Former Chamber chair shares lessons learned along the way with Capitol Club

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 ”Your life is as rich as the number of people you know.”

That’s just one token of wisdom Dave Golden, executive vice president and manager of Wells Fargo Commercial Banking’s Mountain Division and immediate past chair of the Salt Lake Chamber Board of Governors, shared at the Capitol Club meeting Thursday morning. Golden shared ten lessons he’s learned through his career that would be helpful for the group of executives.

Golden shared with the group his work history: he started in 1980 during a recession and managed to slip into First Security before a hiring freeze went into place. While saying every day is a new day, Golden says over the years, he’s learned many lessons in how to succeed in business.

Here are ten things Dave Golden has learned along the way:

1-   ”If you don’t know anything about accounting, you should,” Golden says. People in business need fundamental accounting, including how to read a balance sheet. Accounting is the language of business. Golden says it’s worth taking an online class or college course in accounting, no matter what industry you end up working in. Those who really have a handle on their finances tend to be most successful.

2-   Build your network. Interacting face-to-face is critical in today’s world. Golden encouraged everyone not to be a “distant manager” and to interact with everyone at each different level of a company.

“You have to know people and look them in the eye,” says Golden.

That relationship is important, both with clients and colleagues. Carry your business card with you and set a goal–how many people will you connect with in a month? Three months? A year? Or even better, get involved on a committee, board or other group that helps the business community. Doing this can help build your network, and once you have that network, cultivate it, check in with your connections, see how they are and how you can help them beyond that first meeting.

“The thirty minutes before and after an event are infinitely more important than the event,” Golden says, emphasizing the need to interact with others during that time.

3-   Compete hard, but with class. Golden told the story of one of his “biggest rushes” from his youth: his dad charging into his bedroom telling him to “grab my gun.” Golden’s family raised sheep; dogs and wolves would attack the sheep and threaten the family’s livelihoods, which were in the sheep. “I always viewed them as the competition,” Golden says. He learned to compete hard because your competition is always right over your shoulder. Everyone is working to be better at something than someone else.

“That’s our system. That is capitalism.” So get strategic, push yourself to be better and maintain your professional edge.

4-   Hire exceptional people. Without exceptional employees, you won’t achieve exceptional results. “Average performance isn’t going to fly for everyone,” Golden says. When you find that talent, hold onto it, cultivate it however you can. But also know that, sometimes, the best people aren’t always working for you.

5-   Get good at delivering bad news. The ability to convey bad news without damaging a relationship makes you very valuable. Bad news has to be delivered from time to time. So smooth it over the best that you can, and introduce enough counter balance so it turns out okay.

6-   Keep your eye on technology. Don’t lose track of where technology is. It will leave you in the dust faster than you can imagine if you don’t get on board and hold on. It is going to keep moving. Golden says it’s fascinating to see the competitive difference between companies that adapt with the right technologies. “You have to be smart on the new things—because you might go the wrong way.”

7-   Find the balance between technical and people skills. You need both. You need that personality. You need the credibility that comes from knowing what you’re doing. Wherever you lack, add strength so there is a balance where you can better move forward in your career.

8-   Affect change instead of reacting to change. ”We like comfort; human beings like the status quo,” says Golden. “It’s human nature that when someone throws something else on the table, it shifts the paradigm.” Instead of avoiding changes, get on board and make the change work with what you have. If you don’t it may hold you back. Be flexible and look at it as a new window of opportunity. It may be hard, but those are the times where you learn the most.

9-   Ask for help if you need it. Don’t think you have to do everything yourself; use your network. ”Think to yourself, ‘who can help out here?’ Don’t be afraid get help when you need it.” Recognize when you’re getting in too deep. In fact, you’ll be regarded more highly if you get help. Golden says there is no shame in asking for help in the business world.

10-   Give back. The business community provides you with a job to build your lifestyle. The strength of the business community is so important to the future and it relies on everyone. Do something in the community to help. Golden says giving back is “not just donations, but time and investment in helping promote business, to help it thrive and grow.”

Golden says the apathy many people have fallen into over the past couple of decades won’t cut it—we should be involved and encourage others to be so as well. And of course, Golden threw out the fact that while you’re helping give back, you can build your network.

The tips Golden shared largely revolve around how getting to know people and recognizing how everyone can contribute as the main ways to succeed in today’s business climate.

To learn more about the Capitol Club, CLICK HERE.

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