Learning from the true masters

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Luisella Lissoni

An Italian art school master was saying how when he learnt his art in the 1960s and 1970s he studied under a master for 10 years.

It made me think about where can study business and other fields today. Business school education abounds. But the “masters” are often people who have never run their own business. They are not hands-on practitioners of the art of business.

When I was starting out I learnt the business of publishing under the guidance of a small independent publisher. It was a three-year stint but the lessons learnt about business and craft were invaluable.

These lessons on working hard and smart have stayed with me for the rest of my business career. The main thing I learned is to be proactive. Another lesson: possess the necessary confidence to do what it takes whether it is in a new field, a new subject or new undertaking. But most of all I have learnt work ethic.

In years gone by trade and crafts people were apprenticed to a master who was running a small business whether it was a school, workshop or enterprise. These days opportunities like this don’t exist, except in some specialised areas.

Moving forward, I have learnt under “masters” or seasoned specialists in the country where I live, the United States and the United Kingdom. I spent a week with a master practitioner in the UK learning and working and then after the day settling down for a cold one at a restaurant and continuing to discuss the work and learning from the day.

In recent years I was fortunate to learn and study and practice in a specialised business field under a long-standing professional, who is the leader in the field. His teachings have provided a jumpstart to my entry into the profession and the support of excellent professional colleagues and associates.

After practising for more than 40 years in one specialised business field, I am providing young people and others with the tools, techniques and learnings that I have accumulated. The greatest joy is the fulfilment of seeing people grow as they are guided to seize the opportunities that are still available in a turbulent, disruptive world and can help them shape their livelihoods with meaning and purpose.

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