By Chantal Lapicola
Marriott Business School Honored Alumni Award recipient Gary P. Williams spoke Thursday, Oct. 9 about the integrity of ascent through the business world as the annual honorary alumni lecture.
Williams compared his hike to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro three years ago with three of his children to how students can ascend the mountain of success in business.
“There are four principles important to success [in business]: planning, preparation, listening, and obedience,” Williams said.
To plan, students must develop and commit to worthy lifetime goals, Williams said.
“We looked at many optional routes up the mountain,” Williams said. “We chose the one the longest route, but it had a 90 percent success rate compared to the other routes that had a 50 percent success rate.”
Choosing the longer trail allowed the group to adjust to the altitude more easily, so they would not get altitude sickness, Williams.
Williams quoted David O. McKay. “The greatest mistake in this life is giving up what we want most for what we want right now,” he said.
To take a strategic path in business, students should set realist goals. They should record the goals, review them often and not be afraid to adjust along the way, he said.
The second principle is to prepare by getting an education, learning skills and executing with vigor, Williams said.
During the hike, the group had to prepare to hike at higher altitudes, by putting one foot in front of the other, Williams said.
“Students need to get an education, not just a degree,” Williams said.
While in school, students should learn to love the tough classes, seek opportunities for applied experiences, take risks in the classroom and be involved in extracurricular activities, Williams said.
The third principle is to listen to and seek counsel from trusted people.
On the first day of the hike, Williams suffered from severe blisters on his feet. He was discouraged about the rest of the hike, so he asked his guide what to do. The guide told him to take things one step at a time.
The fourth principle is to obey, listen to your conscience and be true to yourself.
“On the hike, my children felt bad for the porters whose job it was to carry all the back breaking equipment,” Williams said. “They helped them out as much as they could and developed a loving relationship with them.”
Adopting and living correct principles allowed the group to reach the summit, Williams said.
“Cutting corners will hinder our ability to reach the summit,” he said.
“Cast your own light on the future and achieve success in your career through integrity in planning, preparing, listening and obeying,” he said.