Warren Buffet

If you want to be the best – invest.

We often use the words spend and invest interchangeably. But the action created by these two words leads to very different outcomes.

According to Dictionary.com the difference between spending and investing is this: When you spend you “Use up, consume, or exhaust,” but when you invest you, “Put to use in something offering potential profitable returns.”

There three areas where leaders need to invest to be the best: Time, Talent, and Treasures.

Time – don’t spend your time, invest it. Warren Buffet has a great quote on financial investing that I think applies to how we should view our time as well, “Do not save what is left after spending, but spend what is left after saving.” If you want to be the best, you should only spend your time after you have invested your time in generating a return.

Every activity has the potential to generate a return. Investing your time means setting a goal for the outcome. Some of this can be subtle as you may well say you’re spending time reading. I prefer to think of my reading time as an investment in my education. With that thought in mind I am particular in what I read and I take notes so that I have something more to take with me then when I started. We may also say we spend time exercising. Again, I invest my time in exercise with a certain goal of improvement expected and being measured. Once those investments are taken are of I may indeed spend time reading a book only for pleasure, or take a bike ride only for the sights.

Talents – don’t use your talents, invest in them. We all have innate talents that if developed and applied properly could place us ahead of many in that specific area. Without the proper work investing in their development, many talents are just being used as opposed to making a difference.

Author of the Harry Potter series of books, J.K. Rowling said she “Would like to be remembered as someone who did the best she could with the talent she had.” Note the focus on being the best she could. J.K. Rowling invested her time from a young age writing fantasy stories and reading them to her sister. As an adult, the idea for Harry Potter came to her on a delayed train ride. She immediately began writing and continued through her mother’s death, the end of her first marriage, and being on welfare to support her and her daughter. After twelve rejections from publishers, the book was picked up and the rest is history.   Rowling never wavered in her work on developing her talent and most would agree did her best in this area.

Treasure – don’t hoard your treasures, invest in them. When we hear the word treasure we usually think of money, jewels, gold or other valuable possessions. While those are indeed treasured for many, I like the other ideas of treasures listed below that should be invested in if we want to be the best.

“Treasure your relationships.” – Anthony J. D’Angelo

“Knowledge is the treasure of a wise man.” – William Penn

“Treasure the love you receive above all.” – Og Mandino

“Contentment is the greatest treasure.”– Lao Tzu

“There is more treasure in books than all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.”– Walt Disney

 

 

Focus – What should you stop looking at?

focus - what not to look atWe just bought a new camera. My daughter was showing us how you can change the picture so the subject is in focus and the background is blurred or the background is in focus and the subject is blurred. It’s a really neat effect that makes the same scene look totally different in the two pictures.

I think this is the same way in life and in work. Some people look out and see too much to do and say there is no way to get this all done. Other people see only what they choose to do and blur out the rest. The same scene looks totally different to each viewer.

Don’t focus on everything. In a good way there is always enormous opportunity to improve, enhance, or create almost anything and everything – and someday, someone should do that – maybe you. For now, some of those opportunities are less important than others. If you try to accomplish all of them or even a lot of them, you are likely to make only marginal progress for a very long time.

“Sticking things out is overrated, particularly if you stick out the wrong things.” – Seth Godin, Whatca Gonna Do With That Duck?

Do focus on what’s essential. Figure out which of the everythings are the best things and stop looking at the rest. Stephen Covey says you can’t manage time, you can only manage yourself within the bounds of time.

“The key is not to prioritize your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.” Stephen Covey

Do what you focus on well. In his book on Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson said, “Jobs insisted that Apple focus on just two or three priorities at a time.” Macintosh, iPod, iPhone, iPad…Just some of the successes that come from focus.

“The difference between successful people and really successful people is that really successful people say no to almost everything.” – Warren Buffet

Leaders: What steps do you take when success seems to be a thing of the past?

steps to successYour team used to be a success.  Every project was delivered on time and under budget.  Team morale was high and you were the “Go-To Team.” You don’t know what happened but success now seems out of reach.

Here are three quick fixes that you may be tempted to try:

1-Just do more of what you are already doing.  It might not be working now, but maybe more of the same will bring success.  Grow more, spend more, centralize more, decentralize more.

2-Just ignore any negative data and amplify the positive data.  And if you don’t really understand the data find away to make it positive.

3-Just do something big and bold:  change the entire leadership team, launch a bold but untested strategy, dive into a radical transformation, roll out a hoped-for blockbuster product.

In his book Why the Mighty Fall Jim Collins shared stories of companies that tried these quick fixes.  You can tell from the title of his book that these companies did not achieve success.  Quick fixes never work for long term success.

“The elevator to success is out of order.  You’ll have to use the stairs…one step at a time.” – Joe Girard

Here are three steps that you should take to return to success:

Read More…

 Scroll to top