Any teacher will tell you that students usually fall into one of three groups – the overachiever, the average student and the underperformer.
This is also true in the business world.
There are those people who work their ass off and get stuff done.
There are those that just do what’s necessary. And then there are those that make you wonder how they keep their job.
I once heard that the secret to getting good people was not how much you train them, how much you paid them or the offers you make them. The key to having good people on your team is by hiring good people.
You don’t make good people, you find them.
Pondering this fact the other day I wondered just what were abilities separated the winners from the rest of the pack.
I came up with four.
We have all been blessed with the first three and as a result, we have become the dominant species on this planet.
Being able to think and then communicate our thoughts between one another has allowed us to work together to achieve all that we have today.
In fact, in business the ability to communicate is probably the most overlooked skill.
We go to school for years and very little time is spent giving presentations. We are given tests and homework, but told to do them on our own.
And yet, out in the real world, everything’s a team game.
In fact, if you try and do everything by yourself, you may find yourself in an early grave.
I recently discovered that Toastmasters has a club right here in Osaka so I’m hoping to join early next year just as soon as my schedule allows it.
The ability to speak effectively is something that is needed in negotiation, in sales, in meetings, in practically every facet of business.
There are those people who think they are good at persuading people to see their point of view, but in my experience this is usually short-lived. They sound good, but when pressed they lose their composure. They rely on smoke and mirrors instead of preparation and true salesmanship.
The third ability, the ability to adapt is a crucial one because so many people get bogged down with one idea.
Even when they have a lemon on their hands, they just aren’t willing to cut their losses.
But in life you can’t always hit home runs. You will strike-out from time to time.
Speaking from personal experience I have had to walk away from 4 deals to the tune of around $30,000.
Was it painful? Sure.
Would I want to go through it again? Heck no.
But I will admit that they were great lessons.
Why was I willing to walk away? Because they weren’t everything I had.
My belief in any business or investment deal is to never bet the farm on it. Bet only what you are willing to lose.
Then, if you do lose, you still have something to fall back on.
The fourth ability is the ability to read. Thankfully the world has made great strides over the past century to help get more and more people educated and probably the single greatest thing about schooling is that it teaches us how to read.
What is unfortunate is that most of us don’t put it to good use. I know I didn’t. I was of the opinion that if something was worth reading, they should make it into a movie.
I read Agatha Christie because I liked mysteries and had way too much time on my hands back in my junior year of college, but beyond that I had pretty much let this skill go to waste.
That is, until I got serious about my own future and success.
5 years ago I started reading in search of answers on how to turn around my business and since then I’ve learnt the one lesson that most kids today miss out – that reading can open our hearts and minds to the greatest ideas out there.
In school we spend time reading the works of Platt, Shakespeare and Yeats. Classics, but not that helpful for dealing with the world today.
I wholeheartedly believe that if the education system simply moved away from the classics and into more practical material that students would take more interest.
Unfortunately, many people’s personal reading lists consist of:
- Celebrity gossip
- Yahoo news
- Our favorite hobby sites
While not deadly if taken in small doses and not if you balance it out, when one ingests copious amounts of the stuff then they’re not really setting themselves up for success, are they?! (although Facebook can used that way)
I have found that the saying is true – leaders are readers.
But they must choose the right books.
Just what are the right books? That depends on what you want to achieve.
But there are some areas that we should take the time to study.
The best thing about reading and the other three abilities is that they can be taught, they can be learnt, and they can be improved.
Success really isn’t that hard. All the information we would ever need is available to us in the form of books, CDs and DVDs. All within reach.
We like to find excuses why not to do the things we should and success is no exception.
We could improve ourselves and achieve everything we want, but will we?
Most people choose to take the easy way out. Not me. And not you.
You’re here reading this – that separates you from the crowd.
We’re halfway there…keep at it and I’ll see you at the finish line.