Advice for a Successful Career


By Phil Harwood 

One of the questions that I am frequently asked is what advice I have for a younger person in our industry. This is an interesting question and somewhat humbling. In many ways, I don’t believe that I have achieved the level of success that I was aiming for. Perhaps that higher level of success is still yet to come. On the other hand, my career has been very rewarding and every day I feel blessed.

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In responding to this question, I like to simply share what has worked for me in my career. This may not be what works for everyone else. I’ll leave it to others to discuss what has worked for them.
The first thing that has worked for me is that I have always placed a high value on work ethic. I grew up in a family business, where we all worked to the best of our ability for the sake of the business, our clients, and our family. Of course, when I was younger, I thought I was only working for spending money, to buy baseball cards or whatever. Looking back, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to learn about showing up, giving my best work, and being efficient. Throughout my career, I have always strived to be early, to be prepared, and to give my best effort. This has served me well.
The second thing that has worked for me is that I have always been hungry to learn. Even as a youngster, I could not wait to get home after school and read the daily newspaper. I was never a bookworm and preferred to be outside playing sports. But, at the same time, I was fascinated by business, economics, politics, and culture. There was so much to learn and the more I learned about a subject, the more I realized how little I knew about it. This realization simply inspired me to keep learning.
I recognize that not everyone has had the opportunity to receive a formal education after high school. I have been fortunate to have completed a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and am closing in on finishing a doctoral degree. However, these degrees are worthless unless they are applied in a practical, meaningful way that benefits others. Education is a means to an end and I believe that being hungry to learn has served me well.
The third thing that has worked for me is to be of service to others. I was taught at a young age to put the needs of other people ahead of my own needs. Even as a youngster, I recognized that this approach involved some self-sacrifice and came at a cost. But I have always truly believed that serving others is the right thing to do and that the cost of doing the right thing is just part of the deal.
Because I have taken this approach, I have developed a reputation for being someone who cares about others, who is willing to give of my time, and to be a resource for others. Having a good reputation has served me well throughout my career.
Hard work, lifelong learning, and service to others are three of the hallmarks of my career. And they have served me well.
What about you? What values have been present in your career? Or if you’re early in your career, what values are you focused on? I’d love to hear from you.

Did you know that has two different courses focused on building your company’s culture? These courses provide insight into how to leverage your values in a way that strengthens your company culture. 

If you have questions or feedback, I’d love to hear from you. My email is 
Now go forth.

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