IS WEALTH RESERVED FOR THE VERY FEW OR ACCESSIBLE TO THE MASSES?
The world’s wealthiest people have seen their share of the globe’s total wealth increase from 42.5% at the height of the 2008 financial crisis to 50.1% in 2017, or $140tn (£106tn), according to Credit Suisse’s global wealth report published in 2017. On a recent trip to Vancouver, I was with a good friend of mine Brad Sugars. We recorded a video on the topic of Wealth Creation and whether wealth is reserved for the select few or open to the masses. Brad Sugars is the founder of Action Coach and author of 16 highly acclaimed business books. Brad is arguably the very person who has built the business coaching industry to be where it is today.
His knowledge of how to achieve success in business is invaluable, and this week I got the opportunity to sit down with him and discuss the release of his new book: The Wealth Coach. Today, the business book market is saturated with purely theoretical material; most authors don’t provide any simple methods or suggestions to put learnings into practice.
“My books are all designed to help business people and entrepreneurs succeed,” Brad tells me, matter of fact. “As business people, we get so focussed on the day to day that we often forget what’s next. The goal when I write my books is to keep them simple, so that people will read, learn and then take action.”
A practical approach to learning
It’s this practical approach to learning which makes Brad’s books so popular. The idea of picking up a business book, however, isn’t embraced by everybody. Many business owners have a real aversion to reading educational books. A percentage are dyslexic and can even suffer a fear of learning that stems from being ridiculed at school. This fear is a hurdle that must be overcome.
“A business owner has to realise that the moment they stop growing, their business stops growing,” Brad explains. “To put it bluntly: the business will grow to your level of incompetence and the moment you run out of ideas, is the moment your business stops growing. You can employ people that have ideas, but you’ll still hold them back because you’re not growing. So, coaching is about building the people to build the business; start with the owner, and they can build the team.”
The impact of this limiting behaviour by business owners was seen throughout the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008; many businesses failed because the leaders didn’t know what to do.
“The main problem with that time was that a lot of businesses started up around five years previous and had never seen anything but good times,” Brad points out. “They didn’t understand what to do in a downturn economy.” To clarify, he uses a farming analogy. “A farmer knows that winter is on its way and plans accordingly; just being cashed up at the end of the economic summer was an essential aspect of surviving the economic winter. A lot of business owners don’t plan for winter.”
To quote the TV show Game of Thrones: Winter is coming.
“Right now, we’re in an economic summer of a cycle that started in 2008 and historically, cycles last 7 – 10-years,” Brad explains. “There’s a lot of opportunity in business globally right now, especially in developing countries, which might extend the summer for another couple of years – but there’s no avoiding it, economic winter is coming.” Business owners need to arm themselves with the practical knowledge of how to prepare for this economic downturn; however, staying focussed can sometimes prove tricky.
“I see too many entrepreneurs forgetting about the fundamentals of business and trying to do all of this fancy stuff,” Brad tells me. “Either they’re stuck in the ‘bright shiny object’ syndrome and jump from one fad to the next, or they find themselves in ‘superhero’ syndrome, where they think that the business is all about them.” Over the past few decades, the word ‘manager’ seems to have been tarnished; it’s become a dirty word in business. Everybody wants to skip supervision and management to jump straight to leadership.
“We’ve seen a lot of great leadership books in recent years,” Brad states, “but no great management books and the team is one of the fundamentals of business,” Brad explains that management is about competent, productive people; if there are incompetency and lack of productivity, it’s because there’s poor management.
Leadership is about passionate, focussed people.
“If you look at companies that have leadership but no management, their team is passionate and focused, but they can’t do their job. If you’ve got management but no leadership, the team can do their job, but there’s no passion or focus; there’s no goal, there’s no direction.”
This type of unbalanced behaviour is most prevalent is in SME’s (small and medium-sized enterprises) and family-owned companies, where promotion to seniority is often based more on time served, than on the competency of the individual.
Here’s an example: Person A starts their own business and employees their friends and family. The company begins to grow, so they promote these first employees to management level but fail to provide them with any management training. This approach creates a shaky foundation to build upon. As everyone is working hard and putting in long hours, the business continues to grow and eventually, the managers get promoted to the executive level. As leadership has given no thought to succession management, the promotion of their current managers to executives creates a void, and this is where the business starts to struggle. The company now has leadership, but no management and for the business to continue to succeed, there must be a balance of both.
“Management training starts when a person is still a crew member level,” Brad explains. “It’s about conditioning that employee for the role from day one and introducing them to the management system. That way, when they get promoted to a management level, they know what to expect.”
People are the core behind business growth and how a company manages its team and leads them, is a big part of success. If a business doesn’t have a sound management system in place for their employees, they may achieve exponential growth. Still, they will also be vulnerable to an exponential collapse, because the foundations they have built upon are not stable.
“Ultimately, we don’t know what we haven’t done yet,” Brad states. “If you’ve not run an exponential growth company, then you’re going to have to learn from somebody that has. It’s the same with wealth if you’ve never built wealth before, then where are you going to learn it? The rich get richer, and the poor get poorer because the rich have learnt the habits and strategies of wealth, and the poor have learnt the practices and systems of poverty.“
When asked to describe his new book, The Wealth Coach, Brad referred to some of his earlier works: The Real Estate Coach and Billionaire in Training.
“Real estate is the simplest investment in the world. You pay for 20% of the property, and your tenants pay for the other 80%. In 20 years, you’ve paid off the mortgage, and you own an asset.”
That’s the simplicity of real-estate investing.
“My book, Billionaire in Training, is about buying businesses,” Brad continues. “Businesses are the number one asset class on the planet when it comes to creating a serious return.”
Philosophies of wealth
What Brad quickly realised, however, was that even though people had the tools available to them to make money, the philosophies of wealth sometimes escaped them. “If you don’t think like a rich person, you’re not going to do the stuff in the real estate book or the business books. I had to think about getting the mouldable philosophies of wealth into a story.” Brad believes that poverty is a mindset, and just because a person can intellectually understand wealth, it doesn’t mean that they get it on an emotional level.
“You can choose in life to be rich or poor – it’s up to you. If, for example, your parents fed you bad food all your life, you can change that; you can change your conditioning. If you were taught negative conditioning with money, you could change your conditioning. You’ve just got to want to learn how to change.” Brad understands, however, that the desire to learn to change is not something everyone has.
“You can get the desire by being around the right people and being in the right environment – you’ve then got to keep learning. I wanted people to be able to follow the journey so I wrote The Wealth Coach as a parable. Like with my previous works, I wrote this book so that people will read and take action from it, not just learn something and not do anything with it.”
Brad tells me that like with his previous books; The Wealth Coach is a step of simple philosophies and formulas that if the reader follows, they will get rich.
“It’s not rocket science, and it’s not anything amazing; it’s just principles and formulas that if followed and if acted upon, will produce results.”
The glorification of wealth not work.
The millennials want wealth, but unfortunately, there’s a glorification that exists within the media. We see the actor, the sports personality, the singer, but there’s no glorification of wealth for the man or woman who has bought 20 houses over the years.
“It’s long-term vs short-term,” Brad states. “If you’re in business, then you know the power of long term thinking. For example, if your great-great-grandmother had bought 42 homes across London and left them to you in her will, you’d understand the power of real estate and long-term investment.”
The Wealth Coach is available from August 14th, 2018, and each book comes with a collection of artefacts to drive Brad’s message home.
“Sometimes it’s not enough to just read a book,” Brad explains. “Sometimes you’ve got to have reminders, such as a poster on a wall to jog your memory. One of my greatest mentors, Buckminster Fuller, said to create models and artefacts. My books are all written around a model, and I use artefacts to help people remember and learn.”
Brad’s book will be available on Amazon on the 14th of August 2018. Here is a link to his website and Amazon.
A lot of Brad’s events are free to attend, so be sure to check out his tour dates!
As always, if there’s anything in this article that resonates with you, head on over to boolkah.com and get in contact.
Remember, failing to learn is learning to fail.