THE BLOG
01/29/2015 11:27 am ET Updated Mar 31, 2015

Finance Industry Leader Shares His Best Secrets to Success

Whether it's Warren Buffett's top three investment strategies or the one thing Bill Gates says parents should do when raising a child, we often find articles touting recommendations of powerful industry leaders. Advice from highly successful people resonates with the general public because, honestly, many of us try to emulate proven strategies for performance and success.

It doesn't matter if you work in finance, technology, design or any other industry, we can all learn something from how these luminaries approach professional obstacles, and the skills they hone to reach the top of their respective fields.

Howard Marks is one such luminary: an iconic financial influencer. As Co-Chairman and Co-Founder of Oaktree Capital Management -- one of the world's leading alternative investment management companies -- he leads a team of over 900 employees in 17 locations across the globe in managing over $93 billion dollars.

Marks of course didn't waltz right into this position; it was a journey, with key junctures and significant moments along the way demanding critical decision making to pave the path.

In this first episode of the new web series Corner Office Confidential, Marks shares his story and journey, and the wisdom he has gained along the way.

Here are a few of Marks' key lessons:

"Success is when preparation meets opportunity."

According to Marks, favorable circumstances help when it comes to being successful. Qualities like hard work, preparation, and IQ are essential to professional achievement. However, Marks readily admits that luck and "catching a break" definitely matter in reaching the top. Being the best and brightest in your work doesn't guarantee a successful career; you must actively seek out windows of opportunity in order to reach that high point.

"Perfect is the enemy of good."

When Marks left TCW in 1995 to found Oaktree along with four other partners, he doesn't claim it was the "perfect time" to make that move. Rather, he says it was a "good time." Why? Because Marks believes that you rarely know the "perfect time" to take action in your career. That kind of forecast is inherently uncertain and unpredictable. Consider when it is a "good enough time" to make a change -- take the leap when you are confident in what you are doing and have a proven track record.

Aim to be the "best athlete."

Marks surrounds himself with people who are smart, talented and motivated. But he also stresses the importance of being a team player. If you strive to collaborate with your colleagues, work well with others and become the kind of coworker that people want to be around, you're more likely to be a success.

For more of Howard Marks' remarks on education, strategy, and the journey to the top, check out the full episode of Corner Office Confidential above. Look for new episodes of Corner Office Confidential every month.