Note: While reading a book whenever I come across something interesting, I highlight it on my Kindle. Later I turn those highlights into a blogpost. It is not a complete summary of the book. These are my notes which I intend to go back to later. Let’s start!

Most people don’t think more than one or two moves ahead. Those people are amateurs and flame out quickly in business. Effective strategy is about making a move and being prepared to launch another series of moves based on how the market or your competition reacts. You must think beyond your first strike to execute an effective strategy. When you start to get really good, you anticipate how others will react and can deploy a series of moves that are nearly impossible to counteract.

People who don’t think more than one move ahead are driven by ego, emotion, and fear. Your top salesman threatens to quit if you don’t give him a raise. The emotional amateur responds by saying “Nobody threatens me” or “We don’t need him anyway.” The practical strategist, on the other hand, is plotting his next moves.

Enthusiasm can be powerful, as long as it’s coupled with planning five moves ahead. Too many people want to make move number five without first going through the first four moves. There’s a sequence to it. To reach the next level, you have to shift from one-track (and one-move) thinking to seeing many moves ahead.

The five moves are: 1.  Master Knowing Yourself 2. Master the Ability to Reason 3. Master Building the Right Team 4. Master Strategy to Scale 5. Master Power Plays

Nothing matters unless you understand what makes you tick and who you want to be. Far too often, consultants and influencers assume that everyone wants the same thing. When I’m speaking to a CEO or a founder, I start by asking questions. Before making any recommendations, I gather as much info as I can about who the person wants to be and what he or she wants out of life.

The purpose of this move is to identify what matters to you the most and help put a strategy together that fits your level of commitment and vision. I may influence you to question certain decisions or ways you’ll go about fulfilling your vision, but it’s up to you to decide to stretch yourself and think bigger.

Who do you want to be? As you continue to ask yourself this question, your answer will determine your level of urgency. If you want to build a little mom-and-pop corner store, you don’t have to treat business like war and you can be laid back in your approach. If you’re looking to disrupt an industry, you’d better be armed with the right story, right team, right data, and right strategies. Really take the time to get clear about your story—exactly who you want to be—or you won’t be able to soldier on when things get tough. And in business, things always get tough.

The only thing separating us from greatness is a vision and a plan for achieving greatness. When you’re fighting for a cause, a dream, something greater than yourself, you will find the enthusiasm, passion, and joy that make life a great adventure. The key is identifying your cause and knowing who you want to be.    One day, my supervisor, Robby, offered me an assistant manager position at the Bally in Chatsworth, thirty miles outside Hollywood. He wanted me to turn the club around; it had been hitting only 40 percent of its monthly goal. I didn’t want to go to Chatsworth. I wanted to be a weekend manager in Hollywood, a position that paid $55,000 a year. Robby promised me that if I turned things around in Chatsworth, the job would be mine. The only other contender for it was a longtime employee named Edwin. As long as I outperformed him, I could bank on becoming the weekend manager in Hollywood. Fast-forward ninety days. We were able to turn things around at the Chatsworth club, taking it from 40 percent of the monthly revenue goal to 115 percent. I was near the top of the leaderboard companywide, well ahead of Edwin. When I got a call from Robby to meet, I assumed that corporate must be pleased. My plans were coming together. I was going to meet the tness legend Joe Weider, be spotted by a major Hollywood agent, get my acting career off the ground, and meet a Kennedy. I can vividly remember the anticipation I felt that afternoon before my meeting with Robby. The moment I walked into Robby’s office, I knew something was off. This wasn’t the same guy who had promised me the position if I outperformed Edwin. That’s just paranoia, I reassured myself. Give him the benefit of the doubt and hear what he has to say. “Patrick, I’m so proud of the performance you and your team put up the last ninety days,” Robby said. “I want you to stay there for another six months and take the Chatsworth club to the next level.” “What do you mean?” I asked. “I made it very clear that I wanted the weekend manager position in Hollywood.” That position, he said, had already been lled. At that point, my blood was boiling. I couldn’t believe a grown man could look me in the eye after going back on his word. I had been so focused on beating the goal that I hadn’t put any thought into what I would do if it didn’t work out. Who’d gotten the position? You guessed it: Edwin. Why? Edwin had been with Bally for six years; I’d been there for only nine months. Never mind my accomplishments, kicking Edwin’s tail on the national leaderboard. Never mind that, according to objective data, I had earned it. In fairness to Robby, he wasn’t being unethical. Because he had to follow marching orders from corporate, he was being political. In many ways it was a blessing to learn at a young age that corporations have agendas and that advancement is rarely based on merit alone. Robby could tell I was furious, and he asked me to step outside to cool off. I walked to the parking lot and tried to think. I imagined how these events were going to dictate the rest of my life. I played the movie in my mind, and I just couldn’t accept how it would end if I accepted Robby’s decision. I didn’t realize it then, but I was already processing my next moves. The only challenge was that I was reacting to someone else’s move rather than executing my own. I walked back into his o ce and asked him if the decision was final. He said it was. At that point, I looked him in the eye and told him I quit. Initially, he thought I was kidding, but I was confident about my decision. What’s the point of working somewhere that doesn’t give you a clear direction on what you need to do to advance in the company? Why put myself through the misery? It was at that moment I realized I could not live another day with my destiny in someone else’s control. I wasn’t thinking like a winner at that point in my career. Given my inability to think more than one or two moves ahead, I was still an amateur. As a result, I was petrified. Driving home, I felt as though I’d made the worst decision of my life. My coworkers started calling me to ask what the hell I’d been thinking. My family couldn’t believe it, either. By the time I got into bed that night, most of the emotion had worn off, and I was left wondering what I was going to do next. Later in my career, I learned how to process while in the heat of the moment. Thankfully, that night I was able to calm down just enough to think about my next moves. When I think back on it now, I realize that it was a defining moment in my life. I had to look inward and get clear about who I wanted to be—and where I wanted to go.

I now view all those haters and doubters as gift givers. Ultimately, they led me to a point of clarity about exactly who I want to be. They led me to say “never again” and to create a list of my nonnegotiables (things you are not willing to compromise no matter the circumstances). I encourage you to try to do the same. In doing so, don’t compromise your quirks or other things that may seem weird to others—these idiosyncrasies are important because of what you have experienced and the way you are wired. You really need to get clear about what you can sacrifice and what you absolutely will not sacrifice. It will lead you to create your own list of nonnegotiables.    Who do you want to be? That’s the question we started with, and it’s the one we’ll end with. The only way to answer it is by becoming clear about the life you want to live. In doing so, you will immediately embody that person and act as if you are already there.    There’s only one person you have to spend every second of your life with. Not your parents. Not your spouse. Not your kids. Not your best friend. You. The moment you understand who you will have to spend the rest of your life with and learn to accept it, you’ll eliminate self-judgment, which will empower you to make more bold moves. It will minimize overthinking and increase execution.   Most of the time, it requires some catalyst to examine what motivates you. There are four reasons that may trigger you to reassess what drives you: Boredom Declining results A plateau or stagnancy A feeling that your talent is declining If you’re feeling any of those, now is the perfect time to dig deeper and determine what you really want.

Four Levels of Why LEVEL 1: SURVIVAL Everyone who has a job to make money is focused on paying his or her bills. Some people stop here. LEVEL 2: STATUS You’ll hear people say things such as “You know, I want to make seven figures.” Why? Status. They may want to have a nice car or house or send their kids to a prestigious school. They want to be able to talk about having this or that. This is all about keeping up with the Joneses. Status is still lightweight, but it’s higher than survival. When most people reach this level, they slow down and settle. LEVEL 3: FREEDOM Some people may say, “You know what? I’m so sick and tired of six figures. I want to be free. I want to make the kind of money that gives me breathing room, where I don’t have to be in the office every day.” They may want to live in a community where their kids can play outside without their having to worry about them. Or they may want to be a digital nomad so they can surf in the summer and ski in the winter. Freedom as a why is somewhat selfish. There’s nothing wrong with wanting freedom, but it may feel empty once you’ve attained it. If that’s the case for you and your feeling of contentment turns to frustration, you now have the luxury of going deeper and focusing on aspects of life that will provide you with a true sense of fulfillment. LEVEL 4: PURPOSE Defining your purpose is asking the questions: How do I want to be remembered? How do I want to make an impact on other people’s lives? It’s about realizing why you were put on this earth and pushing the limits of the greatest version of yourself. Operating at the highest level of the pyramid is driven by: History Helping others Change Impact Enlightenment/self-actualization .Very few people reach the purpose level. Why? Some of it is fear. Some of it is spending their entire lives stuck in survival mode without any time to think. Some of it is being caught up in too many distractions, whether they are social media, sports, or entertainment. In truth, nobody really gets caught up in these distractions. They choose them to escape reality and avoid the di cult work of self-inquiry. What it comes down to is not spending enough time asking the right questions. If you want to make a big impact, it will happen only if you’re willing to sit down and ask yourself some important questions about life. Unfortunately, so many times people are just going, going, going, and they die never having asked themselves the questions that matter most. My challenge to you is: no matter what level you’re at now, get clear on your purpose.

I kept asking myself, “Why are so many people experiencing success and not me?” By being alone, I could actually see what was going on and start to notice trends and patterns. Ultimately, I felt a sense of relief because I realized that all the problems and the answers resided within me. With that knowledge, I knew I was in control of fixing it. That exercise was so valuable that I’ve condensed the most important questions to create what I call the Personal Identity Audit. When you study the most important person (you), you will begin to learn how to conquer the most important person who is holding you back (you). These questions—along with the reflection that resulted—completely changed my life. They took me from being an average person to realizing my potential in life. I came out feeling free. I came out accepting my limitations and challenges. Now when I advise entrepreneurs, I ask them to conduct a Personal Identity Audit.

You want to choose a path that puts the odds of winning in your favor; in poker, it’s called game selection. What determines if you win in any game (or business) isn’t how good you are; it’s how good you are relative to your competition. That’s why it’s so important to know your own strengths and weaknesses and find a market in which you have an inherent advantage.   I don’t think everyone wants to build the next Apple. I don’t think everyone wants to be the next Elon Musk. I don’t think everyone wants to have a life working eighty to a hundred hours a week for twenty-plus years to build a massive empire. Some people simply want to build a small business that will give them control without having to deal with the day-to-day politics of working for a Fortune 500 company. Others want to build an online business that they can run while traveling the world. Self-awareness is critical to forging your path. When you are honest with yourself, you may realize that being an entrepreneur isn’t the right path for you.   Things are going to happen in business that are beyond your control. How you choose to react to them will determine whether you become a master at your craft. Sometimes you are forced to make your next move sooner than you previously intended to. I was clear about my nonnegotiables, and once they were compromised, I had to return to the chessboard of my career and devise a new plan of attack.

You’re going to have moments when you feel as though the world is coming to an end. An amateur panics, but a grand master doesn’t. Before he does anything, he must first “process” what’s happening. He has to do so while staying on an even keel. This is why stoicism is both so important and so challenging—and why Marcus Aurelius and Seneca are sages who have stood the test of time. Emotion can get the best of all of us and cloud our judgment. Sadly, I’ve learned this lesson the hard way too many times. It’s why my answer about the key to success for people at all levels of business is “Know how to process issues.”Life is always happening; the way you respond is based on how you process issues.    Most entrepreneurs don’t fail because of a flawed business model or an investor who backs out. They fail because they refuse to abandon their preconceived notions about work and life. They refuse to solve (and learn from) any and all kinds of problems as they arise. Some people say that common sense can’t be taught. I can tell you that it can be taught, and it can be learned—because once you learn how to become a more strategic thinker, making important decisions is going to seem like second nature to you.

Not long ago, I was a high-strung CEO with a horrible temper. In 2013, I had a panic attack that sent me to the hospital—and recurred every day for eighteen months. The main cause of the panic attacks was indecision! What kept me up at night and made my heart beat faster wasn’t my workload, which I could handle. The problem was that I could never stop thinking about issues. I would replay every decision and every conversation over and over in my mind. It was eating me alive and damaging both my business and personal life. I had no peace of mind because I was so worried that I would make a wrong decision.    Great processors use the word “I” and see their role in whatever problem has occurred. They ask questions such as “How did I contribute to this? What did I do to cocreate this situation? How can I improve so I’ll be better equipped to handle something like this in the future?” Poor processors play the victim and blame others and external events rather than seeing how they contributed to the problem. You know you’re witnessing a poor processor when you don’t hear the word “I.” You’ll hear him or her say things such as “All millennials are lazy. These kids have no work ethic. They are causing my business to suffer.” Expert processors replace the word “they” (or “you” or “it”) with the word “I.” When dealing with the same issue, the expert processor will say, “I’m doing a poor job managing millennials. I need to see what my blind spots are. I need to learn how to better understand them so I know what motivates them. Or I need to hire a different demographic. No matter what, it’s on me to solve this problem.” What differentiates mediocre people from exceptional ones is how deeply they process. Most people are surface-level processors, but the best of the best go much deeper. Long-term thinking versus short-term thinking is the difference between a grand master and an amateur. Surface-level processors are looking for a quick fix. They are thinking only one move ahead, and their goal is to make the issue disappear for now. Deep-level processors look beneath the surface for causes. They are thinking several moves ahead and planning a sequence of moves to make sure the issue doesn’t happen again.

“My bad.” These are two simple words that all the great ones use constantly. Winners also use phrases such as “This mistake is on me” and “We have no one to blame but ourselves.” What do victims do? Blame the software. Blame the market. Blame their teammates. Blame their customers. Blame their managers. They point the finger at everyone but themselves. As a result, they keep making the same mistakes and keep losing. I bet you know some of these people. They’re the ones who tell you that it’s always somebody else’s fault. It’s a constant victim story and a bottomless sea of complaints. Blaming others distracts them from seeing themselves as the common factor in all their interactions. The author and relationship coach Mark Manson said, “I always tell men, if every girl you date is unstable and crazy, that’s a reflection of your emotional maturity level. It’s a reflection of your confidence or lack of confidence. It’s a reflection of your neediness.”

Processing Steps to Take When Someone Ticks You Off 1. Take responsibility for your role in what happened. 2. State specifically what you did to create the problem. 3. Channel your frustration into getting better and preventing future problems.

Going silent during a crisis is an example of making the easy choice instead of the effective choice. In fact, the importance of frequent and quality communication magnifies during a crisis. When everyone is freaking out, it’s incumbent upon you, the leader, to be the calm in the storm. Decisiveness, resiliency, and calmly processing issues are even more critical at this time. The way you react either shortens or extends the crisis. Let’s put every crisis on a scale from 1 to 10.

What extends or decreases the lifespan of a crisis: 1.  Your strategies 2. Your level of poise 3. Your over exaggeration of a crisis: Turning a 3 into a 9 4. Your downplaying of a crisis: Turning a 9 into a 3 5. Your ability to see ve moves ahead. There’s no reason to blame yourself for an accident or a pandemic. You didn’t create the crisis. It’s your reaction to the crisis that will determine the life or death of your business.

The Eight Traits of a Great Processor The people I know who are expert processors have very different personalities and business strategies, but they share the following eight traits: 1.  They ask lots of questions. Having more data leads to making better assumptions. What caused this? How can we solve it? How can we prevent it from happening again? 2.  They don’t care about being right or wrong. They’re interested only in the truth. Great processors want to handle the situation and move on. If someone else has a better idea, great. Ego doesn’t become an obstacle to making the right decision. 3. They don’t make excuses. Wasting time and effort on why things went wrong isn’t their style. 4. They like to be challenged. Their priority is handling a situation quickly and effectively, and if other people have a solution—even if it differs from their own—they want to hear it. They relish people who cause them to consider alternatives or defend their position. 5.  They’re curious. You can’t solve problems without knowledge. Processors are always learning more about their business and how it works. They love critical details as much as big ideas. 6. They prevent more problems than they solve. People who are really good at processing issues are also really good at spotting yellow ags before they turn red. 7.  They make great negotiators. Curious problem solvers use logic to find a win for all parties involved. 8. They’re more interested in permanently solving a problem than putting a Band-Aid on it.    When we don’t have a methodology, we’re prone to going in circles, paralyzed by fear. When we do have one, we have an organized approach for processing issues. A methodology will allow you to process any issue in an organized way.

The best entrepreneurs look past symptoms and get to the heart of a problem. To do so, let’s hone in on a critical part of this methodology—identifying the real issue and the deepest why—so you can get even better at solving for X. X isn’t always obvious. In fact, the real issue may be hiding behind a lot of emotion and biased opinions. That’s why you’ve got to cut through the clutter in your mind. What’s real and what isn’t? Are you focusing on something because it’s someone else’s opinion or your own false assumption? Are you blowing up something beyond what it is because your ego is hurt? Are you separating emotion from logic? Once you’ve eliminated the “nonissue” issues, focus on causes. You’re looking to identify “burning platforms” and “golden gates.” Burning platforms: Hot problems that you have to deal with immediately Golden gates: Bright opportunities that you need to enter quickly Once you’ve identified the real issues, start asking “Why?” Keep doing so until you reach a point where you can’t ask “Why?” anymore—or when you’re forced to repeat an explanation you’ve already discovered. That is your deepest why and the real cause of your problem

Five Questions to Ask to Identify the Real Issue 1.  Do I know what the real issue is, or am I looking at a symptom? 2. Does the team have the data regarding the real issue? 3. Is the issue real, or is it an assumption or someone else’s opinion? 4. Is there a tangible issue, or is it simply a hurt ego? 5. Am I thinking emotionally or logically?   As an entrepreneur, you feel as though you’re going to have to face a million different types of decisions, right? Actually, only two kinds of events will require you to make decisions: 1.  Offense.The opportunity to make money or advance your business or career. The choices here often revolve around growth, expansion, marketing, and sales. 2. Defense. The opportunity to solve a problem, to stop losing money, or to stop moving backward in some way. The choices here frequently involve legal matters such as compliance and protection against competitors or market corrections. Once the problem or opportunity you’re facing can be categorized as o ense or defense, it immediately becomes less intimidating. You’ve labeled it, and whether it’s o ense or defense, you’ve dealt with both types of issues in the past. Decision making then goes from something scary and unfamiliar to something manageable.

Playing offense involves looking for opportunities to make money or advance growth, expansion, marketing, and sales. Playing defense involves solving a problem, preventing the loss of money, or going backward. Issues such as compliance, legal, and financial hedging fall into the defense category.

THE INCREDIBLE POWER OF PROCESSING ISSUES 1. Moving forward, take 100 percent responsibility for anything that doesn’t work out. See your role as the one who created the issue and has the power to solve it. Apply the Investment Time Return (ITR) formula in order to make better decisions and stretch your resources. Reflect on any possible mistakes or weaknesses, and make your next move(s) accordingly. HOW TO SOLVE FOR X: A METHODOLOGY FOR EFFECTIVE DECISION MAKING 2.   Share the Solve for X methodology with your leadership team and use it to process three problems you’re currently facing. Make sure you identify their true causes and the reasons they happened.

You’ll know you’re succeeding in life when others are winning simply because of their association with you. It could be based on the example you set, your contacts, your coaching, your knowledge, or your tough love. Think about these three questions: 1.  What benefits are you currently offering to others? 2. In what way do people improve by associating with you? 3. How many lives have you changed positively in the past year?

Once you have a track record of people you have enriched, you can start attracting people to your team. Think about who you need to help you, not just to do well today but also to achieve your deeper, long-term objectives. Take care of them, and they’ll back you up.   People Will Ask (and You Must Answer) When They Are Deciding to Work for You 1.  What makes your company distinct from your competition? 2. What separates your leadership from that of others? 3. Do you have a code of honor? Do you embody it? 4. What benefits program will they get from being associated with you? 5. Do people constantly see you growing? Can they tell that you are evolving?

Insecure leaders surround themselves with “yes people.” Effective leaders surround themselves with people who challenge them. They also find and hire people who are much smarter than they are—especially in areas in which they are weak.    Your future consigliere is likely someone you already know. The key thing to look for is similar values but different temperaments. If you’re impatient and hotheaded, you want someone who is calm and deliberate. If you’re an introvert, find an extrovert. If your inclination is to be judgmental and unforgiving, find someone who is empathetic and accepting. Regardless of temperament, it’s important for him or her to be calm and in control of his or her emotions.

A Trusted Adviser 1.  Is skilled at processing issues, able to think many moves ahead 2. Has values similar to yours but a different temperament (is strong where you are weak) 3. Is calm under pressure 4. Is not afraid to challenge you and point out your blind spots 5. Is loyal, with no personal agenda.

Five Questions You Must Answer Before Making Any Big Hire 1.  How many and what type of references did you call? Did you talk to other people who worked with the hire about what type of individual he or she is? 2. Is this person likable (the reason you hired him or her) but lacks a significant skill set? 3. Did you conduct a background check to determine if there’s something in his or her past that might be a red flag? 4.  Did you question  his or her résumé; for instance, if the person was on sabbatical for two years, did you dig deeper to determine why? 5. Does the contract you offered include a 90- to 120-day probationary period? This will give you enough time to evaluate the new hire’s performance. It will also give the new hire time to learn what he or she needs to improve and make an effort to do so.

“Okay, but how much more than that can they receive?” I asked. “I don’t get it,” he said. “I mean how much in addition to their salary do they receive for performance?” “Nothing.” “Nothing?” I couldn’t believe it. How hard would you work if all you could expect was $2,500 each month, regardless of your performance? He changed the compensation plan, focusing on implementing a profit sharing plan. Shortly after he put it into place, the company’s growth rate increased by 25 percent. Sometimes the key to growth is staring you in the face. Change your compensation plan so that people feel as though they’ve been “given a piece,” and they will work harder, longer, and more creatively.   Here’s the strategy: Give your key people equity, but don’t do so immediately. Let them earn it.

Granting equity to your team is more art than science. When it’s done correctly, you will accomplish three objectives: 1.  You’ll transform your team members’ thinking from an employee mentality to an ownership mentality. 2. You’ll incentivize your people to work harder and smarter to increase your company’s value. 3. You’ll increase employee retention by structuring compensation intelligently.

Here are the keys to creating the most effective compensation structure: 1.  Decide what behavior or result you want to recognize. 2.  Study the current compensation structure within your industry. Even if you’re going to disrupt the status quo, you first need to know what the status quo is. 3. Find ways to create three tiers of incentives to strive for. This is much more effective than one all-or-nothing incentive to compete for.

What You Must Recognize in Order to Retain Talent People want to be compensated properly for their efforts. Outstanding performers want to participate in the success of the company. People want to know that they’re part of an organization that’s making an impact. People want to be recognized in front of their peers for the work that they do. People want to know that there’s an opportunity for them to grow within the company. People want to be judged based on a clear set of expectations given to them without the goalposts constantly changing.

We often mistakenly believe that people’s character is fixed. As a result, when we see a new hire display bad habits, we think we made a hiring mistake. In reality, we might be able to train that person to succeed. The key is to monitor his or her performance and provide feedback and better communication. Letting people know where they stand accomplishes three important objectives: 1.  They know the specific actions they must take to keep their job. 2. If they fail to perform those specific actions, letting them go will seem fair and objective. 3.  You can begin the process of finding someone else to complete their tasks. The best-case scenario is the person will improve and you will have deepened your “bench.” If that doesn’t happen and the person leaves, someone else can step in and take over his or her job seamlessly.

Six Techniques for Becoming an Effective Terminator I’ve compiled this list from a great deal of experience. Please understand that you may be subject to legal action when you’re firing someone. Therefore, prior to any employment termination, you should consult the company’s lawyer or HR department, if there is one: 1.  Fire gently. When it comes time to tell people they’re through, you want to do it without histrionics. You don’t have to blame. You don’t have to retaliate when your employee blames you. If you bash the employee, no one will want to work for you, and if the employee bashes you, you’re not going to give him the type of referral that will help him get hired elsewhere. 2.  Get right to the point.When you’re firing somebody, don’t drag it out. Though people may be shocked that they’re being red and emerge from that shock to protest, don’t let the process become protracted. Don’t waste time trying to justify your actions or prove that they deserve to be red. There’s no point, and you’ll end up wasting time and emotional energy. 3.  Be firm yet gentle.Yes, I’m reminding you to be gentle again because I don’t want you to become so rm that you turn into a rock and start battering people. Being rm means getting to the point quickly and not wavering. Remind yourself that this is not a debate but a decision. It didn’t work out. Both of you have to move on. Period. 4.  Acknowledge the other person’s feelings.Say something such as “Listen, I understand that this may be a bit of a frustrating and disappointing moment for you. I’ve been let go before, and I can tell you, it’s upsetting. However, I just want to make sure I totally understand your feelings and what you’re thinking.” Listen to what the other person says and then communicate that you “get” the emotion he or she is expressing: “I know you’re angry…” 5.  Have a good exit strategy. A bad exit strategy is having one of your people re the employee you personally hired. This is a guaranteed method to create one pissed-o former employee. But what if you hired John and he worked for Sue? Then you and Sue should be in the room together when you tell John the bad news. And make the exit an interview rather than a summary dismissal. Don’t kick the person out the door but ease him or her out with information and compassion. If you’re firing a supplier who works outside your office, that’s a different story and you may be able to do it through a phone call. But if someone has worked in your office, you need to conduct an in-person interview before he or she leaves. 6.  Talk about the person’s strengths.This builds on the last point. Include suggestions about how he or she can leverage his or her strengths to succeed in his or her next job: “You’re really good at X, which means you’d be well suited to do Y.” Turn into an empathetic coach who wants to help the person find his or her next position based on what he or she does well. If you take that approach, even your former employees will be fans of your company.

Why am I so relentless, in both my personal and business family, about repeating our principles? Because I believe in the power of reminding and re reminding. I want these values and principles to be top of mind at all times for my team and family.

First, recognize that you can categorize people according to the following four trust levels: Stranger, Endorsed, Trusted, and Running Mate. Categorize people as Strangers when you have zero experience with them. They may seem trustworthy; they’re charming, friendly, and talk a good game. Instinctively, you may like and trust them. Remember, though, that even homicidal sociopaths can gain people’s trust. Experience is the best teacher. If you don’t have personal knowledge of someone or know an individual who worked with him, put him into the category of Stranger and don’t trust him until you know more about him. The Endorsed category is for people who arrive with a track record. They are recommended by people you trust or possess a résumé that demonstrates their ability to deliver what they promise. You still need to be wary because résumés can be fudged and recommendations may re ect bias or an unwillingness to be completely honest. Still, this category should provide a somewhat greater possibility that an individual is worthy of your trust. Individuals who are Trusted are those with whom you possess personal experience. One way or another, they’ve demonstrated their loyalty, honesty, and reliability. They are more trustworthy than those in the Endorsed category because you’ve witnessed their positive traits, not just heard about them secondhand. The fourth category, Running Mate, is the highest category, and you’re not likely to have more than one individual who fits this description. This is the professional equivalent of your best friend. This is someone whom you can call when you have a problem or an opportunity and who will immediately ask, “What can I do?” If you need someone to help you out of a jam, he or she will move mountains to assist.   You need to stop asking what motivates people and instead ask: What motivates a person? Whether you choose to look at this through the prism of hot buttons or love languages, you’d better take the time to understand what works for each individual. Each of us is motivated by different things. You have to know what makes people tick.

Questions to Ask Yourself to Reach Each Individual: 1.  What makes this person tick? 2. How does this person want to be loved? 3. What makes this person feel appreciated? 4. What’s the most effective way to show that I care? 5. What action will best “land” on this person?    An expression that you often hear in sports is that you cannot teach speed. You can teach how to exploit it, yes, but speed is something you either have or you don’t. Other than incrementally, it can’t be improved. In business, however, speed absolutely can be improved. And you must be relentless about improving it. Every part of business—from identifying trends to reaching your customer to delivering your product—relies on speed. You can use the trust levels to filter your assessments, to understand the nuances of a given person or situation. In doing so, your aim is to speed up all aspects of your business.    Master Building the Right Team: THE MYTH OF THE SOLOPRENEUR: HOW TO BUILD YOUR TEAM 1.  Identify the types of team members you want to attract. Create the right value proposition (benefits program) to attract and retain the right team members. Be even more selective about whom you allow into your inner circle. CREATE A PRINCIPLES-BASED CULTURE 2.  Establish and communicate your values and principles—both for your business and as an individual. Don’t compromise your nonnegotiables, or else they will be only words on a piece of paper. TRUST = SPEED: THE POWER OF RELIABILITY 3. Inspect every skill needed in each department to make it transferable to any new hire in order to develop new leaders. Inspect the language you use to communicate with your teammates and leaders. Is it one that creates trust or doubt? Ask questions to understand what people care about most, and speak the language that moves them. Make a list of your top ve team members, and identify their key motivators.

Growth is important, but entrepreneurs often treat it as the only function, and that’s a mistake. Two types of business growth exist: linear and exponential. The former represents steady but not spectacular gains: you meet deadlines, sell and maintain customers, and expand your network of contacts. The latter represents quantum leaps. It’s what happens when entrepreneurs step out of the day-to-day running of the business to do something exceptional. They have a vision and are able to make tough but smart decisions to implement that vision. They don’t just want to grow incrementally; they want to conquer the world.    The linear growth side is operating systems and business development/sales.

OPERATING SYSTEMS This is about tightening up your systems, technology, and processes, making them more efficient and effective. To most entrepreneurs, this is the least exciting part of the business. And although it won’t create exponential growth, you can still make great strides by improving your operating systems.       Next are business development (biz dev) and sales. This has to do with creating relationships with new vendors and new partnerships and making your sales process better. It’s about networking and attending events from your industry. Relationship, relationship, relationship. Biz dev is linear. You have to close deals and continue to grow your accounts.

THE NEXT INNOVATIVE CAMPAIGN As CEO, you may launch a program or promotion that is potentially game changing. Bally Total Fitness did this when it introduced zero-down-payment gym memberships at a time when its competitors all required a sizable down payment. In 1995 Continental Airlines introduced an incentive program in which each of its 35,000 nonmanagerial employees received $65 in any month that Continental ranked among the top five airlines for on-time departures. That innovative campaign, led by transformational leaders Gordon Bethune and Greg Brenneman, worked like magic. Bethune described it in detail in his book From Worst to First: Behind the Scenes of Continental’s Remarkable Comeback.

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT Exponential growth depends on your ability to develop other people into effective leaders. Identify the next leaders you’re going to groom for more responsibility. Make a list of your top three, ve, or however many you have. Then start assessing them. Look at their strengths and weaknesses, and how they respond in different situations. Then look at their level of competitiveness, their ability to come up with ideas, and how solid they are. Also ask them if they believe in the company and want to step into a leadership role. Next, sit down and identify what they need to do in the next six months, twelve months, and two years. Challenge them to grow. Figuratively speaking, pour water onto them as though they were plants. As the CEO, you will be judged based on the type of leaders you develop. Finding others who can build the business on their own rather than just following marching orders will lead to exponential growth. This requires finding the right type of people to recruit and making leadership development a high level priority.

Most people stay at the linear level. Just because you chose to become an entrepreneur, that doesn’t make you a visionary or a CEO. If you spend most of your time in the linear quadrants, you are not going to build much momentum. If, on the other hand, you spend all of your time in the exponential quadrants, you run the risk of not being able to support your growth. You need to look at the strategy quadrant and ask yourself where you are and are not doing a good job. Where do you need to pivot? Do you need to create an innovative campaign? Maybe you need to look at the next ninety days and prepare for your next innovative campaign. You’ll be amazed by how gratifying putting together a strategy for your business can be. It’s exciting when your business grows and money starts coming in.    I apply pressure to my people until they become immune to it. I gure if they can put up with me, they won’t have a problem with the grief they get from customers. If they can handle me, they can handle anyone. They don’t get rattled. They become better leaders when they’ve been through my pressure cooker, and they can handle conflict better. The way I apply pressure is by asking questions—and waiting for the answers. I challenge my people the same way I’m challenging you. I ask them to become clear on who they want to be and describe their next moves in detail. Once they express what they want, I use their answers to keep them accountable. I don’t yell and scream. I don’t impose my own goals on them. What I do is repeat what they said they want to accomplish. If they are falling short of their goals, I ask why and shut up. I’ve found that getting them to self-reflect is much more powerful than telling them what to do. Ultimately, I’m teaching them to be accountable to the high expectations they set for themselves. Most people don’t want this accountability. Being held to the standard of being your best self is not for the faint of heart. That’s why, by design, I’m not easy to work for. It takes a few years for people on my team to become desensitized to the pressure, but when that happens, they’re golden. Like Belichick’s players, they feel the intense pressure of high expectations, and though they resent it at first, they become accustomed to it. They eventually realize that it’s elevating their performance, and it results in wins for the team. After a while, the pressure no longer bothers them. And here’s an even bigger bonus: the domino effect. When I apply positive pressure to one person, he applies it to another. When we add more people to the team, we apply the same pressure to them, and they in turn apply it to others. Instead of a management practice, it becomes part of the culture. Remember that you are not doing this to hassle your team, but rather to apply the right kind of positive pressure.

Many options exist for applying pressure: providing constructive criticism, increasing results targets, asking tough questions. Keep the pressure constant by asking questions that create accountability, and you’ll see how people will raise their game. I realize that this might sound a bit tough and could scare some people, so I want to emphasize that it’s not something that works for everyone. It has to match both your personality and your philosophy. It will also depend greatly on your team and culture. Again, I’m just sharing what works for me. By now I trust you to process what I say and use your own approach.

The key to dealing with lions is challenging them. Even star players, in the heat of the moment, will get annoyed by their coaches. It’s not fun to be pushed beyond your pain threshold. Yet these same players ultimately bestow praise on their coaches. Why? Because they are lions, and lions thrive on being pushed beyond their pain threshold. If you want to be liked, if you find delight only in making people comfortable, you’re not cut out to deal with a lion, much less be a CEO. People may hate you in the moment, but the only way for them to thrive and your business to survive is to hold them accountable.

Seven Ways to Hold People Accountable 1.  Don’t be afraid to hold people accountable and call them out when they don’t keep their word. Make it very clear that it’s not personal; it’s their performance you don’t like, not their personality. And be gentle. 2.  Ask why, and stay silent long enough to listen to their answers.When you don’t get a good explanation for why an employee has broken a promise or missed a deadline, ask why. Get a specific answer. You need to go deep to find out what’s really going on. This is the only way you are going to gain from the conversation. 3.  Make specific quantitative statements, not blanket qualitative ones.Don’t just tell your employees to work harder or get better. Give them specific challenges to meet that can be measured and have deadlines. 4.  Provide clear metrics and specify clear incentives.Let them know what they will get for hitting (or missing) their metrics. Numbers don’t lie. You will avoid future conflicts by being clear about the goalposts. 5.  Coach your people through the workflow.It’s not enough to tell them what to work on. You have to coach them through how to work on it. Make sure they have the resources and the expertise to complete the task. 6.  Know the role each person plays on the team. How will accountability affect others on the team? Who else might you also need to hold accountable to make sure that person succeeds? 7. Finish with heart and empathy.Know that we are all human beings with feelings. People go through things in their lives that we’re not aware of. You can be firm and compassionate.       If there’s one expectation I have of the people with whom I work, it’s this: I will not compromise on speed, execution, or efficiency. I don’t care how much bigger we get; I want speed, I want execution, I want efficiency. I am greedy in these three areas. I want them all.

Increasing the speed of the following four factors will enable your business to move faster. 1.  Functioning speed.This is the support system you provide to your team. Examine who your people are and their capabilities. Can you help them improve through training and other means so they might cut some time from a function? Do you need to bring in someone who has the talent to speed things up? Your functioning speed is the core of your business. 2.  Processing speed.There are a number of functions or processes that make your organization go. How quickly do you get your product from A to Z? Earlier, I suggested that you break down the steps of a given function and analyze each one of them with speed in mind. Let’s say you have an online store. The factors contributing to the processing speed of making a sale are as follows: customer finds site through search; visits site; clicks on the page with specific types of products; examines prices and other options; adds product to cart; enters credit card information; chooses type of shipping; con rms purchase. The odds are that you can reduce the time it takes customers to perform at least one of these steps. You don’t think so? Ever heard of “one-click” ordering on Amazon? Amazon has come to dominate e-commerce by focusing on processing speed. 3.  Expansion speed.This is about how quickly you move into new markets, make acquisitions, and introduce new products. What’s the average time it takes you to enter a new market if you’re a retailer? Again, identify your time frame and dissect your steps. If you’re expanding into an overseas market, is there one particular step that always slows you down? You have to identify bottlenecks and find ways to plow through them. If you’re negotiating deals overseas that are constantly blocked by bureaucracy, determine how much they’re costing you in terms of time, aggravation, and money. The simple solution may be hiring a well-connected attorney with global experience and the right connections. 4.  Timing speed.The question “When?” can work magic. Time your moves correctly, and you can beat competitors who have more resources than you do. You know the government is set to release a major study on how a certain vitamin has been found to be effective in moderating the effects of a certain disease. You don’t know which vitamin it’s going to recommend, but you bet that the high-potency vitamin you’ve been developing is it. You time your product introduction for the day that the government announces the results of its study.

A Seven-Step System to Compress Time Frames 1.  Choose a process. From buying a house to ordering a cab to sharing pictures online with your friends, there is a process to follow. In fact, one of the great ways to identify a potential business is to find a flawed process that you can improve upon. 2.  List the steps of the process. 3. Remove a step.This is where the magic happens. See if you can remove a step. How would the process function without that step? This is where disruption is born. If you’re not convinced, turn back a few pages and see why my company spent more than $2 million to accelerate its processing speed. 4. Minimize the steps.Take the remaining steps and condense their time frame. Condensing the remaining steps will help streamline the process, which is now missing one of the original steps. 5.  Beta test the new process. Find a subset of customers to test and see how the new process functions. How does the market respond to it, and where do improvements need to be made? 6. Adapt the process.Based on the results of your beta test, adjust your process. This is where you adapt the process to a specific need. 7. Refine.You’ve beta tested, and the adjusted process is ready to be unleashed. Sell your product faster to all corners of your market, and don’t forget to repeat these steps again and again to create exponential growth.    You have to make lists. You must create manuals (video libraries may be more e ective than printed ones). You must codify your knowledge. If it exists only in your head, you have a job to do. If you want to have a sustainable business, codify what you know and make sure it gets transferred to everyone else in your organization.

Five Reasons to Implement Systems 1.  What is measured can be scaled and improved. 2. You will know where and to whom to direct your energy and expertise. 3. You can stop micromanaging and empower your employees. 4. Your employees, especially your top performers, won’t be able to deceive you with hype. 5. You will simultaneously become more effective and have more freedom.

How do you find wise mentors? Let me share some hard-won lessons. I’ve worked with lots of coaches and consultants, and I have discovered that many of them offer advice based on their reading rather than their experiences. It struck me that when it comes to mentors or advisers, you can choose from three expertise levels: Theory, Witness, and Application (TWA). Theory. These are well-read individuals with degrees from prestigious universities. Most consultants and professors fall into this category. They’re smart, but they may not be wise. Wisdom comes from practical experience, and these people offer suggestions based on theory. They will teach you how to run a business, but if you ask if they’ve ever run a business, they will likely answer, “No, I have not. But I’ve consulted many. I’ve read all the books.” That’s a theory-level mentor. There’s nothing wrong with that. They can still give you good advice, but they’re the lowest-level mentors. Witness.These advisers have worked directly with successful entrepreneurs and, thanks to that vantage point, can tell you exactly how successful leaders built their business. For example, Guy Kawasaki often shares what he learned working with Steve Jobs on the original Macintosh team. Witnesses didn’t run the business, but they worked closely with someone who did. For example, if you wanted to be mentored by someone in real estate, you could ask, “Have you ever done real estate before?” If he answers, “I never have, but for ten years I was the assistant for the number one real estate agent in Beverly Hills and learned a lot from her,” that’s valuable right there. That person can tell you what the person did, how she worked, how she treated her clients, what she did when she almost went out of business, and so on. Application. Application means that the information is coming directly from the source. These are the people who can tell you what they’ve done that has worked for them. The most valuable mentors are those who have walked their talk. Fellow entrepreneurs can share what didn’t work in their businesses in a way that someone operating from theory or observation simply can’t. Those who possess all three characteristics—theory, witness, and application —are called “trifectas.” And by the way, they’re tough to find.   A lot of people making YouTube videos are purely Theory and Witness. Very few are application. So again, do some due diligence to know where a mentor sits on the TWA hierarchy. All three of these levels can be useful, though Application is far and away the best, especially when you’re trying to make your way through di cult periods. This is why the grand master Magnus Carlsen hired his former opponent, world champion Garry Kasparov, to be his coach.

A Dozen Ways to Beat Goliath 1.  Know your weaknesses. Knowing your strengths is easy, but knowing your weaknesses will enable you to be nimble and pivot when taking on your Goliath. 2. Know Goliath’s weaknesses.You cannot fight Goliath where it is strong. You must find its Achilles heel and exploit it. 3. Master three things you do better.You set the terms of your battle in the marketplace. Use your strengths to master three things Goliath can’t do and do them better than it can. 4. Don’t try to be Goliath.You can learn moves and information from Goliath, but if you model yourself after it, how are you going to beat it? You have to take advantage of your own strength, not someone else’s. 5. Focus on specializing. Goliaths tend to generalize in order to spread their in uence and power. You must specialize to capture market share from them. 6. When you’re small, make yourself appear bigger. Walk tall, and don’t be intimidated by Goliath’s size and strength. Embody your future truth and compete as though you’re the one with the advantage. 7. Keep a low profile initially.You are going to need a lot of help, and you will need time to get better. Don’t waste your early years rubbing people the wrong way and making noise. Work on your business rst before looking for a Goliath to fight. 8. Move quickly. Use your inherent advantages of strength and speed against Goliath. It can’t move as fast as you can. 9. Partner with competitors that share an enemy. Goliaths create a lot of enemies. Look for your synergies with those enemies, and build strategic alliances. 10. Study history. History can give you context and strategies that you never even thought of in your fight against Goliath. Knowledge is out there for you to harvest and can only help you. 11. Let other competitors wear your opponents down.Goliaths must fend off a lot of competitors, and you don’t always need to be on the front lines. Standing back and letting someone else take the spotlight can help you focus your resources better and give you an advantage over Goliaths. 12. Don’t disclose every aspect of your strategy.To a grand master, this should be self explanatory.

The most important tenets of social media are: Have a personality. Be bold. Be brash (if that’s who you are). Be engaging. Trumpet yourself when you’re right. Poke fun at yourself when you’re wrong. Accept the loss when you’re wrong.

Networking, negotiating, and selling are power moves that will have a massive impact on your bottom line. Mobsters are masters at recruiting because they know how to sell the dream of the benefits of joining their team. The ability to attract, influence, and convince people from all walks of life is the special talent every entrepreneur needs. I have found that former mob members are some of the best teachers. Because the stakes are so high, often life and death, they are experts at communication, preparation, and reading other people. They are also master psychologists and negotiators. These are skills that can be learned by anyone. Studying mobsters is a great place to start.

Seven Essential Steps to Prepare for a Meeting 1.   Consider the other party’s needs, desires, and frustrations. Remember that what motivates most people is fear, greed, and saving face. 2. Anticipate what the other party will say. 3. Develop a script/outline for what you want to say. 4. Role-play the meeting several times in order to be prepared for different reactions. 5. Ask trusted advisers to point out your blind spots. 6. Put yourself into the best possible frame of mind before the meeting. 7. Build a reputation for overdelivering on your product.

I had a sit-down recently in the Cayman Islands with the senior executives of one of the world’s largest insurance companies. The CEO was in the room, as were two other senior vice presidents. My purpose in being there was to request an increase in my company’s compensation. The stakes were high. The worst possible scenario was that they would be so o ended by my demand that they would drop my account. That would have been catastrophic for my business. Another bad scenario would be if they refused to give me an increase. If that happened, I risked losing many of my agents because I simply wouldn’t have enough revenue to pay them as much as my competitors did. It was a tough request to a tough audience at a tough time in my business. These are the types of meetings that can wreck you emotionally—if you lack the tools to process and prepare for them. Therefore, I followed the first rule of sitdowns: Do not attend a meeting unprepared. As is always the case, I used the “Seven Essential Steps to Prepare for a Meeting” to guide my preparation. Like any grand master, I was planning many moves ahead. 1. Consider the other party’s needs, desires, and frustrations. Remember that what motivates most people is fear, greed, and saving face. Before the meeting, I had assessed what the executives’ frustrations were and who wrote the most business for their company, as well as our company’s standing with them. I did my homework and found out that, in two years, we had skyrocketed from a small player to the rm that wrote the second highest number of policies of all the companies with which they dealt. In The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey said, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” What that meant for me was getting out of my own head and walking in their shoes to see the situation from their perspective. I played on fear: Losing my account would have meant their company’s losing millions of dollars in revenue. I played on greed: Keeping my account would potentially bring in even more millions of dollars of revenue and seven- gure bonuses for the executives. I played on helping them save face: They would look really foolish if I left for a competitor. 2. Anticipate what the other party will say. Think about how a shrewd attorney crafts an argument: he rst has to consider what the other party will say. The more you can anticipate what the other party will say and why, the better you can craft your story or request. 3. Develop a script/outline for what you want to say. I started out with pages of notes. As I continued to practice, I was able to become more precise about my message. How you prepare depends on your style. Some speakers like to write out their entire speech, and some simply need bullet points. I prefer bullet points. 4. Role-play the meeting several times in order to be prepared for different reactions. The next step was to assemble a team and ask them to play the roles of the executives I was going to be meeting in the Cayman Islands. Stepping into the shoes of those executives, they asked questions and challenged me. As a result, I modified my script and was prepared for different reactions. 5. Ask trusted advisers to point out your blind spots. Much of this was handled during role-plays. To take it to another level, I asked the opinion of trusted peers outside my industry to make sure I didn’t have any blind spots. 6. Put yourself into the best possible frame of mind before the meeting. Every detail before I arrived at the meeting mattered. I flew in a day early, so I would be rested and didn’t have any fear of a delayed flight making me late. The way I dressed, what I ate, and my exercise routine were all part of putting me into the right frame of mind. Visualizing the success of the meeting—and my business—was also a critical step. 7. Build a reputation for overdelivering on your promises. None of the above matters if you don’t do what you’re going to do. The worst thing you want in business is to have a reputation as someone who does a lot of talking but rarely delivers. Since I was so committed to understanding the situation from their viewpoint, I became keenly aware of my company’s flaws and the areas in which it needed to improve. To address these flaws and demonstrate how we were going to correct them, I arrived at the meeting with a stack of data to bolster my argument. I had a ten-point plan prepared and ready to go. Six of those points were about the other company, and four were about mine. As I suggested earlier, when you have a sit-down, you want to spend the majority of time focusing on the other party’s concerns, not yours.

I went into the room and said, “Listen, here’s what you want, based on what you told me the last time we met. This is what makes you unhappy, and this is what we’re going to fix. If we do what I’m proposing, you won’t have to hire additional people. I’ve already made a call [to a supplier of systems], and I know you’re interested in buying the system, and they’ll charge you a fee of $1 million. I give this company a lot of business, and I convinced them to waive the fee.” I was able to deliver the message with conviction and clarity because I had rehearsed it over and over. “Wait a second,” you may be thinking. “I thought you went in there to increase your compensation. Why in the world do you start by telling them you’re effectively giving them a million dollars?” A simple rule of business is that in order to get, you have to give. Most amateurs are experts at making demands. What they fail to do is offer value first. When you put yourself into the other party’s shoes and lead with how they will win and make money, it will be natural for them to give you what you want. I then pitched them on providing us with a compensation increase based on the data I had gathered—data that showed why the increase was warranted. “If you say no to it, no problem. I have another company that I think will give us what we want. Do you have any questions?” They had many. We went back and forth for two and a half hours. In fact, I had already heard their questions, objections, and challenges. How is this possible? Because I had role-played. Like a grand master CEO who is always several steps ahead, I was able to lead them to where I wanted them to be because I had anticipated their moves. In The Godfather, Don Vito Corleone, played by Marlon Brando, uttered the classic line “I’m gonna make him an offer he can’t refuse.” In this case, the offer was a win-win agreement that increased the value of both of our businesses. With the data I presented, of course they couldn’t refuse. The key to my success? It was the work I had done before the sit-down began.

Whoever has more leverage in a negotiation should come out on top. However, it’s not always obvious who has the leverage. For one, as much as you prepare, you can never know exactly everything that’s going on with the other party. Ultimately, the important thing is to understand leverage and know how to gain power from that leverage. If you use too much leverage and overplay your hand to maximize your profit from a particular deal, you may win the battle but lose the war. The late Amarillo Slim, a gambling legend and 1972 World Series of Poker champion, said, “You can shear a sheep a hundred times, but you can skin it only once.” Even a hustler like Slim recognized that the key to a long career is treating people in such a way that they want to keep doing business with you. In any game, the goal is not to make a score; it’s to build a partnership in which both parties make scores in perpetuity. Early in my career, I rarely had leverage. What made me an effective negotiator was not pretending otherwise—in other words, I didn’t feel a need to bluff. Instead, I would structure deals so that the other party could minimize its risk, thereby making the deal much more enticing to them. In the short term, it often meant I was getting the worst of the deal. Because I was thinking several moves ahead, however, I asked for deal points that would improve the deal if we hit certain markers, while still enriching the other party. Because I was viewed as being fair, I was able to build long-term partnerships.

Leverage is such an important element of power that we need to dig deeper to understand it better. The person who really has the leverage is the person who needs the deal the least. Options give you power. If you can walk away from a deal, you’re in the best position to negotiate the best terms. If you must make a deal happen, you’re going to be at the mercy of someone else’s power, and you’re probably going to make a lousy deal.

The Formula for Gaining Power Outwork. It’s critical to put in the time. But hard work alone won’t be enough. Outimprove.This constantly gives you new ways to take your business to the next level. It gives you con dence. If there was an area I was always obsessed with competing in, it was improving faster than my peers. Outstrategize. This means thinking ve moves ahead. It means figuring out how to scale and having the patience to plan many moves ahead before they bear fruit. Outlast.You really learn about people both when you achieve great success and when you suffer tragic failure. It’s hard to know who will keep going. To outlast, you need endurance, which comes from making choices that keep you alert and focused on the game.

If you want to gain power, you must create opportunities to shadow others. If you want to be exceptional, even after winning championships, you must jump on every opportunity you can to shadow powerful leaders.

Let’s look at the four areas that drive people. Then we’ll speak specifically about how to lead those who are driven by each category. Advancement. People driven by this see reaching new heights as the best form of motivation. Constantly have the next goal or position set up for them to keep moving up, or they’ll get bored. Individuality.The language to speak to this group is what their future life can look like if they give everything they have: cars, prestige, going to the best restaurants, traveling, associating with celebrities, and so on. As long as they know that the lifestyle they’re motivated by can eventually be reached by working with you, they’ll do their part to help grow the company. Madness.People driven by this see unconventional factors as the best form of motivation. They are driven by having an enemy, by facing an opponent. They will be bored out of their minds if you don’t constantly find them a new enemy or target to reach. Purpose.People driven by this want to be part of something bigger than they are, but they also want the history books to write about them (in the company’s history books or in industry papers). This group may be the smallest of the bunch, but if you’re lucky enough to attract one to your organization, get ready to experience a massive explosion.

No matter whom you are managing, remember that the fastest way to lose them or frustrate them is to try to change them. I’ve made this mistake too many times in my career. Instead, find what drives them and position them in a way to win at the highest level. It may require you to change the lens through which you view them.