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Leonard Lauder
Leonard Lauder
Chairman, The Estée Lauder Companies

The best advice I ever got came from my mother, Estée Lauder: She believed that if you had something good to say, you should put it in writing. But if you had something bad to say, you should tell the person to his or her face.

I learned this lesson the hard way. I'm chairman of the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York, and several years ago, I was angry with one of my trustees. I wrote a letter and signed it. But then I decided not to send the letter, and left it on my desk over the weekend. The following Monday I was out of the office, when a temp saw the letter and mailed it. The trustee got very angry and resigned from the board. To this day, writing that letter is something that I regret.

NEXT: Nell Minow
Last updated April 30 2008: 4:31 PM ET
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