As far as inspirational leaders go, Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour is the reigning queen of getting to the top through originality, pushing boundaries and maintaining a clear vision. Here are five career lessons to apply to help you make the rest of 2016 a success.
1 Do not follow in anyone else’s footsteps
Anna has admitted many times that she comes from a highly academic family, with her siblings and extended family having graduated from prestigious universities such as Harvard, Cambridge and Oxford. Instead of continuing her family’s legacy, she left school at 16 and immediately garnered a position as a fashion assistant at Harper’s & Queen in the UK. The risk of not studying paid off, as Anna would eventually land the role of editor at Vogue.
2 Do not become over-specialised
‘Be intellectually free. Try lots and lots of different things,’ Anna said when she addressed the Oxford Union earlier this year, speaking about the media industry, fashion and her life experiences. While she favours pursuing ambitions, we must remember not to close ourselves off to other callings in today’s ever-changing world.
3 Do not fear failure
Anna may be strong and composed but that doesn’t mean she hasn’t experienced and embraced career setbacks. She says, ‘Everyone should be sacked at least once in their career because perfection doesn’t exist.’ She was infamously fired from her first job at Harper’s & Queen after only nine months. ‘It’s important to have setbacks because that’s the reality of life,’ she revealed in Alastair Campbell’s book Winners And How They Succeed.
4 Communication is key
To succeed in business, you have to be transparent with your colleagues and get involved with different departments within your company. ‘The fabric editor had to make an appointment to see the shoe editor, and God forbid the features department would actually talk to the fashion department,’ Anna says as she recalls her first days at US Vogue, and how the lack of communication lead to ‘missed opportunities for the magazine’.
5 Do not be narrow in your focus
‘When you understand the nuts and bolts of how something works, it makes you better at what you are doing, rather than just being good at one thing,’ she says, recommending that you do not become set in the everyday, monotonous routine but rather venture out and push yourself to know more, and do more. Cultivating your personal point of view will help you excel in the long run.
View Anna’s full address at the Oxford Union here, for more tips and advice:
This article was originally published on Marieclaire.co.za