leadership

Why Wisdom?

Why Wisdom?

Wisdom, rather than products, information, or knowledge, has become the most prized commodity in the 21st Century. Why? Because wisdom is the glue. It’s the “how” and the “why” that empowers and directs all of those “what's” out there. Without it, we cannot function effectively, cannot manage change adroitly and cannot navigate the extraordinary shifts in our civilization that have occurred in the span of less than twenty-five years. Wisdom is the single greatest asset you possess and a prized advantage for your ideal market if you can identify, package and monetize it well.

This is the shift - top down to WisdomDriven

In fact, in the face of the extraordinary changes that have occurred, the very survival of your business is based on becoming a wisdom-centered enterprise. No other business structure or perspective provides you with as much power, control, and the flexibility to navigate today’s choppy waters of commerce.

By building your organization with wisdom at its heart, you can differentiate and sell your services or products easier, you can unify, train and motivate your team better and transform the relationships you have with your clients into those of collaboration, mutual education, and insight development. Building a Wisdom Driven Practice might be a path to survival in some regards but for many others, it is the most direct route to an incredible expression of their natural gifts and wondrous financial reward.

The Wisdom LInk

Intellectual Capital as Your Sales Tool

intellectual property

So how does the wisdom inside your head become an asset?  How does your intellectual capital help advance your immediate sales and marketing needs?  You turn that wisdom of yours into a product.

For most of our clients WHAT they do from a 40,000 ft. view isn't so very different from anyone else.  But HOW they do it, and WHY they do it is TOTALLY unique and quite often is the "secret sauce" for all their success.  The genius of their business lives in the HOW and the WHY not the products or services themselves.  And if prodded, most of my clients will relate a very unique, hard-won perspective on the work the do, how to do it well, and how to create optimal results.  Sometimes they know it's powerful.  Sometimes they think it's common sense.

So let's agree that the wisdom, insight, and lessons learned in the trenches ARE the most important assets your company possess.  Want proof?  Try training a junior to do what you do without all the wisdom behind it and see how well they perform.  Well, if you can't scale since you can't train, then what you've built is a business that ends with you.

So don't stop selling the way you've been all these years to take on some new gimmick.  Instead, take what's working to a new level by naming it, explaining how it works with a graphic and outline how that unique worldview perspective you have (no matter what it is) communicates into a totally unique experience for clients.

The Time Traveler’s Trick

Carpe Diem  

Every once in a while, I hear a familiar song from my youth on the radio and find myself enjoying a guilty pleasure.  I take a little time and daydream about being able to go back in time to 1992.  That was 24 years ago and I was 20.  You've seen it in movies enough...you know the fantasy.

I imagine being my 40-year old self in a twenty year olds’ body back in San Diego where I grew up.   I think back on all the time I wasted on the wrong things, all the opportunities I wasted and all the moments that I wasn’t present for, thinking about the future or thinking about the past. I think about the risks I didn’t take, the imagination, confidence and courage I lacked and the adventures I didn’t say yes to.

So, I imagine going back in time, buying a crap load of Apple and Google stock and then goofing off in grand style.  I think of all the cool things I would do, the car I would buy, all the girls I’d hit on, and all the wild times I’d have.  I think about taking classes in painting, political science, art history, and anthropology, traveling to Italy, biking across the country and getting in better shape while my body was younger.  I imagine I’d spend more time with my Grampa Bill.  I’d apply myself even more in school.  I’d worry a lot less and enjoy a lot more.

Of course, in my little daydream everything seems so much simpler, manageable because I'd know the future.  So the world feels smaller, safer and like one I could dominate.  I would go meet Steve Jobs just to say I had, I’d see Kurt Cobain and talk him down, I’d head to Wall Street or Hollywood and make my mark because in the past I’d be like some sort of superhero knowing what I know about the future.

Then I come back to the present.  I remember I should probably not long for the past and I feel a little guilty for dwelling on it.  But there is a powerful lesson in this exercise and I’ve learned how to harvest the insights from this commonplace fantasy to turn it into a powerful life changing activity.  Here’s the insight that makes this exercise a useful one:

I remember that one day, many years from now, I’ll be 60 years old and if I’m not careful I’ll be thinking the same thing about being 40(“How could I have wasted my youth?  How could I have squandered so many opportunities?  Why wasn’t I MORE bold?”). So, I ask myself, what should I be doing NOW so that twenty years from now when I look back, I’ll admire myself even more instead of feeling any regret?

Step One:  Enjoy the daydream.  Think about all the things you’d do.

Step Two:  Make a list of activities and what needs they speak to (travel, love, risk, diligence, education, expression)

Step Three:  Imagine being 20 years older and looking back on your life now  - your conscience should tell you about what you know isn’t working or isn’t helpful.  You know what you need to fix, you just need to tell the truth.

Step Four:  Make a list of mountains to climb, people to fire or reconcile with, goals to chase or time to spend being present.

Make the commitment and allow yourself to get scared enough about the passage of time to get moving.  If you need an extra dose of reality, remember you might not even have twenty years.  gulp.

Here’s the point:  Carpe Diem.  Time’s-a-wasting, You know RIGHT NOW what you should be doing.  Life is short so go live the hell out of it.

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. “

Theodore Roosevelt

Excerpt from the speech "Citizenship In A Republic"

Delivered at the Sorbonne, in Paris, France on 23 April, 1910

Stop Being a Vendor!

vendor  

My clients have to tolerate a surprising amount of cheekiness from me.  I tell them the truth as I see it and I am fairly consistent in my outspoken directness about what I see is happening with their practice, how their worldview is impacting their growth, what their options are and what I think they might consider to move things forward.  I’m not right all the time but I let er rip as best as I can.

And for all the terrifyingly candid moments that have made me prematurely grey in the head, my reward is that I am seldom treated like a vendor.  And so it’s worth it.

As I see it, a vendor does the job they were paid for.  A vendor doesn’t question the almighty client.  Especially if that client wants to spend money.  A vendor doesn’t set ROI objectives and doesn’t want to be held accountable.  A vendor is a guy standing on the side of the pool with a life preserver waiting to be asked to throw it in when someone is drowning.  And then they have the extraordinary audacity to wonder why they are treated like an outsider! It’s the appallingly ignorant, infuriating stupidity of people like this that has allowed us and our little company to create a solid following of clients and friends.

We like to think of ourselves as Advocates.  That means that I am always seeking ways to serve my clients.  Even if that means we fire them.  Even if that means we sell away.  Even if that means we tell them “THE BAD NEWS” whatever it is.  That their goal is too high or their logic is flawed.  Yes, I know we’re not supposed to be so mouthy but since I’ve owned this company and have hired several of my own “vendors” I’ve seen the vast distance between how “out there” we are and how stupid, irresponsible and lazy other people can be.  And to tell you the truth, I like it our way a whole lot.

Here’s a story:  I had a woman sit with me for a cup of coffee who works in my industry.  She explained that she loves it when clients are crazy and like to make all kinds of changes to their work – even if it’s not in their best interests.  “What do I care?” she laughed, “I charge them by the hour!  Be as crazy as you want!”

Well, I was appalled.  If I had a client that was so lost in the weeds I’d consider it our responsibility to smack some sense into them.  Out there?  Yep.  Risky?  Totally.  But when it comes to the battlefield of business do you need another lazy vendor taking your money and telling you whatever you want to hear instead of providing some real leadership and creativity?  Or do want to hire a real partner who cares about your success?  Of course!

So if we take it as a general assumption that being an advocate is the superior position, here’s the million dollar question:  How do you cross the line on behalf of the people you serve?  How will you get out of your comfort zone and serve?

 

Arrival by Abduction

entrepreneur The path to prosperity evolves through sacrifice and often consists of long hours, sleep deprivation, and a justification for devaluing our personal priorities. We do “all of the right things”. We put our head down and fight. We innovate, and we work harder and faster.

When we arrive at the destination (the promotion, pay increase, revenue goal), we often find that we are exhausted, defeated and lacking the satisfaction we’d hoped for.

Unfortunately our assumption about success is defined in monetary value and job titles that society has determined.

We never looked up and asked, “What the hell am I working so hard for?” Your dedication continues to remain irrelevant.

Relevance Begins With Vision:

Vision creates power, builds anticipation, influences followers, and cultivates extraordinary results. Vision is the foundation of YOUR destination.

History’s Leaders created unbelievable outcomes by defining their destination. Their clarity of vision formed the energy needed to support the sacrifice and drive the result. We are familiar with the journey of those that were the greatest at defining their vision:

Martin Luther King – “I have a dream”

John F Kennedy – “We will put a man on the moon”

Walt Disney – “If you can dream it, you can do it”

Begin today; create your destination of arrival. Define what you are working towards before accepting and allowing the next opportunity to exert you towards the wrong outcome.

How do YOU know when you have arrived?

  • Define the specific quality of life you are seeking and know why you want it.
  • Imagine only the things you want to happen and expect it to happen.
  • Imagine how it feels to arrive in this moment.

Command your arrival! Create your moment.

  1. Write your speech for THAT day.
  2. Write YOUR perfect day.
  3. Keep a journal for gratification of YOUR path.
  4. Create YOUR vision board, acknowledge daily.

At The Wisdom Link, we work with the top 1% entrepreneurs in the US, UK and Canada. We recognize that many may have the same commodity; they have identical habits that contribute to their success. They are each different however. What differentiates them from the marketplace is what lies at the “heart” of the business. They too, like our leaders in history, began with THEIR vision.

“If you are working on something exciting, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” –Steve Jobs

How Do I: Transfer a Client Relationship to an Associate?

Transfer a Client  

Whether your goals are to scale back or step out of the business as the main producer, you need people-GREAT people. You will want them to carry your banner, provide great service, and even make the company better. So, if you find these great people, how can you set them up to win with your clients?

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot from many professional advisors about how best to lay the groundwork for a new associate to be successful. Here are some of the top pieces of advice I’ve collected and derived from supporting successful entrepreneurs:

  1. Transition comes from Introducing & Reintroducing

The transfer is not a one-and-done deal. It is more of a transition, especially if you want the client to feel well cared for and appreciative. You should bring your associate to each and every client meeting. During the meeting refer to them for important information (something that can be prepared ahead of time), coach your associate so that they understand how their prior experience is applicable to the client you’re about to meet. Position your associate like a specialist (rather than a junior, not-as-good-as-you version of you), someone whom you trust, respect, and look to for input. Your clients will respect the people YOU respect.

  1. Confidence comes from Capability

Capability goes beyond the necessary industry knowledge and skill. Your associate will need to understand two important things:

Your Market – very specifically – what your niche clients are dealing with, what they are looking for, and what they get from you that they can’t get anywhere else.

Your Process – arm your associates with a very clear understanding of what you believe in and, therefore, HOW you service your clients (the actual steps). You will want them to understand how to provide sound leadership going forward.

  1. Credibility comes from Keeping Promises

Your associate does not have to start-out as amazing as you are. They don’t have to knock your clients’ socks off. What they do need to do is establish trust and reliability. This can be done by consciously making small promises AND KEEPING THEM.

For example:

“Mr. Smith, I’d be happy to send you that report. I’ll have it to you by Wednesday” (Send it to Mr. Smith by Tuesday)

“Mrs. Jones, I ran across an article that addresses the issue you mentioned in the meeting today. I’d like to share it with you.” (Send it right after the meeting)

If your associate is reliable, you’ll soon find that your clients have begun to consider them worthy of expectations.

Think about the people YOU rely on, trust, and would refer.  Take the time to invest in your GREAT people and help them to be THAT person for your clients.