My top 5 biggest lessons

No one goes through their career flawless. What’s important is when you inevitably make a mistake, recognise it and put measures in place to ensure that it doesn’t happen again.

Here are 5 of the biggest lessons that I learnt during my career and what I did to correct them and preventing them from happening again:

1. Always be prepared to listen and take advice. Especially from people who don’t say much, you can then decide if you need to act on their comments. I now am a much better listener than in my early days.

2. Never underestimate sleeping Japanese audience member. In my early days of Honda I was presenting to 10 Japanese and 3 British senior board members in a darken room, after my first slide I looked around the room and all the Japanese had their eyes closed and appeared to be asleep. I was told by my MD to carry on regardless, I was frustrated and disappointed by their lack of attention to my hours of work, but I carried on begrudgingly. At the end of my presentation, the Japanese President opened his eyes and said …Sanders san , thank you for your presentation ….on slide 4 you said we had 194 dealers and on slide 16 you said it was 195 …which is correct !! …He was absolutely correct and I was mortified , my MD never let me forget this valuable lesson.

3. The key starting point when you are preparing a presentation of any kind is always …who’s the audience. When you know that you can consider the relevant level of content.

4. From my rugby coaching we learnt that you must ensure you are coaching at the correct level …and that includes what height you are taking at …so if you are coaching a group of 10 year olds , kneel down and speak to them at their eye level …don’t stand up and look down on them.

5. I am great believer in the nine Belbin team roles , to produce a good team you need the nine clusters of behaviour attributes. During my various roles , I can look back on my most successful teams and know they were successful because of the diversity of thought and actions.