Then watch this by Jim Valvano. This is my favorite speech ever.
Then watch this by Jim Valvano. This is my favorite speech ever.
“All I want to know is where I’m going to die so I’ll never go there.” – Charlie Munger
Inversion is one of the few things that has had the most impact on the way I go about thinking about things.
Instead of focusing on what I want, I’ve found it to be just as useful to think about what I don’t want, and then figuring out how to avoid those things.
At work I spent hours coming up with ideas on how we could be more innovative, but I didn’t have my best ideas until I looked at things that were getting in the way of us being more innovative and then figuring out how to get rid of those.
I learned about this first from reading Poor Charlie’s Almanack, which is one of the best books ever published in my opinion.
There is a growing amount of uncertainty in my line of work (more about that here if you’re interested).
Naturally clients have been asking more questions like, “Why is this happening?”, and “What’s going on?”
Initially in my career I would never have admitted to a client that the answer to their burning question is “I don’t know”.
As I have learned more throughout my career I’ve realized that ‘I don’t know’ is often times the most honest answer I can give. I was almost certain that after I uttered my first ‘I don’t know’ on a client call that I would be fired instantly for not being an ‘expert.’
That never happened.
Not only have I not been fired, but I’ve had clients mention that they appreciate the honesty.
There are certain things that are difficult to know with certainty, and you dig yourself further down the rabbit hole each time you try to explain something that you have no idea about. Your arguments are weak and people can usually see right through you. They won’t say anything, but they won’t trust you as much and/or do business with you much in the future.
By saying “I don’t know” you maintain trust, which is the most valuable thing of all.
There are few things you do throughout the day which nobody else can do as well as you.
Spend time doing those things and try to offload everything else.
When you know the few things which have the biggest impact you should focus on those exclusively.
I’m pretty good at helping websites get more traffic from search engines. I’m decent at creating good looking presentations.
My coworker is decent at helping websites get more traffic from search engines, but is excellent at making good looking presentations.
Every second I spend creating good looking presentations and that she spends helping websites get more traffic from search engines are wasted.
We’d both be better off if we focused exclusively on what we were good at.
Analyze where you provide the most value and focus on those areas exclusively.
Pareto’s Principle aka the 80/20 rule dictates that 20% of your input is responsible for 80% of your result.
Taken to the second degree it means that 4% of your input is responsible for 64% of your output.
Figure out what those leverage points are and focus on them exclusively, while trying to offload everything else.
You will be significantly better off, and get more things done.
A great book on the 80/20 Rule is the 80/20 Principle – Secret To Achieving More With Less by Richard Koch
I highly recommend you pick this up.
It will dramatically change how you view your life and prioritize.
From The Effective Executive:
To make strength productive is the unique purpose of organization. It cannot, of course, overcome the weaknesses with which each of us is abundantly endowed. But it can make them irrelevant. Its task is to use the strength of each man as a building block for joint performance.
Everybody is good at something.
If you can align people with what they do best everybody benefits.
It’s not just Peter Drucker who says so, it’s also Ricardo’s law of comparative advantage.
In his book Influence, Robert Cialdini tells the story of two brothers, Sid and Harry, who ran a clothing store in 1930s America.
Sid was in charge of sales and Harry led the tailoring department. Whenever Sid noticed that the customers who stood before the mirror really liked their suits, he became a little hard of hearing.
He would call to his brother: ‘Harry, how much for this suit?’
Harry would look up from his cutting table and shout back: ‘For that beautiful cotton suit, $42.’ (This was a completely inﬂated price at that time.)
Sid would pretend he hadn’t understood: ‘How much?’
Harry would yell again: ‘Forty-two dollars!’
Sid would then turn to his customer and report: ‘He says $22.’
At this point, the customer would have quickly put the money on the table and hastened from the store with the suit before poor Sid noticed his ‘mistake’.
It’s the explanations people seek.
It’s the reason things get done.
It’s the motivation people need to take action.
Carl Braun (of CF Braun & Co) came up with what I think is the best business rule ever:
You will be fired if you ask somebody to do something and you don’t explain why.
(He kind of said that … he said you could be fired on first offense, but second offense you will be fired, although that doesn’t jive with my story)
PS – This guy wrote a much better article about ‘why’ than I did, which you should read.
The short answer is yes.
Robin Dreeke is the lead instructor at the FBI’s CounterIntelligence Training Center in all behavioral and interpersonal skills training.
He knows a thing or two about a thing or two related to building rapport.
To sum his book up in one sentence: It’s not about you, it’s about them.
If you focus on them, you’re off to a good start.
Here is his list:
This book was a very quick read and highly recommended.
Robin Dreeke also did a podcast where he discuss his book which goes over in more detail what’s mentioned above.
“I very frequently get the question: ‘What’s going to change in the next 10 years?’ And that is a very interesting question; it’s a very common one. I almost never get the question: ‘What’s not going to change in the next 10 years?’ And I submit to you that that second question is actually the more important of the two — because you can build a business strategy around the things that are stable in time. … [I]n our retail business, we know that customers want low prices, and I know that’s going to be true 10 years from now. They want fast delivery; they want vast selection. It’s impossible to imagine a future 10 years from now where a customer comes up and says, ‘Jeff I love Amazon; I just wish the prices were a little higher,’ [or] ‘I love Amazon; I just wish you’d deliver a little more slowly.’ Impossible. And so the effort we put into those things, spinning those things up, we know the energy we put into it today will still be paying off dividends for our customers 10 years from now. When you have something that you know is true, even over the long term, you can afford to put a lot of energy into it.” – Jeff Bezos
Customers desires don’t change much over time. It’s the tactics used to help them achieve their goals that are constantly shifting.
Bezos is speaking in the context of B2C, but what does that mean for B2B marketers?
B2B customers will always want to get results while minimizing risk. B2B customers will always want to feel they’re getting great value relative to their cost.
Those two things will not change in the next 10 years.
In life, you’ll want to make more money, take the next step, and stay healthy.
Those three things will not change in the next 10 years.
At work, ensure that you are always working towards those things that won’t change in 10 years. Think long term, not short term. Work backwards, and figure out how you can work towards those initiatives in your day to day duties.
Show your boss this Bezos quote, and ask your boss what you think won’t change in 10 years and see what they say. Better yet, ask your bosses boss. If they haven’t been thinking about these things, it’s probably worth mulling it over for a few hours.
How can you create systems that will always ensure you’re working towards those things you care about today and you’ll care about in 10 years?
For me, it’s putting aside at least 10% of what I make in a savings account, always trying to focus on innovation at work while ensuring we’re working towards things that will be true in the next 10 years, and doing 25 pushups and situps per day while eating one meal with a lot of vegetables each day.
Going inch by inch while keeping it simple and attainable has worked for me.
What will work for you?