I was in a board meeting with a new portfolio company yesterday and they started the meeting with two slides that they use to start every meeting at the company. The first slide was a simple values slide. The second looked much like the picture below.
This list was initially written about athletes but it relates to many things we do – from how we work, to being a parent, to managing key relationships in our lives. The list has been all over social media and I may be one of the last people to see it but frankly, I just like it.
Many of these behaviors are correlated. They have to do with doing more and doing it with energy and not expecting the world to be handed to you on a silver platter. There is an X-factor when I meet a really impressive entrepreneur. This X-factor is made up of many of these characteristics. Great entrepreneurs have the energy, passion, and attitude to lift up and motivate a team. They have the drive seen in work ethic, effort, doing extra, and being prepared. They present themselves well – show up on time, are prepared, and their body language maps to their attitude. And they are coachable and open to advice. These are people who lead others to do the impossible against great odds – and those are the people who prove to be great entrepreneurs.
Lou Adler is author of a best-selling book “Hire with your Head” which I feel is one of the better books on how to create a consistent corporate hiring methodology. In it he talks about the best hires being the ones who combine talent plus energy but also how he prefers energy over talent if having to choose:
“We’ve all met people with great talent but little energy. Sadly, they never live up to their expectations. Others of average talent, but with extraordinary energy, often achieve success beyond all expectations. That’s why self-motivation is so important.”
So – this list of ten traits may be quickly becoming a cliché, yet being reminded of them occasionally is a good gut check. Think of them when hiring people or when backing an entrepreneur or when assessing your own behavior in a meeting or in your life.