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Lessons Learnt – with Workplace’s Nazir Ul-Ghani

Next in this series of Lessons Learnt, Moneypenny Group CEO, Joanna Swash, talks to Nazir Ul-Ghani, Head of Workplace from Facebook

Moneypenny itself uses Workplace to keep employees connected with each other, and updated with all the important news from the business.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?


I think the best piece of advice I’ve ever been given has been ‘take care of yourself and your friends’. I don’t know whether you like watching old movies but I’m a bit of an Audrey Hepburn fan.

There’s a saying she has that goes: ‘As you get older, you discover that you have two arms, two hands, one if for helping yourself, and one is for helping others.’

I love that. You have to take care of yourself as well as your friends, and as you begin your career and build your network you need to have people around you who celebrate your success and to help you through those difficult times.

But you also need to show up. For yourself and for them, and that’s probably the best advice I’ve received.

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made – that you’d like to admit to – and what’s your learning?

I worked for an American company called Woodman Harden. We left that when it got sold to set up a Microsoft consultancy business.

It was probably the best thing I ever did because it was the first venture being an entrepreneur, going alone and having part of a business.

But I realised five years in it was a mistake because a consultancy business is really hard! I wouldn’t do that again.

I remember back then, we were trying to build a hosted exchange solution for Microsoft, this was about 2005. We were way beyond where the infrastructure would support it.

So I learnt a great deal – that I’m not very good at product development. It’s all down to timing as well, the timing probably wasn’t right. We have to learn from mistakes.

There’s another phrase I like: ‘For every outside, there’s an inside.’ I really believe that; it’s always hard to think, and take advice on things that haven’t gone right, when on reflection we all can.

There’s a Mother Teresa saying:

‘If you judge people, you have no time to love them.’

I think we judge people too quickly these days, amongst other things – from their failures to who they are and what they look like, so I think we should stop trying to do that.

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