SeeSaw Asset/Liability

Life is a Business – Chapter 25

A series of essays on the past, the present, and the future

What do you consider your greatest personal trait asset in life? Does it work equally well in personal, social or business settings? Whatever you think are your worst traits-just stop doing them-you know better, even if you have never admitted it. Once you have quit doing or saying the stupid stuff, focus all your attention and energy to managing your Good Traits. Why not spend time on all the bad ones? It’s simple. As Senator Mitch McConnell from Kentucky recently said: “There’s not much to be learned from the second kick of a mule”! Undoubtedly, if you are old enough to read this essay, you have been duly kicked; I only touched a red eye on the stove once myself! Learning to manage and capitalize upon your natural assets is today’s lesson; let’s make a brutally honest, non-judgmental list of factors you must consider:

Potential Assets/Liabilities in various situations

  • Appearance/grooming/dress (appropriate dress/grooming is in eye of target audience)
  • Height (I’m 6’ 2” and it helped with tall female buyers and hurt with short men!)
  • Male/female (be honest – you know when & how to work it!)
  • Ethnicity (people who share heritage tend to communicate more effectively)
  • Outgoing, gregarious personality (great with likeminded, other loudmouths)
  • Quiet, serious personality (great with likeminded, introspective thinkers)
  • Education/experiences (sometimes college worked, other times pool hall education did!)
  • Old (wizened) or young (fresh) – depends on what the listener is looking for.
  • Great storyteller and/or jokester (they can break ice or form ice if too long or offensive)
  • Emotional or non-emotional (some people need love – some need tough love to act)
  • Compassionate/empathetic (everyone wants you to at least “care” about their needs)
  • Confident or insecure (sorry, insecure rarely works; it looks like you don’t believe it!)
  • Conversant on broad range of topics (must be able to talk about what customer likes!)
  • Passionate about your cause or indifferent (passion shows commitment to ideas)
  • Brave and courageous (everyone respects bravery…unless totally misplaced and reckless)
  • Honesty and Integrity (everyone says they love honesty…unless you tell them bad news)
  • Attentive to details (universally valuable, for it shows you are paying attention)
  • Consistently complete your mission & tasks (it’s not how you start, but how you finish!)
  • Tenaciously competitive (failure is not an option to a real winner)
  • Pride in why and how your achievements were realized (the ends do not justify the means)

This list could go on longer, but consider how each of these assets could also be a liability in a given environment or situation: a tall man must not intimidate a short man; an athletic person must not make a couch potato feel inadequate or inferior; loud talkers must not overpower quiet folks; don’t ever patronize minorities; allow different people a chance to share equity in your success and not resent it because you ran over them. My greatest asset is talking in any situation…my greatest liability is talking in any situation! I accept who and what I am. I have capitalized upon my assets and I have found the way in critical situations to suppress my natural instincts, then, match my presentation style to the tastes of my targeted audience in order to achieve my goals. I have sipped the champagne at the Top of the World bar at the old World Trade Center to do a deal and I have drunk moonshine out of a mason jar on the creek bank to close others. My grandfather, John Legg said: “all money is green once it is in the cash register…” Ask any car salesman if he has seen an old man in overalls come out with cash to buy a car!

I could be a chameleon, if required, to present my company in a customer’s language…the important thing is that I had actually experienced life from the bottom up and feel comfortable at most any place you do –except elitism, which no amount of money could make me accept. We should all meet on level ground as human beings and fellow citizens.

By Bill Hewgley