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Workforce Longevity: CEO Stan Bergman of Henry Schein highlights what he has learned in 25 years

I've Had the Same Job for 25 Years. Here's What I've Learned.


August 11, 2015
by Stanley M. Bergman Chairman of the Board and CEO of Henry Schein, Inc.

It’s that time of year when millennials are starting their first job out of college or, perhaps, continuing the search. I’ve been in my job for 25 years, which is rare nowadays, especially for CEOs. I’ve managed to stay in mine so long in large part because it’s been more than a job – it’s a career built upon the nine lessons listed below. These lessons are timeless, universal, and applicable to any position or industry. Let’s call it the Career List. Give it a read, and then give the lessons a try.

1. Listen, observe and learn – This is not LOL as today’s generation knows it, but instead the very first rule to follow when joining any new organization. When you start that new job, get to know the people and the culture before you start offering expert opinions. Your new colleagues will appreciate the respect and humility.

2. Do what you say you’re going to do – Now that you’ve got the new job, absorb this rule. It is the simplest lesson of all, and yet the one that too many people fail to follow. If you say you’re going to do something – make a phone call, write an email, visit a customer – then do it. Always, always, always follow up on your commitments. As my colleague and friend Gerry Benjamin likes to say, “It’s all about the details.”

3. Be flexible – Markets and technologies always change. Successful people change at least as fast as the markets they serve. Embrace new opportunities and focus on the greater good of the organization. In a successful, forward-thinking company, you will be rewarded.

4. Move up and around, not always out – The notion that it’s a bad idea to stay at one company for your entire career is nonsense. At successful, “intrapreneurial” companies, people have opportunities to move up and around within the organization, which keeps everyone engaged and reinforces the culture. Don’t regard longevity as a turn-off but as a privilege.

5. “Anticipate where the puck is going” – Another colleague and friend, Jim Breslawski, is a hockey fan, and he likes to cite this quote from the hockey great Wayne Gretzky. Jim has taught me that the best hockey players anticipate where the puck is headed next instead of skating to where the puck is at that very moment. Do the same in your career. Figure out where the markets are going and get there first. Once you’re there, focus on where you can really succeed. As Jim also likes to say: “We can do anything, but we can’t do everything.”

To continue reading, please visit: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/ive-had-same-job-25-years-heres-what-learned-stanley-bergman?published=t.