Iâ€™m always interested in learning how people challenge basic premises – common knowledge or personal prejudices – only to find that theyâ€™re wrong and self-limiting. Only by recognizing the truth, can we realize our potential when it comes to our lives, companies and communities. Thatâ€™s the thinking behind the Wachs-Berger test which identified football-brilliant skills that traditional aptitude tests couldnâ€™t measure and Billy Beanâ€™s unique approach to recruiting a winning team of baseball players for the Oakland Athletics (see MoneyBall). Itâ€™s one of the reasons I enjoy serving as a trusted advisor, executive coach and Vistage chair: I have the privilege of working with people who are willing to explore â€œdifferent boxesâ€ in order to grow.
Lewis Schiff, in Business Brilliant, uses research Russ Prince and he collected several years ago to compare the views of middle-class respondents (people with incomes in the upper third quartile of the US (e.g., $50-$80,0000) and accumulated wealth putting them in the top 10% of US households to self-made millionaires whose net worth, through only their own earnings, ranged from $1-10 million. On many criteria, education, marital status, family size, the groups were fairly similar; on financial aspirations they also were similar, with 85% of both agreeing that â€œmoney can buy happinessâ€.
He discovered that the middle-class respondents were blind to the mechanisms in how wealth is produced according to the self-made millionaires. For instance, while the formerÂ believed people should â€œdo what I love and allow the money to followâ€ , the latter believed people should â€œdo what you love, but follow the moneyâ€. Similarly, while the former focused on increasing savings â€“ as Suze Orman recommends, the latter focused on earning more â€“ often by simply asking for more, because theyâ€™ll often get it!Â A few more differences: self-made millionaires are less concerned with innovating and more concerned with imitating and adapting ideas; while â€œknowledge (â€œknow what and howâ€ ) is important, knowing the right people (â€œknow whoâ€Â is often more important; and finally, while no-one likes to failure, self-made millionaires more often say setbacks and failures as important teachers concerning what they should and shouldnâ€™t do.
Schiff concludes his analysis by identifying four areas of daily activity that successful self-made entrepreneurs undertake more efficiently and consistently that most people. They form the acronym LEAP:
L earning what they do best and pursuing opportunities to do what they do best
E arning through projects/deals that maximize dollar potential, while limiting downside risks
A ssistance by cultivating networks of friends, partners and associates to get advice and help on taks beyond the bounds of what they do best.Â (Thatâ€™s the power of Vistageâ€™s Peer groups!)
P ersistance means taking an authentic interest in oneâ€™s setbacks as an important and necessary aspect of the success process.
How would you rate yourself as a person willing to take the LEAP to self-made wealth? Schiff subdivides these categories into a list of 17 Essentials of Business Brilliance you may want to read the book to identify themÂ — and then explore which of your preconceived notions regarding wealth generation are holding you back!
* Jerry Cahn, Ph.D., J.D. is a Vistage Chair in New York City working with business owners and CEOs. For more information contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com or 646-290-7664.