You’ve read the books.

You’ve taken the courses.

You’ve attended conferences.

You’ve listened to the podcasts.

There’s no shortage of information out there about fine-tuning your leadership skills.

In fact, the amount of information can be downright overwhelming. Everyone has good advice. So which do you implement first? What becomes your focus?

If you’re struggling to find a starting point, we’ve got one for you.

These three lessons will save you 15 years of your career.

Yeah. It might be time to take a few notes.

Lesson 1 – Leaving the Long-Term Behind

Lifetime career loyalty is a thing of the past.

Today’s workforce, especially the millennial portion of it, does not expect to stay at one company for their entire career. In an era marked by startups that may or may not take off and dotted with booms and busts in the gig economy, job hopping shouldn’t surprise anyone.

But it does.

Don’t let it.

First, understand who is doing the job hopping. In a recent Gallup survey, half of the millennials surveyed said they expect to be at their job one year from now. One year. In that same survey, six out of 10 millennials indicated that they are open to other employment opportunities.

But millennials aren’t the only ones.

In that same Gallup poll, 60% of non-millennials said they anticipate being in their same job a year from now. Put it another way, regardless of the generation, between 40-50% of the workforce can’t see themselves in their current role in the long run.

Now, consider what that means for you. Don’t sweat the generational stereotypes. Focus on your specific team instead. As an effective manager, you know how to have conversations with people. Make your workers feel respected. Push them. Challenge them. Engage them. Build morale.

Remember that career satisfaction isn’t always about money. More often, people want to feel that they add value and that their work has meaning. Does your team feel that way? Then maybe you’re looking at the portion of the workforce that doesn’t plan on going anywhere.

Or maybe members of your team will leave anyway. It is important to brace yourself for this new reality. Have honest dialogues with your team. Stay future focused. And remember not to take it personally.

Lesson 2 – People Over Profit

Sales. Expenses. Overhead. Projected growth. In the business world, the focus is often on numbers. Article headlines, book titles, and conference keynotes certainly are.

But numbers aren’t everything. In fact, if you’re someone who is looking to be an effective leader, you have to know that.

There has been a lot of discussions lately about purpose-driven businesses. Rather than being profit-driven, companies who put people, passion, and purpose first reap clear benefits in terms of employee satisfaction, customer loyalty, and overall success.

When you are making decisions, focus on people, not profit. Employees, clients, and customers should be your focus. Establish and cultivate genuine relationships. Whether you are looking to grow your company initially or continue to scale nationally and internationally, those relationships are what will do the work for you.

Growth and profit are byproducts of great employees. When it comes to setting yourself apart from the rest, the people on your team are where you will find your greatest value. People create and innovate. People define and redefine products and processes. Even if your team isn’t destined to work together forever, purpose-driven companies often have greater job loyalty among their employees.

When it comes to keeping your customers, focusing on people and purpose, not profit, is what has real staying power. Recently, 54% of consumers reported that they don’t trust brands. The same market researchers found that 91% said that they would switch brands if another brand offered similar quality and price while supporting a good cause.

When it comes to standing out and developing real staying power, it’s people, not profit, that will help your team and your company do that.

Bottomline: Business is about people. Lead accordingly.


Lesson 3 – There is No Hack for Hard Work

Chances are, you’ve read at least one headline with a hack in it today. Hacks, shortcuts, quick fixes. Call them whatever you want. When it comes to long-term career success, there isn’t one.

Hard work still rules all. The most valuable leaders deliver shock and awe, not through some slight of hand, not through their ability to schmooze, but because they constantly have their nose to the grindstone as they outwork the competition.

The modern era is full of overnight success stories. Whether it’s water cooler talk or tabloid headlines, conversations about this kind of success are sprinkled in everywhere.

The problem?

It isn’t real. Not really.

Just like success hacks, these kinds of stories only highlight the end. They fast forward through the years of hustle. They spin the setbacks and omit the failures.

Not convinced? Take it from Steve Jobs. “If you really look closely, most overnight successes took a long time.”

And that time wasn’t filled with shortcuts and gimmicks or wishing and hoping. It was a path lined with hard work.

Over to You: Where Are You Going in Your Career? What Are Your Dreams & Aspirations?

Experience is the best teacher, but these three lessons are second best, especially if you are looking to save yourself some time and headache along the way.

The industrial age is gone, and some common career assumptions are going along with it.

It’s time to recognize the changing nature of work and adapt accordingly.

Related Reading: Improve Your Management Skills By First Improving Yourself