10 January 2012

Letter from Lhasa, number 264. (Wynn 2010): The Real Truth About Success

Letter from Lhasa, number 264. (Wynn 2010): The Real Truth About Success   
by Roberto Abraham Scaruffi

Wynn, G., The Real Truth About Success. What the Top 1 Percent Do Differently, Why They Won’t Tell You, and How You Can Do It Anyway, McGraw Hill, 2010.
(Wynn 2010).
Garrison Wynn 

This book is addressed “To everyone who has come to understand that just being good at what you do is not enough.”

There are different myths about success. They are just myths. Who got success has no reason to contradict them. Who diffuses them has no reason to go against what is currently believed, and “sold” and “drunk”.

For example, contrarily to the usual sugary optimism, “negativity in the workplace can be an effective catalyst for improvement and progress.”
(Wynn 2010, p. 4)

The best products are not necessarily the most successful: “People will choose a mediocre product over a good one, as long as it fills a need.” (Wynn 2010, p. 5). People “choose what makes them comfortable, whether it’s the best or not.” (Wynn 2010, p. 6). Idem for ideas. They must be easy to digest.

Smarter or smartest people are generally not understood, so, generally, they are not successful. Genius is NOT the foundation of success.

We believe these lies about success, because “We believe what’s easy to believe.” (Wynn 2010, p. 10)

“[...] clarity, not intelligence, is the biggest determinant of success.”
(Wynn 2010, p. 8)

“Some lies are easy to believe because it’s just simpler to believe them than to question them.”
(Wynn 2010, p. 11)

“The fact is people typically do business with people they trust, people they’ve got a great relationship with.”
(Wynn 2010, p. 12)

A key element is turning disadvantage in advantage. Naturally it is easier to talk about that after having realised that, than to always finding the way of doing that.

There are some assumptions:
“# People are most likely to bond with people who listen more than they talk.
“# People are most likely to agree with people who do not make them feel wrong.
“# People are most likely to value a solution they helped to create.
“# People are most likely to abandon a complex process, even if it works.
“# People are most likely to choose what they’re comfortable with, whether or not it’s the best.
“# People are most likely to follow leaders who make them feel important; those leaders are most likely to elicit the best performance.
“These observations all point to the power of influence being seated in trust, clarity, and comfort. This chapter explores all six observations, starting with the first three that intertwine to create what I call the building blocks of trust.
(Wynn 2010, p. 114)

Actually, people follow who or what has power over them. However, if they may and can chose, the assumptions above are probably precise. People follow who offer solutions seem acceptable and confortable, if nobody in a position of authority pushes towards different options. If people were really free to follow their personal best, the world would be without conflicts and problems created from other people. Unfortunately, reality is more complicate. We choose something because it seems better, not because it be really better. We operate in regimes of largely incomplete information. Information is costly.   

“Trust is built on a foundation of two things: compassion and competence.”
(Wynn 2010, p. 115)

“The pure power of making people feel heard is the foundation of earning trust.”
(Wynn 2010, p. 116)

“Whatever you’re selling—a product, a management style, a strategy, a solution, an idea—people are more likely to buy it if you listen more than you talk.”
(Wynn 2010, p. 116)

“We are narcissistic; the idea that sounds best to us is the one we were thinking of already. No idea looks better than my idea. So my idea coming from you is a fantastic idea. Whatever you just said that sounds like an idea I already had—that must be a great idea because it’s living in my head, and you just said it.”
(Wynn 2010, p. 122)

However, in these operations, it is easy to think we are very astute when we are just cunning and the others perceive we are just cunning. In such a case, the other perceives as cheated.

Of course, this book contains a long list of advices on how to behave and not to behave, on what to perceive and what not to perceive.

First-Level Lesson
The real truth about success is that not only do we not like to talk about the real truth, but we don’t necessarily want to hear it.
(Wynn 2010, p. 198)

Second-Level Lesson
What it takes to get to the top may be something that a lot of us are unwilling to do.
(Wynn 2010, p. 207)

For those who have not time to read the whole book, there is a summary in the last chapter, chapter 10.

Wynn, G., The Real Truth About Success. What the Top 1 Percent Do Differently, Why They Won’t Tell You, and How You Can Do It Anyway, McGraw Hill, 2010.