Maximizing Your Potential

Posted on May 24, 2013 by in Blog, Human Resources, Strategy

The book Strengths Finder by Tom Rath opens with a story about Rudy Ruettiger who attended Notre Dame.  After working diligently to make the Notre Dame Football team, he was able to make one play in the last game of his senior season.  He spent thousands of hours, and put great effort into this one single event.  The author offers an interesting perspective as he writes,

The inspirational nature of this story actually masks a significant problem.  Overcoming deficits is an essential part of the fabric of our culture.  Our books, movies, and folklore are filled with stories of the underdog who beats one in a million odds.  And this leads us to celebrate those who triumph over their lack of natural ability even more than we recognize those who capitalize on their innate talents. As a result, millions of people see these heroes as being the epitome of the American dream, and set their sights on conquering major challenges.  Unfortunately, this is taking the path of most resistance.

He further discusses Michael Jordan and his ability to play basketball.  However, he states, “even the legendary Michael Jordan, who embodied the power of raw talent on the basketball court, did not become, well, the “Michael Jordan” of golf, or baseball, no matter how hard he tried.” 

Furthermore, Rath talks about our culture, and how we attempt to coach our children to work most diligently on the areas of their weaknesses.  The author states, “in every culture we have studied, the overwhelming majority of parents (77% in the United States) think that a student’s lowest grades deserve the most time and attention.  Parents and teachers reward excellence with apathy, instead of investing more time in the areas where a child has the most potential for greatness.”

He further talks about a great sales person who attempted to become the sales manager without the natural tools to do so.  She could have earned a much better living and been more successful simply by continuing to build upon the outstanding sales talent she already had.  Rath laments the natural talents of many individuals that go unutilized in most organizational hierarchies due to our culture’s misconceptions about success.

The author concludes, “When we’re able to put most of our energy into developing our actual talents, extraordinary room for growth exists. So a revision to the ‘you-can-be-anything-you-want-to-be’ maxim might be more accurate: you cannot be anything you want to be, but you can be a lot more of who you already are.”

Finding your Strengths

Posted on May 17, 2013 by in Blog, Human Resources, Strategy

The book Strengths Finder Two by Tom Rath, is a great resource to help you identify strengths that you should capitalize on as opposed to spending all your time working on your weaknesses.  Do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day?  Chances are you don’t.  All too often, our natural talents go untapped from the cradle to the cubicle.  We devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths. 

To help people uncover their talents, Gallup introduced the first version of its online assessment, Strengths Finder, and the 2001 management book, Now Discover Your Strengths.  The book spent more than five years on the best seller list, and ignited a global conversation on how Strengths Finder helped millions to discover their top five talents. 

In Strengths Finder Two, Gallup unveils the new and improved version of his popular assessment, language of 34 themes, and much more. While you can read this book in one sitting, you’ll use it as a reference for decades.  Loaded with hundreds of strategies for applying your strengths, this new book and accompanying website will change the way you look at yourself and the world around you forever.  Great read.

New Legal Entity Structure

Posted on May 10, 2013 by in Blog, Planning, Strategy

I recently read about the creation of a new legal entity structure where you can actually separate assets in a Series LLC, without being required to form separate disregarded entities.

In the example provided by the author, you can have a series LLC with multiple partners, and have multiple properties within the Series LLC, all shielded from each other. You can do the same with certain assets.

In the example, the entity owned residential property, a commercial property, government contracts, a plumbing group, and an electrical group that were all separated within the Series LLC. Setting up and operating these entities are a fraction of the cost of setting up multiple LLCs to separate their assets.

The Latest on the Economy

Posted on May 3, 2013 by in Blog, Planning, Strategy

Given the current state of the economy, it has never been more important to have a solid team of advisors to help you navigate the turbulent waters of our current market.  Here are Kiplinger’s latest predictitions about the economy:

Growth this spring and summer is likely to be lethargic, 1.5% or even less in the second and third quarters following a roughly 3% increase in the first.  Though the economy got off to a fast start in January or February, a combined effect of the federal budget sequestration and 2013 tax hikes started to take a toll in March. 

Moreover, the sharp decline in March retail sales hitting nearly everything from auto to department store goods and the paltry creation of just 88,000 jobs last month, will likely continue to sap consumer confidence, already the lowest since mid-2012. 

Come fall, growth should pick up, with the reinvigorated housing industry helping to re-awaken the sleeping economy and nudge up the pace of GDP growth for a climb of 2.5% or so for the final quarter of this year and into the next year.  Though Washington could scuttle that, there’s little politicians can do to guarantee the opposite isn’t true.  Failure to deal with the budget for fiscal 2014, which starts this October 1, and continued sequestration would likely ensure more torpid months ahead.

Kiplinger Letter – Volume 90 # 16 – April 19, 2013