Success: It is not luck, it is Return on Luck

Last week, I listened to Jim Collins at the Growth Summit in Barcelona.  He shared 4 hours with us via video.

There were three concepts that he shared with us that really struck a chord with me.  Today I wanted to put down my thoughts about the final concept that Jim shared:  Return on Luck.

Are successful people luckier?

Do successful people, companies have more luck than unsuccessful people or companies?  Jim looked at the data.

A luck event is one that meets 3 criteria:

  1. not predictable
  2. has consequences
  3. outside of my control
Jim and his team looked at the history of successful and unsuccessful companies and identified every luck event that had occurred.  They found no difference in the rate of occurrence of luck events in the successful or unsuccessful companies.
Successful people are not luckier.
Jim and his team did find something important.  There is a big difference between successful and unsuccessful companies and people in what happens next.  The luck event happens… then what?  You meet the girl of your dreams and say “Nice to meet you” or you say “I want a coffee, will you join me?”  You meet a key person in the company you dream of working for… what do you do with this moment?
When something lucky happens in your life, do you use it?  Are you prepared for the luck events in your life?
The difference between success and non-success comes in how the luck event is used.  Jim calls this Return on Luck.
Return on Luck
Three years ago, I was in a session at IESE with 6 top Venture Capital gurus from USA and UK.  We were 35 people in the room including faculty and people from different MBA programs.  The session was informal and giving me and the others a chance to get to know the lives and ups and downs of these key VCs.  The session ran long.  At 3:15pm, 20 of the MBA students stood up and said “we need to go to class”.  This is true.  They are required to go to class.  But as I sat and watched them file out of the session I asked myself how many of these people were 2 meters away from the person who could make their dream happen?  …and they walked away.  Zero Return on Luck.
How is your Return on Luck?  How can I be better prepared to not walk away from my next luck event?

For Success, you only need 2 out of 3 of…

You only need to choose 2 out of 3 for success:

  • Be like-able
  • Do great work
  • Deliver on time
If you are like-able and deliver on time, people will come back to you.  If you do great work, and deliver on time you will make it.  If you do great work, and are like-able, people will forgive many things.  Pick 2 out of 3 for success.

And 4 more wise statements from Neil Gaiman.

  • “There is luck, and it helps” 
  • “The old rules are crumbling and nobody knows the new rules”
  • “If you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone that is wise and just do it like they would.”
  • “Make Good Art.”

Event 15/5: Greatness through Choice

Have you read Jim Collins’ latest book “Great by Choice”?  It’s a must read.

Jim is beaming into Barcelona LIVE 15th May from 14:30 – 18:00 – think of it as a private movie premiere – he’s one of the best presenters I’ve ever seen.  100 execs of companies gathering in Barcelona hosted by me (I will share some of my own ideas at 14:00).

If you have not read much of Jim Collin’s material I recommend you start with three articles:

What will you get by being there on the 15th May in Barcelona?
Watch my short video below (on the blog).

I want you to be there. This will give you tools to take your business to the next level. Bring 1 or 2 of your team – the material we will work on will have much greater impact if you can work on it as a team.

http://www.growthsummiteurope.com

LOCATION:
Barcelona Activa Auditorium
Llacuna 162
08008 Barcelona
Tuesday, May 15, 2012 starting at 13:15

All the best
Conor

Emotional Manipulators: Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

Emotional Manipulators: Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

Beware of Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

The Psychological literature identifies Personalities that are Manipulative, the “Wolves in Sheeps Clothing”.  These are people that use deceit in their dealings with those around them.  The Manipulator may be conscious of their manipulation, or unconscious and blind to their willful use of deceit.

The Arbinger Institute first brought to my attention the process of Self Deception in our minds when run by our Ego rather than the underlying Self.

Manipulative people will say some of the most unsettling things.  This inevitably begs the question:  Do they really believe what they’re saying?

“Manipulative people prey on our sensibilities, emotional sensitivity, and especially, our conscientiousness.  And sometimes they speak and act with such conviction, that we begin to believe them.  We can even start feeling responsible in some way for what we perceive to be their pain.” Dr George Simon

How to spot an Emotional Manipulator?  The simplest answer is “trust your gut, not their words”.  If your intuition tells you, ignore their words.  To improve your intuition, here is a list of 8 ways to spot Emotional Manipulation.

Beware of Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing.

Ethics in Persuasion: The Customer is Not an Idiot

Early in my seminars I tell participants that Persuasion is not Manipulation.  Manipulation is getting others to do something that is of benefit to me.  Persuasion is getting others to do something that is of benefit to them and of benefit to me.

Where is the line between Manipulation and Persuasion?  

Beware of Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing

Where is black and where is white?  How close to the line can I be without being “unethical”?  How close to the line do I wish to go?

Professors Sherry Baker and David Martinson published a framework for Ethical Persuasion in 2001.  It is a useful framework to use when asking the question “where does persuasion end and manipulation begin?”

I like TARES because it is not a list of rules, it is not the minimum necessary.  It is a set of questions that are up to you as an individual to answer in your own way.

TARES is an acronym for Truthfulness, Authenticity, Respect, Equity and Social Responsibility:

  • Truthfulness: Is this communication factually accurate and true? Has this appeal deliberatedly left out important and relevant facts? 
  • Authenticity: Do I feel good about being involved in this action? Do I believe that the audience will see improved Quality of Life? 
  • Respect: Is the persuasive appeal made to the audience as rational, free, adult human beings? Do I care about them as people? 
  • Equity: Does this meet The Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”  
  • Social Responsibility: Does this action promote and create the kind of world and society in which I myself would like to live in? 

You can read the full original academic article here: The TARES test for Ethical Persuasion.  It has 5 tables that provide many questions that help shape your ideas of what really constitutes Truth, Authenticity, Respect, Equity and Social Responsibility.

I moved the second part of this post, which is a discussion of Manipulators to a new post.

David Ogilvy: 10 tips on Writing Well

On September 7th, 1982, Ogilvy sent the following internal memo to all agency employees, titled “How to Write”:

The better you write, the higher you go in Ogilvy & Mather. People who think well, write well.

Woolly minded people write woolly memos, woolly letters and woolly speeches.

Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well. Here are 10 hints:

  1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times.
  2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.
  3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
  4. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.
  5. Never write more than two pages on any subject.
  6. Check your quotations.
  7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning — and then edit it.
  8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.
  9. Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.
  10. If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.

David

Thanks to Brainpickings for publishing first.

4 Vital Questions for Every Powerpoint Slide

I am sitting in an audience at a conference.  This third speaker today seems interesting, speaks with passion.

He is now on his seventh powerpoint slide.  Each slide is interesting and well designed.

My neighbor leans in towards me.  I lean towards him.  He says: “What is this guy telling us again?”

My neighbor fishes his blackberry out of his pocket and gets back to something that seems more important to him: reading random emails.  Sadly, this is a common occurrence.

The 4 Vital Questions for Every Slide
Every time you show an audience a Powerpoint slide, the audience needs you to answer 4 Vital questions:

  1. “What is this?”
  2. “What is important [for the audience]?”
  3. “What does this mean [for the audience]?”
  4. “Give me a specific example [relevant to the audience]?”
If you don’t have these 4 answers in a way that is relevant for the audience, you are not serving the audience.  If you can’t answer these 4 questions, delete the slide.  
If it is not adding, it subtracts.  If it is not relevant to them, it is irrelevant.
Delete the slide.  Yes, delete it.
Less is more.
Blackberry needs more than your help today Mr Speaker. 😉