Your biggest asset under any circumstances is the ability to see the “multipliers” in your world.
The world is full of people, technologies, ideas, and other resources that can enhance your capabilities and enable you to accomplish far more than you could in isolation. I call these amplifying factors “multipliers”. The most successful people in any situation are the ones who can identify and use the multipliers in front of them.
Born into a world of multipliers
In the modern world, we have the advantage of endless multipliers that we usually take entirely for granted – luxuries and opportunities even royalty couldn’t have imagined just a few generations ago. Because we’ve inherited so many multipliers, we expect that life will keep getting easier, and that we’ll continue to enjoy even more of these advantages. Your smartphone, the interconnected global community, compound interest, your education, the support system that brings you food and energy, even your family – these can all be tremendous multipliers.
It’s natural then, that we feel shocked and upset when life takes one of these multipliers away. Every several years, for instance, the economy gives us a jolt. I’ve witnessed seven of these events in my career, and seen very successful individuals suddenly become very confused and uncertain about their future. Even in the midst of these disruptions, some people manage to grow more and more successful. As if these outside forces don’t affect them the same way.
The masters of multipliers
For more than 35 years, I’ve worked with entrepreneurs – a group of people who could be called “the masters of multipliers”. The French economist Jean-Baptist Say described entrepreneurs as people who take resources from a lower level of productivity and raise them to a higher level. This is exactly what multipliers do, so the most successful entrepreneurs are the ones who have the most multipliers working for them.
These entrepreneurs have learned how to multiply their best assets and capabilities. They have teams that support them and multiply the impact of their ideas and leadership. They use technology to provide exponentially greater value for more people. They’re remarkably agile in their ability to take, identify, and capitalize on new and emerging opportunities. Setbacks, like a downturn in the economy or changes in legislation, don’t throw them off their game for long because they’re always seeking out new multipliers to replace the ones that inevitably disappear. And these multipliers are applied not just to their businesses, making them more productive and profitable, but also to the lives of their clients and customers, giving them new direction, confidence, and capability that they can’t get from any competitor.
Achieving the Multiplier Mindset
Top-performing, growth-focused entrepreneurs have what I call, “The Multiplier Mindset,” and because of this, they’re able to capture opportunities when others struggle. The good news is that anyone with a desire to succeed can develop this mindset and enjoy the benefits, and those who do, quickly begin to realize that there is an endless supply of multipliers in the world if they know how to look for them. When it feels like you’re standing still or even moving backwards in terms of your progress, you’re probably feeling the loss of certain multipliers you used to take for granted. Focusing on developing new multipliers will get you back on track toward new goals and new growth. To strengthen your own Multiplier Mindset, a good place to start is with what you can control in any situation: your attention, your creativity, and your activities.
Here are six multiplier strategies to get you started thinking along these lines. Each relates to a potential multiplier that is completely in your own control. Though they’re aimed at entrepreneurs, anyone in a leadership position can apply them:
- Focus on vision and multiply progress.
When things in the external world change dramatically and unexpectedly, those with a clear, well-articulated vision have a distinct advantage. Vision, especially a vision for something bigger than yourself, has a way of drawing the most useful talent and resources to you and igniting the passion of like-minded individuals to contribute to making it a reality.Your ability to take advantage of the endless multipliers available through technology, systems, structures, and relationships is dependent on you having a concept of yourself and your future that is bigger than where you are right now. Progress depends on always being able to see a bigger future in any situation. When you know where you’re trying to go, you begin to find and see the multipliers that will enable you to get there.
- Focus on free time and multiply productivity.
It may seem counterintuitive to think of free time – time away from work-related thinking and activity – as being essential to productivity. However, decades of experience with entrepreneurs from over sixty industries has shown me that entrepreneurs are at their most creative and productive when they’ve had real time off. Taking free time allows you to recharge your mental batteries and approach problems and opportunities with renewed ingenuity on your return.Conversely, when you’re tired, everyone else starts to seem stupid and even simple tasks take longer. Also, when you take time away from your business, your team members gain confidence and capability in your absence, raising the productivity of your whole company. It may seem counterintuitive, but the time you take off is always more than made up for in the productivity gains that result.
- Focus on delegation and multiply income.
It may seem incredible obvious to say that the best way to multiply your income if by doing more of what you get paid best for. Still, most entrepreneurs spend a relatively small percentage of their time on their top money-making activities. Why? Usually, it’s because they spend a lot of time doing things that have to get done (although not necessarily by them) because they’re unaware of the opportunity cost of doing these things, or not sure of how to stop doing them. Making a concerted effort to delegate more and more of this “stuff” so you can focus on what you do that really helps your business grow, is one of the best investments of time you can make to multiply your results quickly.
- Focus on relationship and multiply opportunity.
The Pareto Principle suggests that 20% of your client relationships will produce 80% of your results. You probably have a few great clients or customers you’d like to clone: the ones who love what you have to offer, pay on time, refer others, and are generally a pleasure to deal with. On the other hand, difficult relationships can take up a disproportionate amount of time and scatter your energy and resources.The best opportunities for growth lie in focusing on those who appreciate what you do and are most willing to pay for it. Searching for creative ways to strengthen these relationships and create new value within them using your unique wisdom and capabilities can help you multiply the opportunities for your business in directions you might not have imagines.
- Focus on your strengths and delegate weaknesses.
Many people will tell you that the secret to success in life is to identify those things you don’t do well and try to get better at them. I’m here to tell you that if you spend your whole life focusing on your weaknesses, what you’ll end up with are a lot of very strong weaknesses.The most successful entrepreneurs focus on their strengths and delegate everything they’re not naturally good at to someone who has talent and passion in that area. Your strengths provide you with the greatest opportunities to excel. If you want to multiply your result exponentially, put your time and energy toward getting even better at what you do best, and let the rewards that quickly follow pay for the help you need to do everything else.
- Focus on capabilities and multiply confidence.
If there’s one thing everyone desires, it’s to be more capable. When people feel capable they feel confident. When they feel confident, more is possible. In fact, confidence is the foundation for all other abilities. When you’re confident, you can accomplish exceptional things. When you lack confidence, it’s much harder to put your capabilities to work effectively.Thinking about your business in terms of growing your clients’ capabilities instead of just selling them products and services is a major paradigm shift for most entrepreneurs. It’s also the key to successful innovation – the kind that leads to exceptional customer loyalty, enthusiastic referrals, brilliant testimonials, and dramatically increased opportunity for future growth.
Dare to have a Multiplier Mindset.
It’s audacious to think that nothing can stop you, and that you will always be able to make your future bigger than your past, yet that’s exactly what I’m suggesting. No matter where you find yourself, or what’s going on around you, nothing can take away your ability to adopt a Multiplier Mindset – to identify and capture opportunities to multiply yourself, your results, and your contributions to others.