed a new client, our workflow was completely disrupted. There was a new assignment – and it was a big one – so we were scrambling for resources. Florence comforted me with,
“Change is your one constant – count on it – be prepared for it.”
Then she called a temp agency.
When I got stuck in a perfectionist rut, spending precious time looking for a single response to add to 100%, Florence admonished me to learn to “accept good enough.” She advised me to ask myself, “In five years will anybody care?” or “Will it have a material impact on the decision we need to make?” and then determine the necessary standard of excellence.
Florence was big on effectiveness as well as efficiency; she continuously reminded me,
“Time is your biggest constraint – it is the one democratic resource – we all get 24 hours in a day; you must make every minute count! Get the job done! Delegate. Do not waste time doing things that do not need to be done by you, or perfecting things that do not need to be perfect.”
I cannot say that I learned all four of these valuable lessons the first time; some of them had to be repeated, especially number three, and I know I am fortunate to have been shown the way:
Be Unstoppable: Go over, under, around or through the obstacles you encounter in life.
Be Prepared: Change is constant – expect it – accept it – plan for it.
Be Effective: Accept “Good Enough”; focus on what is essential to the decision.
Be Efficient: Make every minute count – delegate the tasks that do not need to be done by you.
As I was absorbing these lessons, unbeknownst to me, Florence was preparing to leave. We worked together only three months before she went on to a great new assignment, and I stepped into her shoes.
Thank goodness I had received her crash course in self-leadership.