Here at the-Coaching Blog-run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is Joe Abraham (USA).
One of my favorite sayings [author unknown] goes as follows.
“The best thing about business is people. The worst thing about business is people.”
Unless you have been living under a rock, you’ll find yourself nodding in agreement. Relationships can be the most energizing (and) draining areas in life and business. From family and business associates — to friends and foes — relationships surround us.
We spend billions of dollars a year finding, building and fixing relationships. I could buy a small island for the amount of money I’ve invested or lost in the cause.
But in late 2008, I got to have my A-Ha moment while building companies with a group of entrepreneurs. I kept finding that when it came to business and getting results — one size was not fitting all. What started off as some notes on a paper napkin led to the study of over 1,000 entrepreneurs.
The resulting methodology looks to discover one’s “entrepreneurial DNA” and then map everything from communication style to business strategy to that DNA. I’m humbled that this methodology called BOSI is now used in high schools, universities, global corporations, non-profits — and some of the fastest growing small businesses in the world.
I hope it adds value to your journey of mastering relationships as I share it with you.
But first, a core assumption.
There is an entrepreneur inside every human being. Some of us use that “DNA” to build companies. Others use it to climb the corporate ladder. Yet others use it to homeschool their kids or work in a great social enterprise.
The core engine that drives famous entrepreneurs like Sir Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Donald Trump and the late Steve Jobs is inside you and me. Researchers have studied entrepreneurial behavior and they agree there are key traits of “entrepreneurs” including things like idea generation, passion, future focus, independence, and persistence.
Sure, some of us have higher concentrations of these traits than others — but when pushed — every one of us can get highly entrepreneurial. If your family hadn’t eaten a meal in 3 days, you’d figure out how to get them some food. That’s entrepreneurial thinking. You have the DNA. So does every person you’re in a relationship with.
With that as the foundation, let me share with you what I’ve learned about Entrepreneurial DNA. It comes in 4 distinct forms or “characters”.
Character 1: Builder
Character 2: Opportunist
Character 3: Specialist
Character 4: Innovator
Picture them as characters in an act, coming on stage and going off stage at various points in your life. When Builder is on stage, the Innovator tends to go off. When the Opportunist is front-and-center, the Specialist retreats.
These DNAs drive the decisions we make. So when my Builder DNA is high, I make a different set of decisions than when my Innovator is high. When my “O” (Opportunist) is activated, I make different (yet very predictable) choices.
That’s the really interesting part. The fact that the choices and decisions are predictable.
All you and I need to do is figure out which DNA is active in a person we are in relationship with — and what that DNA is predisposed to do. Armed with those 2 pieces of information we truly are better positioned to master relationships.
Let me give you a story to demonstrate how this plays out.
Jim and Tom are business partners. Jim is the operational one of the duo. Tom is the rainmaker. They run a reasonably successful exhibit design company. They’ve been partners for almost 10 years.
Looking back, most of those 10 years have gone well. Sure, they’ve had some ups and downs but all-in-all they’ve had a good partnership.
The economic crisis of the late 2000’s had the company recovering for a while. But by 2013, things were looking up. Old customers were coming back placing orders. New customers seemed willing to spend more than customers of past years.
Tom is getting more and more energized by the day. His prospecting activities are picking up steam. His pipeline time is shortening. Buyers are making decisions faster than a couple of years ago — and they are open to new and innovative ways to do trade show exhibits. To Tom, this means big dollars — and great growth. An opportunity to make up for lost time — and start making the kind of money he really wants to make.
Jim, on the other hand, is still reeling from the setbacks of 2008 and 2009. He was the one answering calls when vendors wanted to get paid — and clients were slow-paying — or not paying at all. He was the one lying awake at night wondering how to make payroll — and if layoffs were a better solution than keeping staff. As Jim watches his favorite news channel every evening, his uneasiness grows as he thinks through the impact geopolitics, the weather and terrorism could have on the economy.
“Sure, things are picking up,” Jim says. “But how long will they stay this way?” “Shouldn’t we be stocking cash away and running lean — preparing for the next rainy day?”
Tom would have nothing of the conversation. “What do you mean stocking away cash?” he says. “Our customers want us to bring in new materials, innovative technologies, bigger stuff.”
“If we don’t deliver it to them, someone else will. Then we’ll really have a crisis!”
“You don’t get it, Tom! We can’t afford to run around like chickens with our head cut off — saying yes to every idea a client has — or a competitor comes up with.”
“The new equipment you want will max out our credit line. What if clients don’t order the new product line?”
“What then, Tom?” Jim asks with a frustrated look on his face. “What then?”
“That’s insane Jim!” Tom replies. “Of course our clients will order. And if they don’t, I’ll find 100 more who will! This is our time to grow. We can’t wait any longer.”
What you are observing is a conversation that happens a thousand times a day around the world. It happens between business partners. It happens between spouses. Teenagers have similar debates with their parents.
95% of the time when this conversation starts, it ends with tension. One party — typically the more vocal or credible one — closes the books on the discussion — and it ends.
It always seems to come back though. The duo seems to find themselves in a similar conversation multiple times a month or year.
A Simple — Yet Powerful Solution
What if someone could pull Jim and Tom aside before, during or after this most recent interaction and help them see the following.
Jim is showing all the key traits of Specialist DNA. It is a behavioral profile that activates in the experts of our world. Individuals who go through years of schooling, apprenticeship or on-the-job training to develop a skill. When this DNA activates, it makes an individual analytical in decision making. It drives them to be relatively risk averse. They measure success based on their personal income — and make most decisions through the lens of reputation. When faced with a decision, Specialist DNA asks “how will this decision impact my/our reputation?” If there is even the slightest risk to reputation, Specialist DNA retracts.
Tom, on the other hand, is showing the exact opposite DNA — that of the Opportunist. This profile activates in individuals who are typically rainmakers and natural born promoters. They love selling people on anything from a product to buy — to a restaurant to frequent. Opportunist DNA drives an individual to be highly optimistic. They want to make as much money as fast as possible. The sky is always blue — even if they just got struck by lightning.
Interestingly enough, the strengths of Jim’s Specialist DNA are the weaknesses of Tom’s Opportunist DNA — and vice versa. Jim’s “the sky is going to fall” approach can come in handy when it comes to avoiding risk in business. But it can also hold the company back from making timely decisions that result in greater revenues and profits. Jim’s pre-wired tendency to struggle with prospecting and new business generation — a Specialist DNA trait is offset by Tom’s Rainmaker capacity — which comes standard with Opportunist DNA.
When you start to peel the layers of the onion of these 4 DNAs, you unpack tremendous insight into how to better manage relationships. When you can see someone through the lens of how they are wired entrepreneurially, you gain much more insight than a personality analysis can provide. You get insight into how they made decisions — and what core decision lens they see the world through.
You’ll find yourself seeing everyone around you as Builder, Opportunist, Specialist or Innovator — and adjusting your message and interaction with them accordingly. Doing so will allow you to enter into — and foster — richer relationships.
You can start the journey by discovering your own entrepreneurial DNA by taking the free BOSI Assessment HERE
Keep it entrepreneurial!
About the Author — Joe Abraham
A professional entrepreneur with multiple exits under his belt, Joe is now founder of BOSI Global — operating partner to privately held companies. Winner of numerous awards for his impact on global entrepreneurship, Joe is the author of Entrepreneurial DNA (McGraw Hill 2011) — recently selected by Entrepreneur Magazine as one of the top 14 books every entrepreneur must read in 2014. In 2008, he developed the BOSI methodology — now used around the globe as the gold standard behavioral assessment for business owners and their teams. He has been featured on Fox News, CNN, ABC, CBS and the Wall Street Journal as subject matter expert in small business, entrepreneurship, and free enterprise.
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