Monday, 1 June 2015

Billy’s Forty-eighth Law: Find your gift

Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers, you cannot be successful or happy.
Norman Vincent Peale
Many, if not all, of the successful entrepreneurs I have met have a ‘special gift’. This is not exclusive to entrepreneurs, but it is somehow different.  This thought came to me as I spoke to a businessman about his relationship with his children.  I tried to involve my son in the business, he told me, but he got to a point where he thought he knew everything. He second-guessed my decisions, and frankly, he was wrong a lot.  Not only did leave the family business, but also then went to work with the competition.  The son did not understand or appreciate his father's gift, and how important it was to the business.  (His gift was having the ability to see if a piece of equipment would work in a specific situation.) 
I am fourth generation self-employed.  Each of us (all William Erichson by the way) started different businesses.  My Great-grandfather was a blacksmith…my Grandfather & Great-Uncle were farmers…my dad was an electrical engineer who ran his own company until he passed away.  Each had a gift.  My great-uncle was an inventor.  He would use the blacksmithing tools and build his own farm implements.  This made their farm more productive.  My dad had the knack of getting right to the heart of a problem and doing it quickly. 

Some of the other entrepreneurial gifts I have encountered in my journeys include:

Problem Solvers:  I know a fellow who solves production problems in a manner most trained engineers would envy.  His solutions are quick, elegant and usually inexpensive to implement. 

Networkers:  A good friend of mine knows how to put people together.  She is sort of like a business matchmaker.  All you have to do is say, Barb…do you know anyone who can… and there is someone in her network who has the necessary skill set.

Influencers: We all know these people.  They not only know things, but they have the ability to mobilise and convince others.  They bring great sales and marketing skills to their enterprises and influence the buying decisions of others. 

Futurists: A business partner of mine has an uncanny knack of seeing trends.  He capitalised on medical billing and electronic tax returns in the ‘pre-internet’ days, using modems to communicate directly to mainframe computers. 

Implementers: This ‘breed’ of super organized people get things done in spite of the difficulties surrounding them.  They have clarity of both goal and task.  These people can both ‘herd cats’ and ‘nail Jell-O to the wall” to mix two metaphors. 

People Masters:  These people are ‘Human Resources Savants.’  They break all of the traditional rules of recruiting and management, except one,…they get great results!
There are many more, and many of you can think of other people whom you know and other gifts your network possesses. But gifts are often these intuitive, talents that are almost inexplicable. Herein lies the problem.  People with a gift often do not know how to pass it on.  They don’t think…they just do. 

My father thought that his way of getting to the important aspect of an engineering problem was obvious.  In fact, he got frustrated with anyone who could not do the same.  I have met instinctive sales people who make terrible sales managers. I met one woman who was a recruiting savant.  Her techniques were non-transferable to anybody else, but she rarely made recruiting mistakes, and when she did, she said that she didn’t use her instincts.

The gift is a blessing and a curse.  They are great to have, but a business dependant of the gift of the founder may remain dependent on that founder. This makes scalability and sustainability difficult.  For those of you who are gifted try to understand the following:
  1. Not everybody has the gift.  They reach the same destination using a more formal process. 
  2. Try to de-construct your gift.  This is the only way you can pass on your instinct to others. 
So find your gift, use your gift, it is a competitive advantage there for the taking!  Like any gift, it is best not squandered.
Sorry for the late posting however; I have just written and delivered a three-part personal finance program here in Whistler.  This took up a great deal of my writing time.

No comments:

Post a Comment