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Lessons from Edgar de Picciotto

Edgar de Picciotto of Union Bancaire Privee

Edgar de Picciotto, an early promoter of hedge fund investing, passed away on Sunday 13 March 2016 after a long sickness. On November 12, 1969, de Picciotto opened his own asset-management bank in a city dominated by such well-known private banking names as Pictet Group, Lombard Odier, Darier and Hentsch.

Edgar de Picciotto founded Union Bancaire Privee (UBP) in 1969. UBP is one of the most favorably capitalized private banks in the world, and a leading player in the field of wealth management in Switzerland with $110 billion in assets under management at the end of December 2015. Edgar de Picciotto, who was born of Syrian-Lebanese parentage, moved to Switzerland in the 1950s and worked as a financier before founding UBP’s predecessor in 1969. From the bank’s inconspicuous headquarters on one of Geneva’s chief luxury-shopping drags, he built a customer base of affluent individuals and institutions all over Europe, the U.S., and the Middle East.

De Picciotto was born in Beirut and hailed from a lineage of businesspersons, which lived from the 14th to the 17th century in Portugal, moving in later centuries via Italy and Syria to the Lebanon. He afterward lived with his parents and brothers in Milan, ultimately deciding to study mechanical engineering in France. However, it was financial engineering, which took his perpetual fancy. He earned his spurs and made financial contacts, working in his previous father-in-law’s bank in Geneva. In its 2015 annual report, UBP recalled,

As our 2015 Annual Report was going to print, we learnt with deep sorrow that Edgar de Picciotto, the Chairman and founder of Union Bancaire Privee, had passed away at 86 years of age.

Edgar de Picciotto was a recognized creative visionary and pioneer in a wide variety of fields in the banking industry. He quickly rose to become a leading figure of the Geneva financial hub, and one of the most respected authorities on investments around the world.

In just a few decades, Edgar de Picciotto turned UBP into one of the world’s biggest family-owned banks. Very early on, he also set up a governance structure designed to ensure the Group’s longevity by integrating the second generation of his family into the business.

UBP is his life’s work. UBP is his legacy to us. It now falls to us to grow UBP with the same entrepreneurial spirit that he used to create the Bank, by perpetuating the values that Edgar de Picciotto would wish to see upheld every day and in everything we do.

Edgar de Picciotto’s children and all the members of UBP’s management are determined to carry on the spirit that its founder instilled in it, and they know that they can rely on the professionalism and dedication of all UBP’s staff members to continue to grow the Bank’s business, while also maintaining its independence.

In 2002, news of merger talks between two family-controlled private banks, Union Bancaire Privee (UBP) and Discount Bank & Trust Company (DTBT) over forming one of Geneva’s biggest private banks became newest sign of the altering attitude among the country’s private banks. Withdrawing from UBP’s operational management 20 years ago, de Picciotto set up a governance structure designed to guarantee the bank’s durability. His son Guy de Picciotto has been chief executive officer since 1998, while his daughter, Anne Rotman de Picciotto, and his eldest son, Daniel de Picciotto, are on the board of directors.

Byron Wien, vice chairperson of Blackstone Advisory Partners, had the pleasure of calling Edgar de Picciotto his mentor.

My purpose in reviewing Edgar’s thinking over the past 15 years is to show how he consistently tried to integrate his world view into the investment environment. That was his imperative. He wasn’t always right, but he was always questioning himself and he remained flexible. When he lost money, it tended to cause minimal pain in relation to his overall assets, and when one of his maverick ideas worked, he made what he called “serious money.”

Lessons from Edgar de Picciotto of Union Bancaire Privee

Edgar de Picciotto as a Mentor

Mentors fall into two categories: there are those you work with every day who are incessantly guiding you to enhanced performance. The ability to serve as a great mentor is one of the most undervalued and underappreciated skills in finance. Perhaps better branded as a “role model,” an outstanding mentor can provide not only a wide-ranging knowledge base and technical skills, but also the sagacious financial judgment that implies the high-class investor. Perhaps of even larger importance, a mentor can express a “philosophy of practice,” including the optimal interaction with clients and economists, a procedure for remaining current with advances in the field, and a thorough concept of how the practice of finance fits into a full life. A sympathetic mentor can also provide counselling in selecting the best practice opportunity and can maintain a close relationship for many years.

Mentors are significant to all of us, as they teach us what can’t be learned from books or in the classroom. They set aside a concrete example of “how to get it done,” and, sometimes more importantly, what to be done, when to do it, and whom to engage in the effort. Their inspiration often carries us through when nothing else does.

  • Understand the consequence of understanding the macro environment. “Many people describe themselves as stock pickers … but you have to consider the economic, social, and political context in which the stocks are being picked.” De Picciotto indubitably showed he had a good nose for trends.
  • Meet as many people of authority as you can. “For him, networking never stopped.” De Picciotto took great pleasure from knowing smart people and exchanging ideas with them.
  • “Nobody owns the truth.” De Picciotto would test his ideas on those he cherished and, and if he ran into a convincing conflicting opinion, he would contemplate on it seriously and sometimes change his position. While he never lacked principle about his ideas, he was unprejudiced and malleable.
  • Value the trust and the delight of friendship and the vainness of resentment. De Picciotto was gratified of his own success but also an enthusiast of the success of others who were his friends.
  • Never talk about overlooked opportunities except when you are disapproving yourself. Be your own harshest critic. Even if you are an intellectual risk taker, you will make many mistakes. Diagnose them early, but never stop taking risks, because that is where the tangible opportunities are and your life will be more invigorating as a result.
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Posted in Investing and Finance Leaders and Innovators

“I Must Be Myself” from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance”

'Self-Reliance and Other Essays' by Ralph Waldo Emerson (ISBN 0486277909) 

Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803—1882) was an American essayist and poet. Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Emerson was the fourth child of a Unitarian minister. Throughout his writings, Emerson is keenly concerned with the growth of the individual—the development of the individual’s powers, potentials, and capacities—an emphasis demonstrating that his thought is thoroughly centered on educational concerns.

Emerson was one of his era’s leading liberals. His prime meaning in any case is self-reliance intellectually and in everyday life. He urges us to trust ourselves, to recognize human divinity and avoid imitation. It is a simple message but all-important – and far easier said than done.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-Reliance may be a short essay, but it is packed with advice which is probably more relevant today than it has ever been. At only 30 pages, Self-Reliance has the qualities of a concentrate, perhaps the very essence of personal development. Self-Reliance was one of the key pieces of writing which helped carve the ethic of American individualism, and forms part of the intellectual bedrock of today’s self-help writers. Relish what really matters in your life; the simple things like your friends and family, your hobbies and perhaps your work. Enjoy the freedoms you have and recognise the value of living a normal life outside of the public eye.

Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Self-reliance is one of the major writing that helped carve the ethnic American individualism and form the intellectual basis of today’s writers. The thought of self-reliance inspires people not to conform to social conventions but to rely on themselves. When you are working on your next task, give it your full concentration and really put the effort in to produce the best possible end result. Even if it doesn’t lead to glittering success, you should be proud of yourself for doing your very best.

Emerson’s essay begins by reconstructing volving theory of recognition and the central role it played for his concept of ‘self-reliance.’ Initially having adopted the theorizations of recognition developed by Scottish Enlightenment thinkers, Emerson came to articulate the idea of self-reliance by way of developing an alternative approach to recognition, in which the source allocating recognition is neither society nor an inborn moral sense, but rather the transcendentally conceptualized self. Emerson’s shift towards self-recognition poses questions seldom asked in the contemporary debate on recognition.

“… Live no longer to the expectation of these deceived and deceiving people with whom we converse. Say to them, O father, O mother, O wife, O brother, O friend, I have lived with you after appearances hitherto. Henceforward I am the truth’s. Be it known unto you that henceforward I obey no law less than the eternal law. I will have no covenants but proximities. I shall endeavour to nourish my parents, to support my family, to be chaste husband of one wife,—but these relations I must fill after a new and unprecedented way. I appeal from your customs.

I must be myself.

I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you. If you can love me for what I am, we shall be happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should. I will not hide my tastes or aversions. I will so trust that what is deep is holy, that I will do strongly before the sun and moon whatever inly rejoices me, and the heart appoints. If you are noble, I will love you; if you are not, I will not hurt you and myself by hypocritical attentions. If you are true, but not in the same truth with me, cleave to your companions; I will seek my own. I do this not selfishly, but humbly and truly. It is alike your interest, and mine, and all men’s, however long we have dwelt in lies, to live in truth. Does this sound harsh to-day? You will soon love what is dictated by your nature as well as mine, and, if we follow the truth, it will bring us out safe at last.”

Full essay is here. Emerson wrote Self-Reliance in 1841—well over 160 years ago—and I believe it provides both a delightful antidote for the times in which we live and also holds up an ideal with which to guide us. Self-reliance—the ability to stand on our own two feet and live a life which is our own and not borrowed from someone else, or one which is meaningful and not superficial—is indispensable in instituting our own exclusive identity. So if, like me, you think self-reliance is important, read on.

“A man,” Emerson writes, “should learn to detect and watch that gleam of light which flashes across his mind from within, more than the luster of the firmament of bards and sages.” There is a certain ambiguity in this statement concerning the question of whether social approbation is categorically distinct from the “grace with the loftier deities” or linked to it by inversion. One also notices Emerson’s rhetorically combining Roman polytheism with Protestant grace, the distinction between lesser and loftier deities amounting to a kind of Protestant doctrine of two kingdoms in which two different economies of recognition are at work. Find somewhere you can think and reflect. It might be the public library or the bottom of your garden. It doesn’t matter where, as long as you spend some time thinking and don’t forget to take a notebook to jot down your thoughts. Everything we do depends for its quality on the thinking we do first.

The great philosopher of affirmation is concurrently the great teacher of dissatisfaction, even disappointment. In each of us, the energies of hope should make room for the emotion of philosophical acceptance of the world, as it must be. If you want to feel at peace go for a walk in the countryside and learn to appreciate your surroundings. Better still, do some sport as this releases serotonin which is so critical to the feeling of well-being. You don’t need to spend lots of money on a new car to make yourself feel happy; just go for a run.

Having established these fundamental dimensions of Emerson’s theory of inspiration, it is crucial to see that Emerson’s praxis of eloquence was geared at putting inspiration into effect. This he attempted to achieve by activating the reader’s imagination.

Quotations from Ralph Waldo Emerson’s “Self-Reliance”

  • “Discontent is the want of self-reliance: it is infirmity of will.”
  • “It is easy to see that a greater self-reliance must work a revolution in all the offices and relations of men; in their religion; in their education; in their pursuits; their modes of living; their association; in their property; in their speculative views.”
  • “I must be myself. I cannot break myself any longer for you, or you. If you can love me for what I am, we shall be the happier. If you cannot, I will still seek to deserve that you should. I will not hide my tastes or aversions.”
  • “You take the way from man, not to man. All persons that ever existed are its forgotten ministers.”
  • “In this pleasing contrite wood-life which God allows me, let me record day by day my honest thought without prospect or retrospect, and, I cannot doubt it, it will be found symmetrical, though I mean it not and see it not. My book should smell of pines and resound with the hum of insects.”
  • “Society is a wave. The wave moves onward, but the water of which it is composed does not.”
  • 'The Essential Writings of Ralph Waldo Emerson' by Ralph Waldo Emerson (ISBN 0679783229) “We fancy it rhetoric, when we speak of eminent virtue. We do not yet see that virtue is Height, and that a man or a company of men, plastic and permeable to principles, by the law of nature must overpower and ride all cities, nations, kings, rich men, poets, who are not.”
  • “And so the reliance on Property, including the reliance on governments which protect it, is the want of self-reliance.”
  • “Trust thyself: every heart vibrates to that iron string.”
  • “Inasmuch as the soul is present, there will be power not confident but agent.”
  • “Society never advances. It recedes as fast on one side as it gains on the other.”
  • “In the Will work and acquire, and thou hast chained the wheel of Chance, and shalt sit hereafter out of fear from her rotations.”
  • “The civilized man has built a coach, but has lost the use of his feet.”
  • “Life only avails, not the having lived.”
  • “Be it how it will, do right now. Always scorn appearances, and you always may. The force of character is cumulative.”
  • “We but half express ourselves, and are ashamed of that divine idea which each of us represents.”
  • “I like the silent church before the service begins, better than any preaching.”
  • “Insist on yourself; never imitate.”
  • “What I must do is all that concerns me, not what the people think.”
  • “Truth is handsomer than the affectation of love. Your goodness must have some edge to it,—else it is none”
  • “A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do.”
  • “Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing.”
  • “There will be an agreement in whatever variety of actions, so they be each honest and natural in their hour. For of one will, the actions will be harmonious, however unlike they seem.”
  • “I do this not selfishly, but humbly and truly. It is alike your interest, and mine, and all men’s, however long we have dwelt in lies, to live in truth.”
  • “If you are noble, I will love you; if you are not, I will not hurt you and myself by hypocritical attentions.”
  • “Whoso would be a man must be a nonconformist.”
  • “Nothing can bring you peace but yourself. Nothing can bring you peace but the triumph of principles.”
  • “Travelling is a fool’s paradise. Our first journeys discover to us the indifference of places.”
  • “The virtue in most request is conformity. Self-reliance is its aversion. It loves not realities and creators, but names and customs.”3/29/2016
  • “Society everywhere is in conspiracy against the manhood of every one of its members.”
  • “Character teaches above our wills.”
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Posted in Philosophy and Wisdom

Show Uncommon Commitment in Your Job

Show Uncommon Commitment in Your Job

Some people say that the key lesson of strategy has to do with speed. If you can think and act faster than your competition, you can stay one step ahead. Certainly speed is critical, but why do some firms take over the market after others do the pioneer work?

Other strategists say that the concentration of superior resources at the decisive point drives strategy: if you concentrate your resources, you are sure to win. But if superior resources are key, why do some firms with inferior resources beat stronger ones?

After studying great strategic thinkers, I’m convinced that neither resources nor speed are decisive. Some have abundant resources, others do not. Some companies operate at light speed, and it helps them. But others make it policy of not entering the market first and are still successful.

To discover the key lesson practiced by all great strategists, I interviewed more than 200 combat leaders from the military services and asked them, whatif anything they had learned from leading in combat that they applied successfully in their careers. Almost all included the idea of “uncommon commitment.”

What’s so special about uncommon commitment? People follow a leader with this quality for two reasons:

  1. it proves that the goal is worthwhile and important
  2. it proves that the leader won’t quit.

Extraordinary commitment affects the planning and implementation of strategy.

If you hope to implement your strategy successfully, you need to display uncommon commitment.

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Posted in Education and Career Management and Leadership

Process of Building a Personal Brand

You already have a personal brand. What do people feel when you walk into the room? And what do you want them to feel? With successful branding, your key audiences think about you the way you want them to think.

The branding process has four steps.

Consider the corporate brand

The more senior the executive, the closer the fit needs to be between corporate brand and personal brand. CEOs should consider themselves an extension or an embodiment of the corporate brand. What does your corporate brand stand for? How does your CEO’s brand fit within it? If the branding does not fit, the CEO’s tenure will likely be short. Successful branding does not mean that the CEO needs to layer another persona over his or her own. Nor does it mean that the CEO needs to be conventionally charismatic. The branding of many CEOs is modest, low key, and but their personal brand stands for something that key constituents relate to.

Some CEOs have star power and are extremely media-genie. In this case, the challenge is to ensure that the CEO’s personal brand contributes to the corporate brand rather than distracts from it. The spotlight is put on the mission of the company, rather than on the personality of the CEO.

Articulate your personal brand

How do you identify and articulate your personal brand? Consider using archetypes-themes that tell a story. All business communication involves the telling of stories. An annual report is a story. A press release is a story. Archetypes tell the maximum story with minimum effort. We have all certain archetypes within us. In personal branding, focus on one or two major archetypes that explain your core motivation and strategies. For example, President George W. Bush is most effective when he takes on the Regular Guy persona. Al Gore is a Sage brand. The ability to make each person feel heard is the hallmark of a Lover brand and Bill Clinton personifies this. Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, is a true Ruler brand-fully in control.

In business, Apple Computer is an Outlaw brand (” Think Different“), and its CEO Steve Jobs is a Creator/Outlaw brand. The close alignment between the company and its leader works well. Another Outlaw brand with a flavor of Warrior is Hong Kong entrepreneur Richard Li, whose career was built on taking risks and turning away from convention. Oracle Software is a Warrior brand, as is its CEO, Larry Ellison. Executives who work in healthcare often exemplify the Caregiver brand.

What archetype is dominant for you and your company? When coaching executives, we use assessments and questions to uncover an executive’s dominant archetype, the basis of his or her personal brand. To discover your archetype, ask yourself: What do I value above all else? What do I represent? What is unique about me? What is my call to action? What is my greatest fear? What story am I living?

Adjust your brand

Once you have articulated your brand, check for congruence. Ask others, “Does this brand evoke me?” You should get agreement from your audiences. Is your brand aligned with your actions and words? Are your actions aligned with your desired branding? Are there conflicts within your archetypes? For example, if you have a strong Regular Guy streak, you probably fear standing out. Does this prevent you from stepping into a Ruler role when your leadership calls for it? Or does the Lover aspect of your personality conflict with the Wnniors need to achieve? Finally, ask yourself: Is this really who I want to be? How can I aim even higher? What quirks of mine can I incorporate into my branding? Most of us spend our lives trying to conform. This is a chance to celebrate our uniqueness.

Live your brand

As you implement your brand, you will find that you have some clear strengths and liabilities. Your brand will alienate some people, and that’s okay. Strong brands don’t try to be all things to all people. Each archetype presents both opportunities and traps. A Warrior leader can be powerful, but may not create a nurturing work environment.

A Creator leader can be invigorating to follow, but may not be a structured thinker. Your strategy should be to mitigate your liabilities by flexing your behavior to meet the needs of the people and groups who are important to your business. For example, if you deal frequently with Ruler archetypes but are not a Ruler brand yourself, you will need to learn certain strategies and skills. By noticing your impact on your key audiences, and by stretching your skill set, you become a stronger, more flexible brand. Successful leaders who live their personal branding exercise a paradox. They are both deeply steeped in their own personal identities and deeply flexible toward their key audiences. Leaders who are good at both elements are authentic (true to themselves) and influential (powerful with others).

A Brand is A Promise

Remember: a brand is a promise, one that you make and fulfill, over and over. What promises are you and your company fulfilling? Fulfilling the business promise through effective communication yields a high Return on Communication.

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Posted in Education and Career

How To Fail Successfully

How To Fail Successfully

If you’re going to be a skillful sailor, you have to weather some storms. We build and expand skills by testing them, and that means that failure is an essential ingredient of success. It’s the weight that we lift for one set of repetitions but not three that we should be tackling in the gym. After we succeed at one weight, we seek the next weight that will ensure our failure.

The key to mastery is failing successfully. We fail successfully when failure does not take us out of the game (risk management) and when failure sparks adaptation and innovation. If we want to become a world class skier, we can’t remain content with tackling small hills. But we also can’t start at the highest peaks. In conquering trading hills we prepare ourselves to master the mountains.

Source: Brett Steenbarger

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Posted in Philosophy and Wisdom

Before You Start a Business

Before You Start a Business

  • Come up with a great business idea: Great businesses are built on great ideas. Discover your own great idea by drawing on some basic principles plus inspiration from famous entrepreneurs. But first, you must know who your customers are, which is not as straightforward as it sounds.
  • Understand your market: Starting a business is risky. Give your business the best chance to survive and thrive by taking three important steps: conduct primary and secondary research, understand the five key success factors, and create a competitive landscape table that rates the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors.
  • Prototype your idea to make your idea a reality: Add two important skills to your entrepreneurial toolkit: writing a theory of business and building a prototype. By following these two actions, you’ll be able to refine your business idea, demonstrate that it’s possible to achieve, and show that your idea delivers what your customers want.
  • Perform market analysis and develop a marketing strategy: Continue your examination of the business plan by focusing on the marketing portion, which should include your research and analysis of the market as well as a comprehensive marketing strategy. Stress the importance of telling a persuasive story.
  • Conduct risk analysis: Potential investors reading your business plan will want to know that you have a plan to deal with possible obstacles and catastrophic surprises. Discover tools such as the Porter Five Forces Model and the SWOT analysis, which provide insight into critical risks and how to address them.
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Posted in Business and Strategy Education and Career

Your One Chance to Break Free from the Cubicle

Break Free from the Cubicle

Almost everyone stuck in a cubicle dreams of starting his own business. Of course, starting a company while employed by another one can be tricky. Amongst thousands of books on pursuing your dreams and entrepreneurism, Ben Arment’s ‘Dream Year: Make the Leap from a Job You Hate to a Life You Love’ stands out above the crowd. Here’s some of Ben’s unique blend of insight, practical advice and inspiration.

  1. 'Dream Year: Make the Leap from a Job You Hate to a Life You Love' by Ben Arment (ISBN 159184729X) It will be scary, but you should leave your office career to launch your own company, “We are motivated by two conflicting fears in life: the fear of failure and the fear of insignificance.”
  2. Lack of time isn’t a valid excuse. “The truth is, you don’t have extra time to pursue your dream. No one does. We have to remove time from some other endeavor … sacrifice is painful but necessary.”
  3. You’ll need monetary help. “Don’t let rainmaking deter you …. Once you taste the sweet victory of a positive response, you’ll not only become more comfortable [with it], you might even enjoy it.”
  4. Be ready to lose sleep. “Work in the margins of your life—the late nights and early mornings—to make it a full-time reality …this is your one chance to break free from the cubicle.”
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Posted in Education and Career

Insightful Life Lessons from Successful Business Executives

Insightful Life Lessons from Successful Business Executives

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Posted in Education and Career

How Peak Performers Move Ahead and Pursue their Dreams

How Peak Performers Pursue their Dreams

I’m often asked, “How do I know if I’m a peak performer?” Frequently the people who ask seem afraid that the answer will be “You aren’t. You don’t measure up.” You begin answering the question by examining your current situation, “the horse you’re riding on.” You may have chosen wisely and well, knowing that loving your work and being inspired by its possibilities are critical to a life filled with challenge, rewards, and energy. You may have selected your job on those grounds. Still, amid job stress, internal politics, firefighting, and the craziness of daily life, your mission may be nearly forgotten: “I did love it once—or at least I knew I could love it. Now that sense of being in the right place, working at the heart of things, feels faraway.”

Anyone who feels that way will find it difficult to see his or her direction, values, and opportunities as part of a coherent mission. To paraphrase George Santayana, many of us redouble our efforts when we have lost our direction. The result is not necessarily failure. Several famous and wealthy people have mislaid their original missions. The result is, though, that their redoubled efforts often secure gratification not quite their own, at considerable cost to body and soul.

So they must ask another question: “Is my place to stand, in my current commitment, true to my real passions, or have I traded my passions for security or glory, and settled for gratifications hot quite my own?”

The key is to identify your current situation—candidly, with “ruthless compassion,” and then to act in your own behalf. Peak performers assess the degree to which their abilities, jobs, and work environment coincide to move forward their mission the degree to which their current stand gives them leverage to achieve those ends they feel destined to accomplish.

Many of us know the feeling of being close but not quite there, having the mission in sight but a bit out of focus. We adjust; we move elements around; we struggle, perhaps for years. We fail to see that we are having difficulty not with coping and adaptation but with growth and change. To others our struggle might seem puzzling. Those who know us well may feel that what is best for us is obvious. But, obsessed with the trials of daily life, we ignore the “real stuff” of our place to stand and the “right stuff” in ourselves.

“Will I ever discriminate between what really matters in work and life and what only seems to matter? Will I ever judge wisely and have the courage to act in my own behalf?” For the peak performers, the answer to these questions is yes.

Some of us have yet to find our place to stand. We have not taken our best stand, have not fully engaged our mission. But old missions—real ones don’t die easily. They may recede into the background, but they are still waiting there, ready to move to center stage. Like an unrequited love, a real mission lives on in the mind of its creator, awaiting its resolution: “It just didn’t work out. I got pulled away by different interests and responsibilities. The circumstances changed, and the passions cooled. It just wasn’t practical to go on. Besides, something more reasonable came along.”

How to Promote Peak Performance

Promote Peak Performance

Our reasoned, reasonable loves offer but shadows of the motivation and potential of our real ones. Austrian-Canadian endocrinologist Hans Selye once observed: “Realistic people with practical aims are rarely as realistic or practical in the long run of life, as the dreamers who pursue their dreams.” Peak performers know this distinction.

With work, as with people, there must be 50 ways to leave your lover. But if the love is real, its feelings bone-deep and wholehearted, the 50 ways serve only as rationalizations and excuses. Many of us have major responsibilities: equity positions, family obligations, our friends’ expectations, our familiarity with a place and a job. Instead of allowing themselves to be trapped in such situations, peak performers accept the risks and temporary discomforts of challenging themselves to better the situations. In spite of their fears and self-doubts, they exercise their courage and face the difficulties.

As they reflect on the journey, a memory, an award, or a picture may trigger associations with a face, a name, or an old life plan. With missions loved, as with people, come a torrent of images. There is a certain pathos to such reflection, taking its origin as William Wordsworth said poetry does: “from emotion recollected in tranquility” This emotion, not sadness, reconnects them with the source of their motivation. Peak performers move ahead and pursue their dreams.

Others might say: “I always wanted to be .. .I wonder what would have happened if .. .I never knew why it didn’t work. .. If only … If only … If only … ” Such normal feelings trigger further reflection for the peak performer: “What did I learn from that situation? How can I recapture those old dreams, perhaps in an altered or updated form? How can I act in my own behalf? And how can I ensure against being like those people who are unable or unwilling to learn from such reflection, who continue in their rut, riding the horse long after the race is over and the beast has died?”

As a peak performer, you recognize yourself as a person who was born not as a high achiever but as a life-long learner. With the capacity to grow, change, and reach for the highest possibilities of human nature, you regard yourself as a person in process. Not perfect, but a person who keeps asking: What more can I be? What else can I achieve that will benefit me and my company? That will contribute to my family, community, and society? And then answering for yourself.

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Posted in Education and Career Leaders and Innovators Mental Models and Psychology

Enhance your Professional Presence in 10 Simple Steps

Enhance your Professional Presence

Professionals dedicate themselves to their careers and their companies. Amateurs are casual about their careers and often blind to advancement opportunities. Professionals also make more money.

In selling situations and in life, how you present yourself plays a big role in how people think of you and how much attention people pay to what you say. A dedicated professional commands more respect than a casual amateur does. Always.

How can you acquire professional presence? Take these 10 steps:

  1. Start with your attitude. Are you a professional? If so, why not let everyone know it. If not, maybe that is why you are not as successful as you would like to be. What adjustment in attitude do you need to make?
  2. Enhance your personal appearance. Are you really satisfied with your appearance? Grooming is important, good clothing is necessary, and how about your health? Shape up your body and it will shape up your attitude.
  3. Boost your business appearance. Your customers and clients relate financial success with competence. Does your car communicate financial success? How about your briefcase? Your organizer or planner? Do you appear to be well organized or stuffed to the gills with miscellany?
  4. Earn the confidence of others with your organization skills. Customers relate being organized to being competent. Organization is recognized as being on time, having a neat desk, being ready with the answers, and diligently following up on what you promised to deliver. All these things tell your people that you are a person worthy of their confidence and the confidence of their friends.
  5. Talk like a pro from the prospect’s point of view. Avoid slang and industry shoptalk. Some people think that using all kinds of fancy terms means that they are experts. A real expert can explain a complex, technological process in plain English. So ask questions. Choose your words carefully. Moreover, plan your presentation from the prospect’s point of view.
  6. Stay in tune. Every profession is changing, but none more than sales and marketing. Pushy, obnoxious salespeople are gone, along with the less competent. People demand excellence from sales and service people, and reward that excellence with referral after referral. Devote a regular part of your week to learning new skills and sharpening existing ones.
  7. Respect your fellow team members and salespeople. They have the same challenges as you do. They deserve the same credit and recognition when successful, the same help and encouragement when faltering. Everyone wins when the team gets stronger.
  8. Remember your family and friends. They want a high quality relationship, too. Plan time for family and social needs. This will assure you of their understanding and support when business takes you away evenings and weekends.
  9. See the people. There are thousands of people in your area who need and deserve the professional services and products that you provide. Make them aware of what you do. Be vocal about your abilities and qualifications. If you do not take it to them, they may be shortchanged by someone who is not as good as you are.
  10. Integrity keeps you there. Nearly every day an opportunity arises to take unfair advantage of someone. Stretching the truth, selling without the facts, omitting information, and avoiding present challenges by stalling or blaming someone else is not professional behavior.

It is important to look at the effect professional presence has on you and others. If you are not sure about how you come across to others, request feedback from people you trust and admire. Ask for feedback from people who will tell you the truth and give you insights into how you can improve your professional presence.

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