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Left-Handed, Dyslexic Entrepreneurs are the Most Successful Leaders

left-hand-writingLeft-handed people comprise about 10% of the population. Yet 57% (four) of our last seven Presidents have been lefties.

Presidents George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter were righties. (Although, some people assert Reagan was a leftie who became ambidextrous because he was “cracked by the ruler” as a school kid.)

Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Gerald Ford were all lefties. (Although, Ford said in his autobiography that he wrote with his right-hand when he was standing. We wonder which hand he used when he was tripping? :-)

Since we’re both lefties, we were really curious about this phenomenon. What explains this seemingly huge imbalance between the general population and Presidents? It’s simple:

Lefties make better leaders.

The left side of our brains is ruled by logic; the right side by intuition. Left-handed people are more likely to use the right hemisphere of their brain. While logic is important for leaders, intuition rules – especially in times of uncertainty and crisis.

The success of dyslexic entrepreneurs

We couldn’t find any studies about the handedness of entrepreneurs. However, about 10% of the population is dyslexic.

It is commonly cited that a disproportionate share of dyslexics are left-handed. Research has shown that dyslexia affects 35% of all entrepreneurs and just 1% of managers in the corporate world. This same study showed that, on average, dyslexic entrepreneurs:

  • are more likely to be serial entrepreneurs
  • grow their businesses faster
  • hire more employees

Coping for BIGG success

The researchers assert that entrepreneurs with dyslexia may grow faster as a coping mechanism. They learned to delegate at a young age, finding people who could easily do things they found difficult.

This ability to recruit and work with key people is an advantage in building an entrepreneurial enterprise. The need to hire people to help shore up the entrepreneur’s own strengths creates a pressure to grow faster.

As a business grows, structure is required to continue serving customers effectively and efficiently. The researchers postulate that entrepreneurs with dyslexia may feel stressed by this structure. So they choose to sell the business and move on to another entrepreneurial endeavor. Entrepreneurs without dyslexia are more comfortable with structure so they tend to stick with one business longer.

An opportunity for government officials and venture capitalists

So…

Lefties make better leaders.

Lefties are more likely to be dyslexic.

People with dyslexia are more successful entrepreneurs.

Therefore, if we’re going to grow our economy…

We should look for left-handed people with dyslexia who want to be entrepreneurs.

Government officials should start programs to locate and encourage these potential venturers.

Venture capitalists can refine their screening process and just look for left-handed entrepreneurs with dyslexia.

What if you’re not a left-handed dyslexic?

Before we close, we want to speak to all of you who aren’t left-handed dyslexics. Is there any hope for you? Of course there is.

Remember that it’s April Fool’s Day!

We made two (at least) logic errors in our analysis above:

  • “Lefties make better leaders.”

    While it’s interesting that such a high percentage of our recent Presidents have been left-handed, there’s no evidence to indicate that lefties make better leaders than righties.

  • “It is commonly cited that a disproportionate share of dyslexics are left handed.”

    While we found numerous people making this assertion, we found no credible research to back it up.

The benefit of being YOU

So what’s the point? Was this whole post just a ruse? No.

We wanted to highlight that YOU have an advantage. It’s up to YOU to find it. Nature has endowed YOU with certain characteristics – handedness, dyslexic or not, etc.

Your environment has afforded YOU with certain experiences unique to YOU. Your perceptions, knowledge and know-how are all yours.

Your duty, should you choose to accept it, is to find where your endowments and your experiences are leading YOU.

Once you find that, YOU are ready to build a life, not just make a living. That’s life on your own terms! That’s BIGG success!

Image in this post from tulp

The Constitution: A Model for Your Organization

constitution Today in the United States, we’re inaugurating Barack Obama as our 44th President today. It’s both a celebration and an orderly transfer of power.

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marylynn
I can hear “Hail to the Chief” being played. I just love that song!

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georgeI got inaugurated once. I was on the speech team in Junior High School. I’m dating myself here, but I played Gerald Ford taking the oath. So I tripped … I mean stepped … up to the microphone, held up my right hand, and said, “I, Gerald R. Ford, do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

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Yes, all Presidents solemnly swear to uphold the Constitution. We hadn’t thought about this for some time, but we started discussing the purpose of a Constitution.

The United States Constitution itself tells us. It begins with the famous line “We the People of the United States” and then goes into the reasons for the document:

“in Order to form a more perfect Union”
At least we know that the Founding Fathers were realists – they didn’t expect a “perfect” union! They just felt the Constitution would help make things better.

“establish Justice”
It was important to establish laws so that every man and woman was treated the same. 

“ensure domestic Tranquility”
The Constitution allows for peaceful disagreement and debate.

“provide for the common defence”
It was important to determine how the safety of the citizenry would be insured.

“promote the general Welfare”
But it goes beyond safety. The Constitution also maps out how to make things better for the people of the country.

“secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity”
This document should insure the freedom of its citizens now and in the future.

Now think about that list. These are the reasons why the Founding Fathers felt it was important to have a Constitution.

But this isn’t a civics lesson. Which is good because we sure wouldn’t be qualified to talk about it! But it made us think …

Aren’t those good reasons for us to have a Constitution in our organizations?

A framework for growth

As small business owners, we often run from structure. We are rebels at heart. We like to break the rules. These characteristics are part of what lead to the success of many small business owners. However, this lack of structure is also what keeps many of their businesses really small.

So does your organization need a Constitution? If you want to establish a framework to grow your business and insure that all people in your organization get treated fairly, then YES!

The Constitution as a model

To find out how to establish a framework for your organization, look at the Constitution.

Set down governing principles.
This list of principles expresses the Core Values of the organization. All decisions should be congruent with these principles.

Establish a structure. How is it organized? This helps us see the bigg picture. Think about your Mission.

Define procedures. How is it run? How do we do things around here? It doesn’t set the ceiling for idealistic behavior, but it does establish a floor. What is the minimum acceptable behavior? Think of this as your Operations Manual.

Describe duties. What are the obligations of the people involved? Think Job Descriptions.

Delineates powers.  What are the boundaries within which the people involved must operate? What resources are available to help them do their jobs? Does this sound like an Employee Handbook?

Can you imagine what our lives would be like without our Constitution? While none of us would say everything runs perfectly, they certainly run more smoothly because of our system of government. Using the Constitution as a model for your organization is a great way to form a more perfect union …

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Thanks so much for stopping by today. Join us next as we begin a three-part series on heroes. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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5 Interview Questions for John McCain

questionsHere in the United States, it’s convention time with the Republican National Convention winding down tonight as John McCain strives to land the biggest job in the world.

Whenever any of us goes for a job, it pays to think about our strengths. What makes us unique? What sets us apart?

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Now when we think of the Republican Party, we think of elephants! Sure enough, this huge, bumbling animal has become the symbol for the Republican Party.

Last week, we talked about what a donkey could say in an interview to stand apart. This week, we’ll do the same for an elephant. So we showed our fictional elephant how to hold his trunk so it looked like a tie, and sent him off for an interview. Of course, we gave him a healthy breakfast of grass before he left!

Our elephant stressed that he has an excellent memory. He will help you remember important things about your key clients. He can also recall facts that may not have been documented.

Our elephant emphasized that he was as strong as any creature you’ll ever find. He can shoulder weights that you would never dream of on your own. Elephants have been used to transport goods all over the world. So our elephant stressed that your work will be much easier if you hire him.

If you remember, our fictional donkey also stressed how strong he was. We found this intriguing – two animals both emphasizing the same strength. It’s interesting, though, that they’re still different. There are situations where you would use a donkey, but not an elephant and vice versa. So don’t just think about your strengths – think about the nuances of your strengths and how a potential employer might find them useful.

Comedian Jake Novak, of Jake’s Comedy Corner, called in for today’s show. He’s thought about some common interview questions that might be good for the Presidential candidates. Last week, he had some questions for Barack Obama. This week, we’ll share questions for John McCain. 

Jake’s Take – 5 Interview Questions for John McCain

Question #1: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Please don’t say the Shady Pines Nursing Home, because that’s where I want to put my parents and there’s not enough room as it is! So try a different nursing home.

Question #2: Are you willing to travel for this job?

Because you know, Senator McCain, you tend to get cranky when you have to sit on the plane for more than fifteen minutes at a time!

Question #3: Describe your employment history.
And I’d like you to leave out all of the stuff before the invention of metal tools!

Question #4: What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?

Because the last time I checked, the Senate has 115 Republican white guys who want to be President! You’re not really that unique in that way!

Question #5: What will you do when you get this position?
I’m just hoping you won’t go on Jay Leno again, because that’s really not doing right by the American people. “Executive privilege” means you don’t have to appear on other people’s TV shows.

Our main question comes before the job interview … when John McCain filled out the application for the job of President, what did he put down for his address?

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Next time, we ask if it pays to be honest with your employees even in tough times. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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5 Interview Questions for Barack Obama

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5 Interview Questions for Barack Obama

soft_skillsHere in the United States, it’s convention time with the Democratic National Convention winding down tonight. It’s all about landing the biggest job in the world.

Whenever any of us goes for a job, it pays to think about our strengths. What makes us unique? What sets us apart?

Now when we think of the Democratic Party, we think of donkeys! Note we didn’t say jackasses … we don’t take sides here!

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It may seem strange to you, but we started thinking about what a donkey could say in an interview to stand apart. So we put a tie on our fictional donkey and sent him off for an interview. Although, we must admit, he still didn’t smell that good!

Our donkey emphasized that one of his most significant strengths was … his strength. In many parts of the world, a donkey is a person’s most prized possession. That’s because donkeys carry the burden so you don’t have to. Our donkey emphasized that hiring him would make your work easier.

Our donkey also stressed that he is a protector. In fact, donkeys are often used to scare predators away from farm animals. Predators like cougars (and we’re not talking about the Sex and the City kind). So our donkey asserted that if you hired him, he could keep competitors at bay!

Comedian Jake Novak, of Jake’s Comedy Corner, called in for today’s show. He’s thought about some common interview questions that might be good for the Presidential candidates. Today, he had some questions for Barack Obama. Next Thursday, we’ll share questions for John McCain. 

Jake’s Take – 5 Interview Questions for Barack Obama


Question #1: Where do you see yourself in five years?

Because in five years I’ll be living in Guatemala to avoid your tax hikes.

Question #2: Are you willing to travel for this job?
Because with a name like Barack Obama you’re going to get strip searched at the airport every time.

Question #3: Describe your employment history.

I understand you only need fifteen seconds to answer this, Mr. Obama, so try answering slowly.

Question #4: What can you do for us that other candidates can’t?
Besides inspiring us to diet because you’re crazy thin and we all look like blimps next to you, dude.

Question #5: What will you do when you get this position?
Because you’re not going to wake me up with another text message at 3 AM, are you?

Hillary Clinton was going to answer the phone at 3 AM. Barack Obama sends text messages at 3 AM. Guess we prefer a President who texts!

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Next time, we’ll discuss a simple game that helps you improve your strategic decision-making skills. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

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5 Interview Questions for John McCain

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Does Barack Obama's Favorite Music Make Him More Interesting?

Rolling Stone interviewed Barack Obama recently. He revealed his iPod play list, which included songs by:

  • Earth, Wind & Fire
  • Elton John
  • The Rolling Stones
  • Sheryl Crow
  • Yo-Yo Ma
  • Jay-Z
  • Bob Dylan
  • Stevie Wonder

He said Stevie Wonder is his musical hero. We learn more about him because he shared his musical taste. He’s in touch with the classics and brilliant musicians. He shows his age, yet he’s still in touch with artists of today. 


Mary-Lynn says …
When I think of Bob Dylan, I think of music with a message … that sense of activism.
When I think of Yo-Yo Ma or Stevie Wonder, I think of great musicianship.

And I think of the song, I Wish. How when I was working in radio, I was always excited when that song was coming up. I’d crank it when it was on and do my own boogie!

George replies … 
When I think of Stevie Wonder, I think about the Saturday Night Live skit where he was playing tennis! He got hit by a lot of balls!

Seriously, I think of Ebony and Ivory. I’m a lyrics guy. I can picture the keyboard with its ebony and ivory keys. And Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder singing it. It’s powerful!

Sharing opens up the conversation
So you see what’s happening here. Barack Obama revealed things about himself. Now we’re revealing things about ourselves. When you share, you open up the conversation because the other person finds things to be interested in. So they find you more interesting and get to know you better. And you connect with them.

So let’s take a page from the politician’s playbook – they look for every single way they can to connect with people.

George’s example:
I’m a husband, a business owner, a professor, a blogger, a podcaster, an alum of the best university in the world … the University of Illinois. And the list goes on. Kind of like Sonny & Cher’s beat!

It’s how people can relate to you, by finding things in common with you.

The more you share, the more you connect

That’s why one of our friends says that you should fill out your profile completely on social networking sites, when you join an organization, and at every opportunity. Share as much about yourself and your interests as you feel comfortable sharing.

We can learn a lesson from politicians on this – the more you share, the more you connect!

Mary-Lynn says …
As we prepared for this show, one of the things we talked about is how neither one of us has been listening to much music lately. This really surprises me about myself because I was a musician and a music disc jockey for many years. So music has been an integral part of my life.

George replied …
That begs the question, Mary-Lynn. Why aren’t you listening to more music now?

And I think I know the answer – you get to hear me sing in the shower! What more could you possibly need?

Mary-Lynn’s retort …
That’s not music to my ears, George!

I work at my computer a lot and whenever I am in the car they’re always playing the same songs on the radio. So I just flip to talk. 

Connect with yourself

Music is an opportunity to connect with others, but more importantly, it lets you connect with yourself. So make time for things that touch you deeply – in your mind, your heart, and your soul.
Whether that be music or something else.

What do you do to connect to others and yourself? Is there something you used to do that you need to reconnect with?

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