MPW Insider is an online community where the biggest names in business and beyond answer timely career and leadership questions. Today’s answer for: What are three skills that are critical to success? is written by Bobbi Brown, founder and chief creative officer of Bobbi Brown Cosmetic.
Everyone has their own definition of success. For me, as an entrepreneur and founder of Bobbi Brown Cosmetics, I view success as achieving business goals and delivering results while remaining authentic to my brand. In my personal life, I define success as a happy and healthy relationship with my family and friends, and above all, myself. So to achieve success in work and life, you need to master three skills:
Creative and strategic thinking
You often hear people describe themselves as more right brained or left brained, but the truth is, we all have the ability to tap into both. You may be more creative than you are strategic, or vice versa, but the ability to harness both — or at least have an understanding of both — is important in your professional and personal life. As chief creative officer, I pride myself on my creativity and consider myself a visual learner. However, I still have (and need) a fundamental understanding of how the business works and am very involved in helping my teams develop the overall business plan and brand strategy.
The most successful people I know can come up with a great idea, but they also know how to make that idea come to life. They see the big picture not just their piece of the puzzle. You don’t have to be great at both – you just have to be open to continuing to challenge yourself. If one skill is more dominant, partner with someone who balances you out. This way you can learn from them and tap into your weaker skillset to ultimately, make it stronger.
It goes without saying that communication skills are paramount in the workplace, but it is how you communicate that can make the biggest impact. Speak up, contribute ideas, share opinions, provide feedback – and do it often and honestly. I encourage my teams to tell me the truth and not just what they think I want to hear. That gets us nowhere. Effective communication comes down to honest dialogue. It’s the most productive use of your time and delivers effective results.
Agility is a skill that isn’t easy to master. We often get stuck doing things a certain way, and forget the importance of being open to change. More importantly, being solution oriented can get you very far in the workplace — and in life. I always say that when a door shuts, find a window. I also make an effort to surround myself with people who are positive. Nobody wants a negative person on his/her team. My best employees know what I want and how to get it done — regardless of how difficult the task may be.