How do you identify potential opportunities for professional and personal growth? As entrepreneurs, we get many opportunities to become better serving leaders. How do you make sure you get involved in the right projects that help you leverage the time you invest? When I was young, I was lucky enough to be introduced to the leadership principles of Sir John Templeton, founder of The Franklin Templeton Investments and The Templeton Foundation. What can we as entrepreneurs learn from this serving leader about global opportunities?
After over 25 years, I still believe his simple principles have helped me and many of the people I’ve shared them with achieve success in all parts of their lives. I’ll share them here so you might gain from Sir John Templeton’s timeless wisdom. This week, we talk about the principles that you can apply to your personal life and in the future we share his more of his secrets for financial and personal success. His personal philosophy took an integrated approach to becoming a better person first and this would lead to becoming a more successful business leader. His principles led not only to success in his business career, but also allowed him to become one of the most influential philanthropists of all time.
John Templeton’s first leadership principle was an individual must have a broad social and political awareness. John believed that the more you knew about the world, the better leader you could become. He grew up in a small town and was one of the first investors who travelled extensively to better understand the bigger issues of his time. He never stopped learning and expanding his view of the world. As he got older, he continued diversifying his studies and this process allowed him to explore many different aspects of society from financial to spiritual systems.
John Templeton’s second rule of leadership was that he believed leaders had to remain flexible in how they deal with others. John felt that as we get to know more we become more inflexible in our approach to life. He felt it was critical to your success that you continue learning and developing new approaches and ideas. He was the first major investor who suggested that inflexibility was a disease that infected many great leaders. John was always looking at things in different ways. He felt it provided him with a significant advantage because he was not attached to an inflexible system but to an evolving view that allowed him to take advantage of opportunities as they presented themselves to him. He had a global outlook and was able to maximize the ROI on his investments and his life.
John Templeton’s third rule of leadership was learning to be patient. He spent significant time watching events happen before deciding to take action. He did not subscribe to the idea that there was only one time that could maximize your investments in time and capital. He invested his time looking further out into the future to identify the best long term opportunities for his life and business. You should know what might happen and when it would be the best time to get involved in any opportunity. Today, entrepreneurs are given many opportunities to develop their own future every day. John would suggest that you expand your view and widen your perspective by having more patience than others in your field. Many entrepreneurs do not develop a critical eye to how patience can make you a more successful leader.
John Templeton’s fourth rule of leadership involved spending significant time understanding all the issues involved an opportunity. He did his research before getting involved in future opportunities. He was one of the earliest business leaders who used both quantitative and primary research in developing his long term business strategies. He travelled the world meeting fellow business leaders before investing in risky business opportunities. He enjoyed global travel but found that many times what seemed like a great opportunity on paper, might have a significant downside when investigated in person. John was quick to point out that many of his best opportunities came from a firsthand experience of a country or a market. He had strong analytical skills, but learned to trust his intuition when making deals in international markets.
John Templeton believed that his success in life came from his ability to control his thoughts and emotions. He invested significant time with positive people and had an extensive network of friends who had a similar positive outlook on life. His ability to read others and how they would be impacted by adversity provided him incredible opportunities when others couldn’t see them in international markets. Many times, he invested in the leaders more than the current business because he understood the importance of leadership on an organization’s future growth potential.
Over the past two weeks, I spent time in Boston with many great leaders in the financial, business, nonprofit, and investment communities. Next week I will begin sharing many of the ideas I learned on how we can build a stronger community by integrating key components in our local and global markets, see you here.