Giving as a Way to Get Ahead

I just reread a book that has become one of my favorites. It is called “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann. I first read it in 2009 when it was given to me as a gift for helping someone get ahead in their career. It meant a lot to me because the message written inside the book said, “I read this book and it reminded me of you.” Here is a summary of the book’s key messages.
 Five Laws of Stratospheric Success:

  1. The Law of Value: Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.
  2. The Law of Compensation: Your income is determined by how many people you serve and how well you serve them.
  3. The Law of Influence: Your influence is determined by how abundantly you place other people’s interests first.
  4. The Law of Authenticity: The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.
  5. The Law of Receptivity: The key to effective giving is to stay open to receiving.

My only regret in my career is that I didn’t start practicing these business principles until middle age. If I had read the book in my 20’s, I think I could have accomplished even more.  I suggest that if you have high school or college age children or friends, gift them this book. I don’t think they will learn this in business school.
Weekly Wisdom by Jerry Rollins, CEO of Sage Executive Group

Making the workweek work

“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.”
– Sam Levenson
What does the most effective workweek look like? I have always been a believer that hard work and effectiveness will equal success in business. During times of great growth I found that 60 to 80-hour workweeks were commonplace and rewarding.
Having just read The 4 -Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss, he challenges many of the old views of working, life balance and success. He is a believer in the ‘Pareto principle,’ as am I. What it says is that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts. So by recognizing and focusing on the 20%, we can get similar results vs. being ineffective in our utilization of time.
I am different from Mr. Ferriss because I never felt that my jobs sucked the life out of me as he described in his first business experiences. For the past 25 years I have been involved in businesses that were interesting and fulfilling.
Although I could not be effective running a company on 4 hours per week, I do think that by focusing our efforts we all could accomplish much more within a 40-hour week.
My takeaways from his book are that there is probably a balance somewhere in between and that neither old school or the new way he prescribes are  the “best practice.”  The truth always lies somewhere in the middle.
Weekly Wisdom by Jerry Rollins, CEO of Sage Executive Group

Sow honestly, reap wisely

Interesting and very thoughtful message for all to read.  This is special…
A successful businessman was growing old and knew it was time to choose a successor to take over the business. Instead of choosing one of his Directors or his children, he decided to do something different. He called all the young executives in his company together.
He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next CEO. I have decided to choose one of  you.” The young executives were Shocked, but the boss continued. “I am going to give each one of you a SEED today – one very special SEED. I want you to plant the seed, water it and come back here one year from today with what you have grown from the seed I have given you. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next CEO.”
One of the executives named Jim, like  the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his wife the story. She helped him get a pot, soil and compost, and he planted the seed. Every day, he watered it and watched to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other executives began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were sprouting.
Jim kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. Three weeks, four weeks, five weeks went by, still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants, but Jim didn’t have a plant and he felt like a failure.  Six months went by — still nothing in Jim’s pot. He knew he had killed his seed. Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Jim didn’t say anything to his colleagues; he just kept watering and fertilizing the soil. He so wanted the seed to grow.
A year finally went by and all the young executives of the company brought their plants to the CEO for inspection. Jim told his wife that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot.  But she asked him to be honest about what happened. Jim felt sick to his stomach. It was going to be the most embarrassing moment of his life, but he knew his wife was right. He took his empty pot to the board room.
When Jim arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other executives. They were beautiful – in all shapes and sizes. Jim put his empty pot on the floor and many of his colleagues laughed, a few felt sorry for him!
When the CEO arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted his young executives. Jim just tried to hide in the back. “My, what great  plants, trees and flowers you have grown,” said  the CEO. “Today one of you will be appointed the next CEO!”  All of a sudden, the CEO spotted Jim at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered the Financial Director to bring him to the front. Jim was terrified. He thought, “The CEO knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me fired!”
When Jim got to the front, the CEO asked him what had  happened to his seed. Jim told him the story. The CEO asked everyone to sit down except Jim. He looked at him and then announced to the young executives, “Behold your next Chief Executive Officer!  His name is Jim!” Jim couldn’t believe it. He couldn’t even grow his seed.
“How could he be the new CEO?” the others said.
Then the CEO said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone in this room a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds; they were dead – it was not possible for them to grow. All of you, except Jim, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Jim was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new Chief Executive Officer!”

  • If you plant honesty, you will reap trust
  • If you plant goodness, you will reap friends
  • If you plant humility, you will reap greatness
  • If you plant perseverance, you will reap contentment
  • If you plant consideration, you will reap perspective
  • If you plant hard work, you will reap success
  • If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation.

So, be careful what you plant now; it will determine what you will reap later.
Think about this for a minute.
Weekly Wisdom by Jerry Rollins, CEO of Sage Executive Group

Sage Smart: The Art of Receiving

Top-tier executives accustomed to handing out credit can encounter a surprising challenge – how to accept praise.
That question of personality fit was one of the main themes of an address on conscious business management given to a roomful of San Diego-area business executives by consultant and corporate trainer Scott deMoulin, head of Destiny Training Systems, at a meeting hosted by Sage Executive Group.
Sage CEO Jerry Rollins said that a psychological profile is a valuable tool to use in ensuring that people fit the job before they are hired. “An accountant shouldn’t have the same personality style as a salesman,” Rollins said. “Adapt the job description to the people you are bringing in. Assist a leader in leading and motivating.”
That is  why understanding the psychology of praise is so important.
“Many people can’t accept a compliment,” Rollins said. “It almost makes them uncomfortable, especially really good leaders who don’t want credit for what they do.”
Sage Smart:  A blog of tips and lessons from Sage Executive Group