Organizational Development

Knowing Self Increases Financial Capability

Core to my passion is seeing people take more personal responsibility for their financial decisions. In the end this is actually key to your financial success, and overall quality life. To take more personal responsibility means increasing your financial capability. I believe there is an obligation on yourself to get the right financial education and also on your financial advisors to help you by providing it and guiding you. In the end, you need to be able to make more informed choices about the products and solutions you are buying, and not just rely on others to decide for you.

At the moment the regulators in the countries which lead financial planning such as the USA, Australia, the Netherlands, Singapore and Ireland are pushing the consumer financial capability point hard. Just recently, the Irish Financial Regulator released a “Preliminary Report on Financial Capability in Ireland June 2008″ based on extensive consumer research.

The key point that is coming out of the Irish report is that you as the consumer must develop your skills, knowledge, attitudes and behavior. To me this goes to the very core of the Financial DNA Discovery Process. To educate you about your financial behavior and to provide a framework for your financial advisor to guide you. What you will find is that when you go through Financial DNA the increased knowledge and emotional comfort will make you more confident in the decisions made. As you make better decisions success will build more success.

There is interesting research from the University of San Diego which says: 5% of your wealth comes from investments and 95% from your behavior. So what should be the core of your financial education? Learning more about products or yourself?

If you would like to see what you can learn about your financial behavior then click here. Also, you can participate in Financial DNA by clicking here.

Being or Doing

I am meeting and communicating with an increasing number of people who are searching for more meaning in their life. Or put another way discovering their life purpose.

To be honest, a lot of what many people are doing is just searching. Life purpose discovery is difficult and in many ways a journey in its own right. However, the process of discovery does become easier if a process is followed and you have a way of thinking about it.

I recently read a great book on life purpose, and by chance today found out that Oprah is currently doing a series on it. The book is “A New Earth – Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose” by Eckhart Tolle.

The concept Tolle puts forward is that you firstly need to find your inner purpose – which in essence is your consciousness. The first step is to become more conscious of who you are and get into a state of Being. To a large degree this is being comfortable who you are at the core and going with the flow. Then once you have reached a higher degree of consciousness and your ego is no longer running your life then it is about finding your outer purpose – the awakened Doing. This is a lot more about what you do based on being awakened through a higher level of consciousness. Ultimately, both the Being and Doing have to be integrated and are closely related, but the Being comes before the Doing. The key point here is that the Doing will change during your life as your environments and passions change, and the core of YOU is your Being.

How do you find your awakened Doing? Tolle says there are 3 modalities: acceptance – what you willingly do now, enjoyment – what you enjoy doing from the aliveness that flows into it, enthusiasm – means there is deep enjoyment plus the added element of a goal or vision that you work toward. In whatever you are doing, you are able to enjoy Being. I really believe this is a great model to help you connect your inner self to your outer world. Much of the Financial DNA approach is centered around behavioral assessment tools to help guide people find where their inner zone is for their life and then once comfortable with that integrate their money and life decisions. Whilst our approach is to some mechanical it does connect you to your energy and help raise your consciousness. Those who are truly able to make committed decisions for their life and finances usually have found their inner zone. What I then see is clearer goals, and less decisions based on emotions and ego.

So, start working on how you can raise your consciousness.

Money Influences Leadership

In recent weeks I have been doing some leadership development consulting and coaching. The goal of this work has been mainly to help the leaders to build their emotional intelligence and then generally their self awareness of what is driving the decisions they are making.

Typically, most leadership development work of this kind focuses on the person’s behaviors, experiences, the influences of the environments they are in and have come from, their skills and knowledge, and even their states of consciousness. All with the goal of helping the leader understand themselves better and becoming more empowered. Then there is also training on specific leadership methodologies and strategies. None of these factors are to be underestimated as being unimportant, because they all are.

However, there is one factor often missing from the discussion — and that is money. The reality is that the topic of money is missing from the coaching agenda full-stop. Why? Talking about money can be a very emotionally charged issue for both the leader and the consultant/coach. Many people are, when it gets down to it, mystified by money and the power of its impact.

The reality is, money is directly or indirectly wrapped up in some way with every decision that a person makes, and is therefore a very powerful influence. Leadership decisions are no different. You only have to look at some of the decisions made by leaders in the last 10 years and see the devastating outcomes resulting in spectacular corporate collapses, insider trading, bankruptcy. Also, the great corporate performances can be attributed to a healthy money attitude.

Yes, money can be the carrot to incentivize performance, but it can also be the driver of warped decisions. Lets not say all of the bad decisions are deliberate because they are not. Some of them are caused by blind spots or put in another way, a simple lack of awareness.

Nevertheless, the point is that your perspective on money, whether conscious or not, influences your leadership – the decisions you make, the goals you set, action plans, how you manage yourself and others and so on.

So, reflect on how your leadership is influenced by money. Perhaps understanding your own relationship to money will improve the quality of your leadership, corporate results, and ultimately your life.

What Are You Passionate About?

In recent weeks, I have had so many conversations with people where passion has come up in various ways. So, I thought it would be good to put some more energy into it by commenting on it in my blog. I even did a very interesting interview with one of our Wealth Mentor’s last week on how he had found his passion and what it has meant to his life over the past few years.

My approach in working with client’s has been to fairly early on in the conversation ask them: What are you passionate about? I have found this to be a very powerful question in finding out where their life is at and where they want to go. This is so important if you are helping someone set their goals and direction. I do not really believe you can do financial planning for a person without knowing their passion because it is so fundamental to their life. Having clarity of your passions regardless of what they are means you can make decisions with confidence and commitment. 

When you think about it, this question is very important regardless of what role you are playing in the person’s life. If you are a business consultant of any sort it is important. Or even if you are just a friend, coach or in some way have an interest in the person’s life the question will really open up a great discussion. 

Discussing passion will really help you get below the surface and connect with the person. You will build a fantastic bond and it is likely the memorability factor will be high. You may even change the person’s life because they will be liberated to reveal something that is core to their life which they had not been fully conscious of. This happened to me, and it set me on the path I am on now. 

So, think about bringing this question into every conversation. It may also bring you closer to your own passions.

Entrepreneurs Feedback – What Makes People Successful

In a discussion with a group of entrepreneurs, I asked them the question: What Makes People Successful?

I enjoy asking questions like this. I always learn something from others perspectives and insights. It gets me to think at new levels. As you may expect dealing with a diverse group everyone’s responses were great and quite different. I personally think the keys to success are the sum of what everyone said. There are probably more, or in some ways the same points expressed a different way.

Here are the attributes that the group expressed:

  • Confidence
  • Determination
  • Where with all
  • Seeing it all through
  • Execution
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Instincts to see something others do not
  • Patience

Regardless of what you do consider keep these attributes at the top of your mind . If you have any other ideas to suggest, I would like to hear about them.

The Definition of Retirement is Changing

What is your definition of retirement? It might be good to think about that a bit. Do not just listen to the “noise” out there about what it means or what others are doing. Focus on you and who you are. You may just be surprised what retirement really means in the context of your life. The key point is that the definition of retirement will depend on your unique financial personality – how you are uniquely wired to make life and financial decisions. In effect, your financial personality will shape how you see life and deal with the retirement question. Whatever stage of your career or life you are at, addressing this question will be very liberating.

In recent times we have started to do a lot more work with the executives of corporations. In particular, we are delivering Quality Life Programs to executives participating in 401k plans. An interesting trend emerging is more and more executives are starting to realize that retirement does not necessarily mean they have to stop work. The point is, the definition of retirement is changing. A friend of mine who is a senior executive with a large fund manager providing retirement services and products to executives, said he is seeing the same trend of people including work in their definition of retirement. In fact, the discussion that their company has with executives is now becoming much more focused on getting each person to define what retirement means for them. Our focus is similar, bundling the question of retirement up with what is a “Quality Life” for you, again recognizing that this is different for everyone.

Another person recently said to me that their definition of retirement is “Doing what you want, when you want and with whom you want”. I thought that was a great one and truly resonated. How much freedom can you get from this type of thinking? Frankly, it is a lot. The person who said this was actually still working, the point being he is now in a role he loves to do every day. When you get this pinpointed it is amazing how you then find yourself around the people you enjoy being with, and managing your working schedule becomes easier. Again, the key is getting centered on who you are by addressing the retirement question from the inside out.

Even if you are a long way from the traditional retiring age of 60 or more, you can still address the question because the answer will shape a lot of career and life choices and hence your financial planning.