Nate Kievman, Founder of Linked Strategies, has two success recommendations that you probably won’t come across in a Harvard Business School Class. For that matter, you probably won’t find them any place I can think of– except Manopause!
There’s a reason the two ideas you’re about to read caught my attention. I got to see how those same two approaches helped my father grow the Sheraton Hotel Chain from no employees to 20,000 at the time of his death. The ideas are now concepts that influence and guide my life.
And by the way, you’re not too old to be thinking of ways to have more success in your life. Actually, by my standards, you’re a child! I’m 81, so unless you’re as old as I am, you’re still the kid stuff, and why am I hanging out with you?(Just kidding!)
Kievman’s Success Recommendation #1
The best philosophy for success is building the best relationships that you can.
“It’s not about you,” Kievman says. “It’s about understanding what people need out of life and helping them directly or indirectly, adding value to their lives.” And that, he says, is going to keep you on people’s radar and get you the best referrals.
I saw that in my father’s life, as he was building Sheraton. One of his principles, when he was negotiating to buy another hotel, was, “Always leave something on the table.”
He felt that it was a far better move to be a fair and even generous negotiator, as opposed to being a shark, fighting to get every last penny he could get. The result of that attitude was a major factor in what made Sheraton grow from one hotel to 400 at the time of his death.
Father told me that in each individual case, he could have bargained harder and come out a little further ahead. But that wasn’t his goal. He was playing a long game. He wanted to take into account what the other side wanted and needed, and he wanted any transaction to be one in which both sides weren’t just happy, he wanted them to be enthusiastic about the transaction.
By being known for being fair and generous, it happened over and over again that when, for example an elderly widow inherited a hotel and asked her lawyers for help with selling it, they’d direct her to my father first. They wanted their client to be dealing with someone with Henderson’s reputation for generosity and fairness.
Kievman’s Success Recommendation #2
Get energy and inspiration from your imaginary advisors.
Carl Sagan said: “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence,” and surely this piece of advice from Kievman requires some extraordinary evidence.
After all, it’s clearly an extraordinary claim to ask businesspeople who are making important decisions to consult “imaginary advisors.”
And yet, I witnessed that this approach worked.
When I was a teenager, I was forever asking Father what was the secret of his success. He had many answers, but one of the standout ones is, he used to imagine he was talking with a group of his ancestors, seeking their advice.
He told me that maybe seven times in his career, as the President of the Sheraton Chain, he faced decisions that if he got the decision right, Sheraton would flourish. If he got the decision wrong, the company might fail, and thousands of people might lose their jobs. The pressure had to be enormous.
Anyway, he’d tell me that when confronted with these kinds of existential questions for the company, he’d go to bed at night, completely unsure what to do. But he’d wake up the next morning feeling both certain and at peace.
He told me imagined he had spent the night conversing with his ancestors, discussing what he should do. He listened to the advice that came to him, and the seven decisions all worked out and Sheraton flourished.
But he told me, with a wink, “I hope the Wall Street analysts don’t find out how these decisions were made!”
Nate Kievman advises his clients and believes himself that, “The whole masterminding with avatars of historical mentors is a powerful concept. Napoleon Hill used to do it.”
I started out saying that today’s story wasn’t about concepts you and the people you advise would study at the Harvard Business School. But I’m left wondering, what if Nikola Tesla was right, “The day science begins to study non-physical phenomena, it will make more progress in one decade than in all the previous centuries of its existence.”
Mitzi Perdue is a writer, speaker, hotel heiress, and someone who aspires to be a frequent guest on Manopause. Visit her website at MitziPerdue.com or her anti-trafficking charity at ULETGroup.org.