Do not seek permission to undertake any Great Enterprise. Let the High Quality of your Work be your True Qualification.
Without something to really strive against few people ever bother to strive. Without something to truly strive for few people ever bother to overcome their lack of striving.
You may live as the King Fish in a small pond for as long as you wish but one thing you will never do is cause the pond to grow any larger. Therefore if you would truly reach your real mass you must swim for the sea.
A very interesting perspective and one I agree with to a large extent. Actually I think one should set out to create a Brand – with a certain type of Vision, and adapt accordingly as one meets particular circumstances in and through the world. (Which is basically what he says later in the article.)
In other words one begins with a Vision and then discovers and develops as one goes along. It is not either/or, but both…
Writer & Consultant
April 15, 2015
Over $500 billion is spent on advertising each year. The average American is exposed to an estimated 3,000 ads per day. Fifteen minutes out of every hour of television programming is devoted to commercials.
Branding: 2 Key Lessons in Brand Building
That’s a lot of marketing. And a lot of marketers. With six million companies in the United States alone, that’s a lot of people competing to get their message out. How do you stand out from the crowd? How do you get noticed?
This is where branding comes in.
What is branding?
Branding is the art of distinguishing a product or service from its competitors. It’s the term for creating a recognizable “personality” which people will remember and react to.
A company with poor branding is throwing away marketing dollars. Why? Because without a focused message, companies weak in branding are invisible. Nobody remembers them and they blend in. They become just another leaf swirling in the wind, amid all those marketing messages consumers see each day.
In marketing, the point is to actually reach someone, to connect. The way to do this is by focusing attention, not dispersing it.
Discovering your brand
Too often, people try to “dream up” a brand for their company. However, a brand isn’t something you dream up — it’s something you discover. Specifically, it’s something you have to discover about yourself.
True branding must be based solely on the mission and culture of the organization. When people try to create branding separate from the company itself, the result may be pretentious, clichéd or ambiguous marketing. It waters down the company’s message.
Instead, a brand should reflect the company’s business plan, its mission and values. It has to be authentic. Therefore, when you brand a company (or anything else for that matter), you’re trying to capture its core identity. You have to look past the clutter and opinion and distill its true essence. This is what you convey to consumers — your brand. And your fonts, your design, your writing — all aspects of your marketing — should all align with that central concept. Now, you have focus. Now, you have penetration, because you’ve conveyed your company’s identity by first discovering yourself.
Related: The Basics of Branding
The ingredients of a brand
While there is probably no foolproof formula for discovering a company’s brand, there are pathways to accomplish that. Consider the following points the “ingredients” that go into making an authentic brand:
Company mission. This is the most important element of branding. Your mission is the spirit of your company, it’s the beating heart of what you do. In fact, your brand can be thought of as the outward expression of your company’s internal mission. Think of it this way: Why does your organization exist? What is it there for? You have assets, employees, vendors, relationships and internal systems. . . but why?
Values. What’s important to your company? What do you stand for? Every company has certain ideals that define what it is and does. These ideals could be environmental, social or ethical or could be standards of quality Whatever your company’s values are, they’re the very center of why you’re unique and are a crucial part of your brand.
Culture. Each company in the world has its own ethos — a particular style or panache. Whatever you call yours, embrace it. There may be a million competitors in your market space, but there’s only one you. Your company’s group culture is part of the fabric of who you are.
History. Your history tells a lot about you. Look to the company’s founders to help define your identity today. What were their values? What were they trying to accomplish? Every company came from somewhere. Your roots are an integral part of your company’s brand.
Plans. When you look at your next 10 years, where do you see yourself going? Your business plan and marketing strategy both influence how you present yourself and should be included in your branding. If you’re going after an entry-level market segment, don’t position yourself as a luxury brand. Your brand must encompass your real-world objectives.
Consumers. This is really what it’s all about. Your customers are the reason you exist. What are their needs? What do they think? Understanding your customers is a vital part of branding. Because if you don’t know whom you’re talking to, why bother to say anything at all?
It might take a bit of soul-searching to get at the essence of what makes your company special. The trick is to take a clear-eyed look and see what’s actually there. Because every brand is beautiful, every brand is inspiring.
Each just has to be discovered.
I thought most of his points were excellently and wisely made.
I have spent decades “being educated” — in college, graduate school, numerous professional certifications, and now a Ph.D. program. All of that schooling and training helped shape the person I am today, but at no point in my life has there been a more profound education than my time working for Enver Yucel and Oprah Winfrey.
Enver and Oprah are two extraordinary people. And on top of that, they’re both billionaires. On the surface, they appear to be totally different people. They are in different industries, have different family structures, practice different religions, and speak different languages. However, once you get past their written biographies and dig deeper, you will notice they possess many of the same successful habits.
I had the opportunity to work with both Oprah and Enver for six years collectively and those were, hands down, the best professional experiences of my life. I worked my ass off for them and in doing so absorbed everything I could.
It’s my honor to share with you what I learned from them. Here is Part 1 of the 20 successful habits I learned working for two billionaires:
1) Invest in Yourself
This is a very simple concept, but something you would think someone who has “made it” would stop doing. Not at all for these two. I saw them both spend a significant amount of time dedicating their resources to self-development (whether it be a new language, exercise, social media classes, etc.). The moment you stop investing in yourself is the moment you have written off future dividends in life.
2) Be Curious… About Everything
What the average person sees as mundane or overly complicated is not viewed the same way with a billionaire mindset. I once had a 30 minute conversation with Enver about the height of the curbs in Washington DC versus Istanbul, Turkey. Billionaires are incredibly curious; what the rest of the world thinks is a problem and complains about — that’s what these people go and work on.
3) Surround Yourself With “Better” People
I hope this is why they kept me around. Seriously, I never knew my bosses to keep anyone less-than-stellar in their inner circle. There were many times I thought to myself, “Damn, they have dream-teams built around them.” Jim Rohn had it right, “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”
4) Never Eat Alone
The last time I had dinner with Enver, as well as the last time I ate dinner with Oprah, there were easily 15 people at our tables, respectively. Coincidence? While most of us derive our key information from blogs or the newspaper, power players get their information from the source (other power players), directly. However, just because you can’t call up the Obamas and break bread with them doesn’t mean eating with others in your circle doesn’t carry value. In one of my favorite reads of the last few years called Never Eat Alone, author Keith Ferrazzi breaks down how you can identify “information brokers” to dine with you. I’ve seen first hand how enormous the benefits are of this strategy.
5) Take Responsibility for Your Losses
I was working for Oprah during the time she was taking heat from the media about poor network ratings. I was also working for Enver during the closing of one of his prized divisions. What I witnessed them both do in response was powerful. Opposed to covering the losses up with fancy PR tactics, both stepped to the stage and said in essence “I own it and I’m going to fix it” and dropped the mic. Guess what? They sure did fix things (It’s widely noted Oprah’s network is realizing ratings gold and Enver’s assets have probably doubled since the division closing).
6) Understand The Power Of “Leverage”
This is something that was quite a shock to me. From afar, a billionaire appears to be someone who is a master at everything. But, in truth, they’re specialists in one or a few areas and average or subpar at everything else. So, how do they get so much done? Leverage! They do what they do best and get others to do the rest. Here’s a great article on leverage. Keep in mind I see this done with wealthy people and their money all of the time — they use OPM (other people’s money) for most or all of their projects.
7) Take No Days Off (Completely)
I recall going on vacation with Enver several times, yachting up and down the southwestern coast of Turkey (also known as the blue voyage). Sounds ballerific, right? No doubt we had a great time, but mixed in with all that swimming and backgammon was discussion of business, discussion of strategy, planning and plotting. The best way I can describe this habit is thinking about your business or your idea like your literal baby. No matter your distance, you don’t stop thinking of him/her (and after just having a second son, I can attest to this).
8) Focus On Experiences vs. Material Possessions
When you have money, your toys are big. However, the vast majority of money I saw spent on their “leisure” was on actual experiences versus the typical car, jewelry, and clothes we’re familiar with seeing in music videos and gossip blogs. I recall one time at dinner with Oprah, I spotted a table of about 20 girls off to the side. I later found out Ms. Winfrey was treating some of her graduating girls from her school in South Africa to dinner in NYC. Experiences create memories, and memories are priceless.
9) Take Enormous Risks
This is another one of those successful habits every entrepreneur can attest to. A matter of fact, Entreprenuer.com created a great infographic outlining commonalities of the world’s billionaires and one of the most prominent was this characteristic: billionaires are not adverse to risk. What intrigues me even more about Enver and Oprah was that even at their high financial status and success level, they still possessed a willingness to risk their most precious asset (their name and legacy) on new and bolder projects. If you’re not taking risks, you’re not making moves!
10) Don’t Go At It Alone
Nothing great in life is achieved alone. Especially in business, success isn’t a solo act. This character trait is akin to “surrounding yourself with better people.” It takes teamwork to make the dream work.
Read Part 2, here!
The very idea that a college degree, of any kind, will assure you do anything at all worthwhile in life is every bit as juvenile and ridiculous a notion as the idea that a job will assure you will become wealthy.
This does not mean that you should necessarily eschew either degrees or jobs, what it does mean is that you must understand their very limited influence on your real achievements in life, and upon your true personhood.
Neither you, nor anyone else, can anymore “degree” you a great achievement, than you can “job” your way into being a meaningful person.
The entire point of the problem is to reach the Best Solution. Yet many never seem to understand this, and so for them, the point of the problem is what they eagerly and stubbornly impale themselves upon.
Have you ever read a business book and thought, “I could write that,” or imagined publishing a business book that would catapult you to the front of your industry? You are in good company. Whether to help lift their business profile, get more speaking opportunities or become an industry trendsetter, many entrepreneurs wish to publish.
If you ever decide to take it a step further, you’ll likely compare self-publishing and traditional publishing as I did a few months ago. I checked in with fellow entrepreneur Dan Emery, of New York City Guitar School, who has self-published several guitar books. “I decided to use my own lesson plans instead of published lesson plans and somewhere around student one thousand, I decided to turn it into a book,” says Dan.
He was eager to design a curriculum that reflected the school’s uniquely friendly and positive approach to learning guitar that combines having fun with the science of deliberate practice. He quickly found out, however, that no publishers were interested in the book. That’s when he decided to publish it himself, which has turned into a successful endeavor for him.
When I first decided to write a book — about women entrepreneurs who are running multi-million dollar businesses — I wasn’t going to consider traditional publishing. But I went for a run with my old friend Paul Greenberg, who is an award-winning published author. He expressed outrage at my plan while we jogged along the Hudson. “You can’t to pay to write a book! You should get paid!” he admonished. I protested that I was not an actual author, like he was, and would never get a meeting at a publishing company, but he insisted I should at least try the traditional way before going the self-publishing route.
Paul put me in touch with his former editor, who was took a personal interest in my topic. She then offered to connect me with three of the top literary agents in New York. To my delight and surprise, all three said they wanted the book. That’s when I knew I was on to something. I chose as a literary agent Zoe Pagnamenta, an entrepreneur herself who owns a boutique agency where all her authors get terrific individual attention, and we were off to the races. We set to work putting together a 40-page proposal, which I wrote over my Christmas holiday last year.
Well worth thinking on…
Frederick Wiseman, filmmaker, 84, on a walk in Paris. Wiseman’s documentary ‘‘National Gallery’’ had its premiere at the Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes this year.
Is there a difference from the way you work now and the way you worked when you were first starting out?
I think I’ve learned more about how to make a movie. The basic approach hasn’t changed. The method that I follow is the same one that I’ve always followed. I hope that I’ve learned from one movie to the next, at least enough not to make the same mistakes.
What’s the most grueling part of your filmmaking then?
Raising the money.
Early on, did you ever think you’d still be making movies at your age?
I didn’t think about it at all. I have a hard time recognizing that I’m 84, almost 85. I’m in complete denial, which I think is extremely useful. Of course from time to time I allow myself to be aware of it, but it’s not something that I dwell on. I like working. I work very intensely.
Any advice for young filmmakers?
And what about advice for your peers, filmmakers your age?
Everybody complains about their aches and pains and all that, but my friends are either dead or are still working.
There are still important business lessons to be learned by America’s richest man — and who better to learn them from than Gates’ friend and fellow billionaire Warren Buffett?
In 2013, Gates traveled to Omaha, Nebraska, for Berkshire Hathaway’s annual shareholders meeting. “It’s always a lot of fun, and not just because of the ping-pong matches and the newspaper-throwing contest I have with Warren Buffett,” Gates writes in a LinkedIn post. “It’s also fun because I get to learn from Warren and gain insight into how he thinks.”
Gates outlined the three most important lessons he learned from Buffett. Here are the highlights:
Look At The Big Picture
When Gates first met Buffett, his immediate instinct was to focus on the surface of his success: picking and investing in stocks. But Gates quickly learned that key to Buffett’s success ran much deeper — it’s about the big picture of a business. “He has a whole framework for business thinking that is very powerful,” Gates writes.
Instead of focusing on the day-to-day details of the market, Buffett looks at overall growth. “He talks about looking for a company’s moat — its competitive advantage — and whether the moat is shrinking or growing,” Gates says. “He says a shareholder has to act as if he owns the entire business, looking at the future profit stream and deciding what it’s worth.”
Be Honest With Shareholders
Buffett famously takes time every year to send a letter to his shareholders, a practice that inspired Gates to start doing the same. While Buffett’s letters offer business and investing insights, Gates believes Buffett’s candor is what makes them stand out. “He’s been willing to speak frankly and criticize things like stock options and financial derivatives,” Gates says. “He’s not afraid to take positions, like his stand on raising taxes on the rich, that run counter to his self-interest.” Gates’ key takeaway: transparency is highly appreciated.
Value Your Time
“No matter how much money you have, you can’t buy more time,” Gates reminds us, noting that Buffett understands this better than anyone. Buffett makes an effort to be available to his close advisers and always finds time to personally answer phone calls from them. “He’s very generous with his time for the people he trusts,” Gates says.
However, Buffett knows how valuable his time is, and doesn’t waste it in useless meetings, Gates says. Buffett prioritizes his time and spends it in ways that matter most to him.
Click here to read the full LinkedIn post.
Very well observed…
President Obama made a monumental mistake in appointing a political hack, Ron Klain, as the Ebola czar. He must undo his error now and give the job to someone of stature and genuine ability. For all the Administration’s what-me-worry posturing and the President’s obvious indifference and annoyance with the crisis, this strain of Ebola could still become a catastrophic pandemic of historic lethality. Hopefully authorities will succeed in containing the disease, except for isolated cases, to West Africa, and then eradicate it there and globally. Even if this becomes the outcome, we should be better prepared for future mutations of Ebola or other lethal viruses. As for this strain of Ebola, read the sobering post of Dr. Scott Gottlieb, a former deputy commissioner of the FDA: “We don’t fully understand this Ebola strain…In short, we are treading on uncharted ground.”
In alphabetical order, here are three individuals the President should consider immediately for this crucial post:
article continued on Forbes link.
It has been my personal experience that profits wisely shared with Wise Employees only serve to multiply profits.
Equally impressive is the fact that he’s done all that while paying his retail employees nearly twice the industry average.
According to Tindell’s book, “Uncontainable,” the average Container Store retail salesperson makes nearly $50,000 a year compared with what the Bureau of Labor Statistics says is a national average of just above $25,000.
In an interview with Business Insider’s Jenna Goudreau, Tindell says the secret to the company’s high wages is what he calls “the 1=3 rule,” meaning that one great employee will be as productive as three employees who are merely good.
As a result, Tindell feels he gets ahead by receiving three times the productivity of an average worker at only two times the cost.
“They win, you save money, the customers win, and all the employees win because they get to work with someone great,” he tells Business Insider.
I have long believed this for I have seen far too many personal examples of it not to understand these facts:
1. Intelligence is no guarantor of success
2. Intelligence can become a definite detriment to your success (and the success of others) if you concentrate only upon your intelligence, your theories, and you ideas while you ignore or discount Reality and the way things actually are.
3. Intelligence has no direct correlation to Creativity and the smart man will practice developing his Creativity and not just his intelligence.
4. It is far more important to be Wise than merely intelligent. Wisdom breeds foresight and foresight breeds understanding of what is to come and that kind of understanding breeds Creativity.
Modern man is childishly and slavishly enamored of his own supposed intelligence. He’d do much.much better to seek Wisdom and to continually practice his Creativity than to merely cultivate his intelligence. I am in no way anti-intelligence, but the shortcomings of mere intelligence are obvious and everywhere evident if you but look with clear and critical eyes.
How smart do you have to be to succeed?
What about to become a creative genius? Did Picasso and Mozart use superhuman intelligence to create their masterpieces?
- How intelligent do you need to be to become a successful entrepreneur?
- How good does your training program need to be to become an elite athlete?
- How perfect does your weight loss program need to be to burn fat?
These are questions that we don’t often ask ourselves, but they are built into our beliefs and actions about many phases of life. We often think that the reason we aren’t succeeding is because we haven’t found the right strategy or because we weren’t born with the right talents.
Perhaps that is true. Or, perhaps there is an untold side of the story…
In 1921, there was a psychologist at Stanford University named Lewis Terman who set out on a mission to conduct a research study unlike any before it.
Terman began by finding the 1,000 smartest students in California between the third grade and eighth grade as measured by IQ.  After much testing and searching, Terman gathered a final sample of 856 boys and 672 girls. The children became known as “The Termites.”
Terman and his team began testing the children in nearly every way you could image. They tracked their IQ, analyzed how many books each student had in their homes, took their medical histories, and on and on. But that was just the beginning.
What made Terman’s study unique is that it was the first longitudinal research study, which meant that Terman continued to track and test his subjects for years afterward. The study, which is now famously known as “Genetic Studies of Genius,” collected data from the students throughout their entire lives. Terman collected additional data in 1928, 1936, 1940, 1945, 1950, and 1955. After Terman died in 1956, his colleagues continued tracking The Termites in 1960, 1972, 1977, 1982, and 1986.
To summarize, the study started with the smartest group of children in the entire state of California and then tracked their success throughout their entire lives. Decades later, the researchers had discovered something very interesting…
The surprising discovery that came out of Terman’s study is best described by creativity researcher and physician, Nancy Andreasen…
“Although many people continue to equate intelligence with genius, a crucial conclusion from Terman’s study is that having a high IQ is not equivalent to being highly creative. Subsequent studies by other researchers have reinforced Terman’s conclusions, leading to what’s known as the threshold theory, which holds that above a certain level, intelligence doesn’t have much effect on creativity: most creative people are pretty smart, but they don’t have to be that smart, at least as measured by conventional intelligence tests. An IQ of 120, indicating that someone is very smart but not exceptionally so, is generally considered sufficient for creative genius.” 
Remember our question from the beginning: “Did Picasso and Mozart use superhuman intelligence to create their masterpieces?”
According to Threshold Theory, not necessarily. Being in the top 1% of intelligence has no correlation with being fantastically creative. Rather, there is a minimum threshold of intelligence that you need to have, and after that it comes down to a lot of deliberate practice, putting in your reps, and developing your skill set.
Threshold Theory in everyday life
If you look around, you’ll see that Threshold Theory applies to many things in life. Success is rarely as simple as “just work harder.” The fundamentals matter. There is a minimum threshold of competence that you need to develop in nearly any endeavor.
After that, however, the difference is between those who put in the work and those who get distracted. Once you have a basic grasp of the right things to do, it becomes about the consistency of doing the right things more often. Once you understand the fundamentals, it comes down to your habits.