When I was invited to dinner with Richard Branson and a few others, I really did not know what to expect. For one, I did not expect to have enough time to truly engage with the legend, but he was so down to earth. He was not full of himself, and he truly is what he appears to be.
We’ve all heard the amazing stories of Mavericks that go it alone. When we hear about people like Steve Jobs and Richard Branson, or Bill Gates, we think, What a genius! We illuminate the myth of the college dropout. We think they did it alone.
But the truth is, no Maverick has ever built anything alone. True leaders understand the power of collaboration.
Richard Branson taught me 3 key things:
1. Listen and observe.
If you’re in the company of Richard, you’ll see that he’s not talking all the time. He’s a guy that lets other people shine. This is one of the traits of successful leaders. He’s never dominant.
2. Be emotionally intelligent.
The ability to judge a room and understand where everyone else stands is a key trait of a successful leader. Richard has the ability to observe, analyze, and understand the heart of every individual in the room.
Branson is a dynamic communicator. Always ready to communicate with clarity, he’s a perfect example of a leader who communicates authentically and has fun.
The traits that Branson shared with me can help us all become more relaxed, fun and authentic in our collaborations. Every organization faces the same challenges: recruit, reward, retain. In every challenge, the power of collaboration works to elevate the individual within the team.
How do we recruit great people, collaborate, and build a culture that makes them feel as if it’s a place they want to stay? The answer is the power of peers.
Harvard Researcher Pedro De Abreu is a brain and behavior expert whose work surrounds the power of collaboration. As a millennial engaged in incredible new brain research, he’s on the cutting edge of corporate change.
“Collaboration is the key to the future,” he says.
What happens when you build a culture centered on contribution? Every voice matters. Every contribution counts.
Peers are instrumental when it comes to recruitment and retention; but, what about rewards? “Rewards have to be on the personal level,” says Ronnie Brannen, President of PowerSecure.
This isn’t just a factor of material rewards, or ping pong tables in the break room – or even about building a great culture. Above all else, it’s about personal legacy. It’s about recognizing people for their unique contribution, by focusing on creating real leaders, which in turn creates a company of accountable owners.
Once people understand their own power and leadership gifts – they perform at a different level. Imagine what a company of leaders successfully collaborating can do. Together, we can accomplish much more than we ever could on our own.
I spent a weekend with a legend.
Warren sat beside me in the bleachers at the baseball game, with a peaceful demeanor. There to watch his team, the Omaha Storm Chasers in Nebraska, I learned about his legacy. We toured his candy store, See’s Candies, which was a $25-million venture. For dinner, we ate at Gorat’s his favorite steakhouse; and of course, we touched upon a hot topic among CEOs and business owners: How to Create Wealth.
Legends like Warren Buffet are rare, and when they talk, everyone listens. We want to learn the secrets of investing, because clearly—he knows a few things we don’t.
When I owned shares in Berkshire Hathaway, Warren’s company, I never imagined I would sit face-to-face with the legendary investor and learn tips and tools about growing money and business in general. As an entrepreneur, I often reflect on the advice that he and Charlie Munger gave us, but it applies to much more than just business. It’s been my experience that “one percent-ers,” (legends in life and business) share three specific traits that set them apart. And, Warren has all three.
Trait 1: Do what you love.
He says invest in what you know. Don’t try to be someone you’re not. Why do authors become bestsellers? And what do millionaire Warren and your everyday high school English teacher have in common? They would probably say, “Write about what you know.”
The same applies to every aspect in life. Learn, and do what you love. Turn what you love to do into a profitable endeavor. Every successful and happy person starts from the lower rung, and they turn work into a fulfilling experience that brings them up in the world. Once you start showing others what you love, they will begin to consider you an expert and want to pay you for a job well done and well loved.
Trait 2: Think long-term.
They say the poor man lives for tomorrow, but the rich man plans for the future. We could live in the present moment but we also blind ourselves to what could happen next. Living in the now is great. But we also need to think about how that choice affects the weeks, months, and years ahead.
Treat your path like a road that does not end. If a poor man lives for tomorrow, but the rich man plans for the future, then surely the wealthy and wise man affects the world even after he dies. Think of what you can do in this lifetime to leave a legacy. A legend is a legend because he or she lives on. Think long term, not only to sustain a happy, healthy life, but to carry on long after you’re gone.
Trait 3: Be passionate.
Warren is like a little kid when he talks about money in relation to building businesses and investing. His passion for the topic is clear. Use your passion and wealth to help others grow.
David Mayer de Rothschild, ecologist and adventurer, is the youngest heir to the family fortune. At 37, he is an author and founder of “Sculpt the Future,” which teaches how to change the planet. Rothschild also owns a marketing agency that helps businesses turn green. His love for the environment is helping not only the world, but also the people in it.
Warren speaks in the same light. When you know more about a topic, you will want to share it. The same goes with wealth: when you have more, you want to give more. True passion will only inspire more passion. When your passion has a positive effect, you are growing wealth for the world.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tammy Kling is a best-selling author, TEDx Speaker, CEO of OnFire Books, and Ghostwriter of 251 books and counting, including: The Compass, Freedom, and There’s More to Life than the Corner Office. Tammy’s latest book, WORDS is being used by the Ritz Carlton in their leadership training.
Watch Tammy’s TEDx Talk on the Power of Words here: https://goo.gl/USj7lI. To book Tammy as a Speaker, please visit tammykling.com and follow her on Twitter (@tammykling) for the latest.
What would it mean for you to make an impact on the world?
Maybe you’re already doing it, or perhaps you’re just now thinking of it, but making a difference is the best way to leave this planet better than you arrived. One company,OnFire Books, has been employing homeless writers, editors and readers, for years.
They’ve done homeless book drops, delivered writing workshops in homeless shelters and soup kitchens, and have regularly brought teams of individuals and writers to assist the homeless on the street.
Do they feed them? No. They give them words instead.
“There are plenty of ways to eat if you’re homeless,” CEO Tammy Kling says. “One homeless friend told us that you could eat five times a day if you want just by visiting various shelters at breakfast, lunch or dinnertime. But we serve up something much more important. Words save lives. We deliver hope through the power of words.”
Hope is what people need to create real change. Hope feeds your mindset, empowers you to believe, to strive for better, to thrive.
Kling started serving the homeless years ago after meeting a man on the street who needed a meal. She bought him food and sat with him and talked through his struggle. But the desire to change his life and the lives of others wasn’t just a random calling. Kling’s father committed suicide when she was seven. “Words save lives. They don’t just change them,” Kling says. “We want to pour hope and restoration and promise into every book we help create.”
OnFire Books is one of the most prestigious book creation companies in the world. They’ve written hundreds of books and have a very selective process. They work with athletes, celebrities, entrepreneurs and what Kling refers to as, World Changers. “You don’t have to be a billionaire to write a book with us but you do have to be a world changer, which I define as someone with the desire to make a difference.”
This clearly isn’t just any ghostwriting company. Meet Nate Houston.
Nate Houston is a man Kling met on the street when he was homeless.” She was the only one who saw me,” he said. Today, Nate is a prolific writer who has already published his own book, “The Secret to Overcoming Any Addiction.”
We can all make a difference. We can all change lives and even save lives. Start by integrating your own passion into your business today. What is it you care about? In what ways can you make a difference?
About OnFire Books Writing Company:
OnFire Books is a book creation, marketing and corporate communications company with a strong history of books under its belt. Tammy Kling is a best-selling author, TED Speaker, CEO of OnFire Books, and Ghostwriter of 251 books and counting, including: The Compass, Freedom, and There’s More to Life than the Corner Office. Tammy’s latest book, WORDS is being used by the Ritz Carlton in their leadership training.