Climbing Your Personality Ladder to Success

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By Goke Ilesanmi


Success is about discovering your best talents, skills and abilities and using them appropriately to better your life and the lives of others. I went to see a friend of mine recently.


Beside his house, I saw a short young man jumping into the air to pluck some mangoes from a very tall mango tree, instead of using a long plank of wood available there. It was funny to me and I told my friend that the young man had (and has) the personality of a comedian. And my friend confirmed it, wondering how I quickly knew.


You see, one thing that is very critical to success is personality, that is, one’s character or behaviour. Research confirms that people who engage in a business that aligns with their true personality tend to achieve tremendous success and fulfilment. In short, every personality type has the potential to grow a successful business. What you just need is to determine the right opportunity. Self-awareness makes us easily bridge the gap between the type of person we are and the right business for us.



Peter Drucker, an international business-management expert says entrepreneurship is about taking risk and the behaviour of an entrepreneur reflects a kind of person willing to put his career and financial security on the line and take risks in the name of an idea, spending much time as well as capital on an uncertain venture. There is definitely an entrepreneurial personality. That is why some people can struggle through to entrepreneurial success, while others cannot. Entrepreneurial personality type explains why some entrepreneurs fail in one venture only to succeed in another venture which tallies with their character.



For the simple fact that founding and running a successful company is a long-term process, an entrepreneur needs to be careful in the course of choosing a venture by choosing one which tallies with his or her natural personality. “Rather than swimming upstream with the currents running against your potential success, why not focus on the types of situations and businesses in which you can thrive?” says Bill Wagner, co-founder of Accord Management Systems, a California-based behavioural consultancy. The essence of identifying a business that matches your own personality is that you can leverage your strengths and improve your weaknesses.



Professor John Miner, author of The 4 Routes to Entrepreneurial Success identifies four types of entrepreneurs as personal achievers, super salespeople, real managers and expert idea generators. Let us examine these four categories.


Personal achievers

Personal achievers, according to Miner, are classic entrepreneurs, bringing tremendous energy to their performance. They like to plan, including setting goals for future achievements. They have a lot of initiative and a strong commitment to their organisations. Personal achievers believe that they control their lives through their own actions rather than being controlled by circumstances and are most likely to succeed if they pursue the achieving route by constantly putting out fires and dealing with crises.


Super salespeople

This business management consultant educates that these people possess a great deal of feeling for other people and want to help in any way possible. They use a soft-sell approach, and receive sales from their customers’ desire to give something back. Relationships are very important to them. Therefore, they like social situations and groups. These people consider selling to be essential to their companies and to succeed as entrepreneurs, super salespeople need to use the selling route by spending as much time as possible selling and getting someone else to manage the business.


Real managers

Real managers are another group of entrepreneurs. As regards real managers, Miner says these people like to take charge, and they do well in corporate leadership positions. He adds that they are competitive, decisive and positively disposed to those with authority. They enjoy power and acting a part. As entrepreneurs, they frequently become effective marketers, partly by managing the marketing process but often by being good salespeople. Miner adds that their ideal path to success is the managing route, which is by finding or starting a business large enough to need their managerial talents.


Expert idea generators

The expert idea generators are the last of the entrepreneurial classifications. Miner says this category of entrepreneurs invent new products, find new niches, develop new processes, and generally find a way to out-think the competition. These are innovators in the true entrepreneurial sense, and are strongly drawn to the world of ideas. Yet, it is noteworthy that these people can get carried away by their enthusiasm and fail to take sufficiently-calculated risks; and to mitigate the risks of unwarranted enthusiasm, a degree of cautiousness helps here.


Another classification

Another research work classifies entrepreneurs into two. That is, generalists and specialists. Generalists and specialists are like two sides of a coin. Generalists are strategic thinkers. They are big-picture-oriented, prefer environments where they can use their results-driven nature, enjoy autonomy and independence, and are stronger risk-takers. Generalist personalities will have a dominance factor that is much greater than their compliance factor. This is the source of their need to win and their belief that they are always right. They are therefore self-confident.


However, specialists are tactically oriented, prefer operating within their areas of expertise, are more detail-oriented, and prefer environments that provide both security and stability. Specialists are typically more risk-averse, unless they are working within their areas of expertise. Unlike the generalists, the specialist personality has a compliance factor that is much greater than the dominance factor. Therefore, doing things by the book by following rules, policies and procedures is more important to the specialists. They will try to do everything right, which means avoiding risks.


Parting words

The most important factor that distinguishes entrepreneurs who barely make it from those who are super-rich is personality and the ability to harness it, use it and learn from it. Successful entrepreneurs know that the greatest knowledge is self-knowledge. Therefore, pursue business engagements that match your personality today because you need to climb your personality ladder to the peak of success.


GOKE ILESANMI, Editor-in-Chief/CEO of https://www.gokeilesanmi.com.ng and Managing Consultant/CEO of Gokmar Communication Consulting, is a Certified Public Speaker/Emcee, (Business) Communication Specialist, Motivational Speaker, Career Management Coach, Renowned Book Reviewer, Corporate Leadership Expert and Editorial Consultant.

Tel: +234(0)8056030424; +234(0)8187499425

Email: info@gokeilesanmi.com.ng; gokeiles2010@gmail.com



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