Teams are important. No matter what you do in life, you will be a part of a team and one point or another. Furthermore, most teams suck. So let's change that.
Which is exactly what my latest article at BiggerPockets is about.
To start with, I quote Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg on the concept of "psychological safety." As he notes,
“‘We call it ‘psychological safety,’ she said. Psychological safety is a ‘shared belief, held by members of a team, that the group is a safe place for taking risks.’ It is ‘a sense of confidence that the team will not embarrass, reject, or punish someone for speaking up… It describes a team climate characterized by interpersonal trust and mutual respect in which people are comfortable being themselves'”
Of course, that's just the beginning. There's much more to building great teams. So check it out.
New ThoughtCatalog Article: It May Sound Crazy But Abandoning Your Goals Is The Key To Achieving Them
OK, the title is a bit of hyperbole mixed with clickbait (I didn't write it, the editor does that). But the point of it is still true. Namely, systems are far superior to goals. I came to this conclusion after reading Scott Adam's new book How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big.
Adams notes that "If you achieve your goal, you celebrate and feel terrific, but only until you realize you just lost the thing that gave you purpose and direction." There's no permanence with it, plus opportunities can come from anywhere and make old goals irrelevant. Or perhaps, the goal will be too stifling to let you take advantage of that opportunity.
Instead he uses and I recommend as well, systems. Here's one example I describe,
"He must go to the gym each day. Now notice, I didn’t say he must work out each day, he just must show up at the gym. If he can’t handle it that day, he can just leave. But usually, just walking in is enough."
And there are many more such examples. I highly recommend adopting this mindset.
Check it out!
My new post is up at BiggerPockets.com on the difference between those who use an external locus of control (things just happen to me) versus those who use an internal locus of control (I control my life). Not surprisingly, those with an internal locus of control do much better at just about everything.
Also, this is not an unalterable state. You can improve the way you look at the world. As I note,
"it’s essential to remove the idea that your life is dictated by forces outside of your control. Of course, to one degree or another, it is. But there is plenty that we can control. Perhaps hard work, perseverance, and a thirst for knowledge will lead one unlucky person to become a millionaire, while the lucky one becomes a billionaire. But you know what? Being a millionaire isn’t that bad"
There's also a major point regarding choice. This is especially true with employees and subordinates. You give them a choice and that incentivizes them to use an internal instead of an external locus of control. You should structure your business and how you manage subordinates to take advantage of this fact if you want highly productive employees.
I go into this much more in the article. Check it out!
Scope of work are a hassle to put together but they are essential for real estate investors. That is what my latest article at BiggerPockets delves into; both the upfront estimate side of things and the more detailed scope on the back end.
Regarding the estimate, I highly recommend J. Scott's The Book on Estimating Rehab Costs. Regarding the scope, I highly recommend making it itemized down to just about everything (OK, "two outlets covers" can go on one line.) In the article, I explain three reasons why,
And I go into a lot more than that on how to create a scope of work. Check it out.
There is a lot (and I mean A LOT) of stuff out there about how to begin in real estate investing. That being said, there isn't much when it comes to scaling a real estate business. In other words, there is a lot on how to get from A to B. But there is very little on how to get from B to C and beyond.
My most recent article at BiggerPockets gives a brief guide to this. Much of it is based on Scaling Up by Verne Harnish which I have synthesized (or at least tried to) with the real estate investment business. Of course, the biggest thing is probably delgation,
As your business grows, you will want to offload the less important tasks or the tasks you aren’t particularly good at to others. But there is such a thing as hiring too soon when you can’t afford it or hiring someone for a position that is too vague or messy to be useful. So I recommend two things to figure out what exactly it is that you should and should not be doing.
Check it out.
So the price of Bitcoin just surpassed $3000 the other day for the first time ever. It subsequently dropped, but regardless, that peer-to-peer cyber, cryptocurrency using blockchain nanotechnology or whatever that most people don't actually seem to be able to understand has exploded in price over the last few years.
Indeed, the occasion was a bit somber for me. My colleague for the old site I wrote for penned an article on Bitcoin back on June 17th, 2011 and I remember a lot of people in my libertarian circles talking about it. While I supported the concept (because end the Fed yo!). I didn't care much. I certainly didn't think of it as an investment. Although the thought of buying some did cross my mind. Back then it was worth about $9.21/per coin.
Indeed, I went on a short lived tizzy. "Wait a minute, did I actually buy some back then and forget about it?" Yes, I made damn sure to check every email account I have.
Alas, I did not forget what would have made me more money that most people's lifetimes.
It did happen to someone else though. Back in 2009, a man bought $27 worth of Bitcoin and then, understandably forgot about it. Then in 2013, he remember.
By then, it was worth $886,000!
My newest article is up at BiggerPockets titled "Why You Shouldn't Settle for hiring Anyone Below the Top Percent of Talent in a Paygrade." Although the article actually focuses more on coaching and firing.
First I note how Jim Collins in Good to Great found that it was Who not What that propelled greatness.
"The executives who ignited the transformations from good to great did not first figure out where to drive the bus and then get people to take it there. No, they first got the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then figured out where to drive it. "
Then I go onto detail some of the strategies Geoff Smart and Randy Street discuss in their book Topgrading, mostly regarding coaching and evaluating people after you hired them. As they note, "Topgrading is simply defined as achieving teams of almost all A players: those in the top 10 percent of talent available for the pay." Quite obviously, teams of A players are going to wildly outperform other teams. And thereby, companies with such teams will wildly outperform other companies.
As I conclude the piece, "...great employees can bring your business to new heights. You absolutely need to make hiring, firing, and coaching a priority in your business." Check it out.
My newest article is up at Mises.org; "Is Communist Speech Free Speech?"
The article is intentionally incendiary and serves two purposes: 1) To give a brief rundown of communist atrocities. As I note, "Going back through the twentieth century communists generally fall into two categories; 1) Mass-murdering, totalitarian dictators when in power and 2) terrorists when not-in power." And 2) To mock all of those "hate speech isn't free speech" lunatics on the Left. Most notably, Joe Biden, who recently tweeted out that "hate speech is not protected by the first amendment."
Umm, yes it is Joe.
Unfortunately, a lot of people didn't seem to get the obvious satire as the comments shows. Perhaps had my original draft been used, which included the following over-the-top ending, it would have been more obvious. But I can understand it really isn't in the spirit of an intellectual website such as Mises.org:
"Postscript: Communists tend to be rather dishonest, so if Howard Dean is looking for an unbiased third party to determine who is and who is not a communist, the Mises Institute would be happy to lend a hand.
"Postscript to the Postscript: After a thorough review, the Mises Institute has determined that Howard Dean will no longer be allowed to express his opinion."
Of course, people's sarcasm detectors seem to be permenantly broken when it comes to the written word. So perhaps one more would have been necessary:
"Postscript to the Postscript to the Postscript: Yes this is satire, c'mon people!"
Oh well. Regardless, communism sucks and freedom of speech, even for bad speech, is the cornerstone of a free society.
Yesterday was a punch in the gut as I learned my favorite musician had committed suicide in Detroit. Anyone who has heard his music could tell he had suffered from depression before. But having followed him through the years, I thought it was something he had beaten. Heartbreakingly, that appears to have not been the case. I wish the best for his wife and kids.
I became a huge fan of Chris Cornell when the first Audioslave album came out. I had liked Soundgarden before, but hadn't really differentiated them from any other 90's rock. I then rediscovered Soundgarden though and got into all of their stuff (other than their early heavy metal songs). Then I discovered Temple of the Dog and was basically hooked.
I followed him through his Audioslave days, his solo career (even the stint with Timbaland) and of course he reuniting with Soundgarden. And I loved his recent acoustic-based album Higher Truth.
I was lucky enough to see him in concert four times and must say he's a great performer, particularly when it's just him and an acoustic guitar. He was quite funny and really engaged the audience. And good lord, he could sing. Those acoustic concerts included something like 30 songs, which, as an amateur musician, I can tell you would not be easy to get through. Especially with the range he sings at.
Regardless, I will always be glad for the music he brought us while here. In parting, I think the song he wrote for Jeff Buckley when he died best illustrates how I feel. Thank you Chris and rest in peace.
New BiggerPockets Article: How to Improve Your Odds of Scoring a Loan With a Private or Hard Money Lender
My new article at BiggerPockets is up. It's titled "How to Improve Your Odds of Scoring a Loan With a Private or Hard Money Lender" and it's about what, well, I think it's pretty self explanatory.
Other than getting a great deal under contract, I note that the most important things you can do fall into four categories,
The coherence one may sound a bit odd, but it's just as important as the rest. As I explain,
"...A confused mind says “no.” This is especially true with private lenders or equity investors. If they can’t understand what your pitching, it doesn’t matter how good the deal is, they will say no."
Go check it out.
"Every day is a new life to the wise man."
The Righteous Mind
Star Slate Codex
Consulting by RPM