The Leader-Manager Entrepreneur


One of my favorite books on leadership is the late Stephen Covey’s: The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.

Covey’s articulation is top-class. He convinces you that there are two almost independent spheres: One for the leader and another for the manager. Could one person juggle between the two? Covey didn’t particularly recommend that, stressing that a leader should not be consumed by the day-to-day details of the business. Rather, he or she should be totally focused on vision, mission and long-term objectives.

While this can be true in corporations, when it comes to small businesses and entrepreneurship, the lines between the two worlds become rather blurry.

One day, your main focus would be on the five-year strategy of your marketing plan, the next you find yourself under a desk plugging Ethernet cables, or sorting out receipts of recent purchases. And that is the beauty of the whole thing, of the one-man-show adventure. That’s how it starts, and sometimes, that’s how it continues to run. Having said that, I do strongly recommend starting with a credible partner, who would stick with you the whole journey. Loneliness could be tough when the winds are not behind your sails.

In the previous article, Risk and Reward: The Two Vital R’s of Business, we talked about how an entrepreneur must evaluate their RT before delving into the ocean of business on their own. Here we explore how that is tested on the ground, in the midst of it. Now you know how much risk you can bear in order to reap a reward you had seen before you started!

On the lighter side of things, one would need suits and overhauls in their closets. Black, shiny shoes and thick, sturdy work boots. Fine perfumes and grease-cleansing hand soap.

This is not living two personalities. On the contrary, this is extracting the best of your God-given talents and putting them on the line.

Switching between the two roles becomes natural over time. A new, well-rounded personality, rooted in a character of offering true value and sincerity, evolves out of the continuous interaction with challenges and finding intelligent solutions.

Another aspect of this dual responsibility/multiple hats dynamic is being able to focus entirely on the one task at hand, no matter how different the previous or the next task would be. For example, you could be in a meeting with business stakeholders to discuss your product strategy. While in that crucial meeting, you remember that afterwards you must take care of an urgent maintenance issue in the office. The stakeholders meeting calls for your leadership presence, while the maintenance problem requires handyman skills. Being able to focus and then shift is key here. You could think of other interesting and fun examples that fall into the same realm.

Is there a special training for such interactive talent? I don’t think so. The best training is on the job, by actually trying, making mistakes, and learning, till the pool of skills is honed to almost perfection.

Enjoy!

The Wealth Maker

The Wealth Making Architect™


If you performed a Google™ search on the above title, you’d get something along the lines of either wealth advisors or engineering architects.

I wanted to introduce this term to reflect the necessity of building wealth from the ground up. Furthermore, to emphasize that “wealth” is not only financial. When an engineer designed a house, for example, he/she would take into consideration all the aspects which would make that house livable and ready to become a home!

Another vital step in creating that architecture is to create a blueprint. Have you ever heard of any sort of construction that didn’t have a blueprint to start with, to build upon and use as a baseline?

A Wealth Making Architect (WMA™) is going to follow the path of his/her counterparts in other disciplines. However, instead of designing a brick and mortar dwelling, they design a life-long wealth making, growing, and maintaining epic, with the client being the hero.

And here’s a list of the steps involved:

  1. Find out what the requirements really are: Working closely with your client, you set an objective to clearly “understand” the hopes, the dreams, the needs, and the responsibilities of that client. Once you’ve reached such understanding, you turn it into a set of specific, implementable”requirements”; one which the client accepts and feels satisfied with
  2. Now you go to the drawing board and create a solution derived from the requirements. This is easier said than done. How can you “weave” requirements into solutions? Into a blueprint that has an eye on the vision, and another on the strategy and plan. Your knowledge and expertise play a major role here, and that involves specific methods, processes, products and/or services available. Sometimes you might need to seek help from other members of your organization/team to “develop” new products or services that would meet the requirements (those must prove reusable with other clients in order to justify the cost and time of a new development)
  3. The next step is a comprehensive review of the solution with your client. Although you both had reached a set of specific requirements, the blueprint might not express what the client was hoping for. This could be the result of the client being not sufficiently informed/educated, or it could be a flaw in the design. Either way, a revision and an update version of the solution should be created. This can take more than one iteration
  4. Once you reach an agreement with the client on the blueprint of his/her financial story, you start translating that solution into long-term and short-term objectives. Each objective requires an action plan. Here comes the knowledge and skill of financial planning, or let’s say, wealth-making planning; the bits and bytes of what needs to be done on a daily basis
  5. Implementing the plans is not an open-ended endeavor. You wouldn’t hand them over to the client and “instruct” him/her to go ahead and “do” the steps! You still need to work with them regularly, and make sure they are ready to commit their time and energy to implementing what has been mutually agreed upon
  6. As with any plan, the process continues dynamically. This is the tracking/observing, feedback, review and update/correction cycle. Plans are not meant to be set in stone. They must evolve in reflection to consistent change. However, a good architect would not divert too much from the original vision and the blueprint.

The past is gone for all of us. The future is known to none of us. All we’ve got is the present moment. Planning, to a great extent, is a matter of trying to predict the future based on past experiences. It helps, but nothing is certain. That’s why it’s a good practice to keep risk planning in sight, and always have plan B within reach!

The Wealth Maker

Investment Strategy


 

So what is an investment strategy? It’s not an action plan, it’s not a mission statement, and it’s not a set of objectives.

Actually, these concepts are organized as follows: You start with a vision, then a mission to reach that vision, then a set of objectives to guide you through your movement towards the vision. Then comes the strategy, which defines “how” you’re going to achieve the objectives, how you’re going to carry out the mission, and how you’re going to reach the vision. Finally, an action plan is the actual set of steps you take to implement all the above within the framework of your intentions. In other words, the action plan is the manifestation of your intentions.

Let’s start with the vision.

A vision is what you see in the future. In the context of investing, it’s what you see yourself achieve, say 10 years from now.

Your vision is tightly related to your self concept. If having a million freaks you out, because you don’t know what to do with it, or because you worry about protecting it, then don’t worry. You won’t reach that amount! Wealth or poverty, both lie within, not without. Do you want a proof? More than 90% of those who hit the jackpot lose all the money within a year. Why? They are poor on the inside. They can’t handle prosperity, it’s too much for them.

On the other hand, truly wealthy people, stay wealthy, even if their bank accounts are clean and shiny :-). How? They have what it takes, on the inside, to create physical wealth again and again, all because they are full of non-physical wealth. Their minds and hearts are rich.

You always need to start with a vision. You actually do start with one even if you don’t notice consciously. “Everything is created twice” (to quote Stephen Covey): First in our minds, then on the ground. The better the first creation, the more robust and successful the second. So instead of delving into a life-changing experience like investing subconsciously, without being fully aware of your final target, I’m inviting you to sit down, grab a pen and paper, and chart some course.

Now along the path, you’ll face challenges and difficulties, or even unexpected success! Have you heard of the “fear of success”? You need to be prepared. And that where objectives come into play. They guide your march towards your vision.

Success is not only achieving “what” you set for to achieve, it’s also “how” you intend to achieve it.

In summary,  an investment strategy is your approach to investing. It’s your vehicle to reaching your vision.

In a following post, I may give some practical examples of the embodiment of a good investment strategy.

Till then, stay healthy, wealthy, and wise…

The Wealth Maker