Here’s the best business advice we’ve collected this year as part of our regular My Net Worth series featuring New Zealand’s top business, political and legal minds.

There’s no winning Lotto in business. You’ve got to do the hard yards. When things look amazing, they are often actually too good to be true. 

– Helen Robinson, chief executive of Oi (the Organic Initiative) 

My best advice is to be authentic with yourself. I remember a group of people saying when I was appointed chief financial officer, “Oh, it’s good that someone like you got that role”, and what they meant was that I am more of a consensus person than an orders person and I’m open about myself, so I try not to turn myself into what is a typical CEO. 

– Antonia Watson, chief executive, ANZ Bank  

One of the most important things I’ve learnt in business is you've got to have courage. Too many times I see people being too fearful. Take risks – not stupid ones, though. It’s about trying things. I've made plenty of mistakes, you remember those, but also retain the courage to keep trying.

 – Martin Stewart, former chief executive, Sky Network Television

The best piece of business advice I can give is that finding failures, and accepting them, is the prerequisite to developing a learning culture and ultimately succeeding. Don’t dress the failures up as success – you’re only cheating yourself out of the eventual victory.

– Dean Hall, chief executive, Rocketwerkz game-design company

My best piece of political advice is from the former leader of the Canadian Liberal Party Michael Ignatieff: “Know who you do your politics for.” For me, it’s for people who aren’t born with great opportunity. 

– David Seymour, leader, Act Party 

The first thing I learnt was to listen, and that goes a lot further than talking – especially in the early days when you are still learning.

– Pablo Kraus, director, Ecostore

In a competitive environment, businesses only survive if they give their customers what they want at the right price – that’s the best way they can serve their fellow New Zealanders. 

– Paul Goldsmith, National MP and former Cabinet minister

My general philosophy is to hire really good people, as many smart people as you can find, and set them loose. 

– David McLean, chief executive, Westpac 

All the things I worried about early in my career, I still worry about now. If you are going to have a hard conversation about job losses, it doesn’t matter how many times you’ve done it, it’s always awful.

– Jason Paris, chief executive, Vodafone NZ