Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck

So which one is it?

Heart– like Howard Schultz of Starbucks?

Smarts– like Billionaire investor Warren Buffett?

Guts-like Richard Branson of Virgin

or Luck-like Tony Hsieh of Zappos?

One of those words probably stands out to you more than the others. This means you probably are somewhat aware of how your brain works and how it ultimately makes decisions, in business and life.

Business veterans Tony Tjan, Dick Harrington, and Tsun-yan Hsieh interviewed and researched more than 500 business leaders from young, upstart entrepreneurs to experienced CEOs to identify 4 character traits that define a business leaders’ decision-making process.

Below are the 4 categories of entrepreneurs they found:

1. Heart. Hearts-dominated leaders are the passionate, big-picture, founding visionaries that may not necessarily have a rational, research-based business plan, but are fiercely committed to seeing their goal through.

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2. Smarts.  The smarts-dominated leader is rational, makes decisions based on facts, sets goals, delegates responsibility and knows how to hold people accountable.

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3. Guts.  Guts-dominated leaders actively seek out uncertain business ventures with the possibility for high reward (risk takers) or are capable at managing situations laden with heavy consequence (risk-tolerant).


4. Luck. While almost every successful business venture owes some portion of its success to a lucky break, the luck-dominant business leaders strategically expose themselves to luck by developing organic, deep connections with a group of people and then having the open and optimistic outlook in life to be able to take advantage of opportunities when they present themselves.



I think I just added Heart, Smarts, Guts and Luck (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012) to my reading list. In the meantime feel free to take the authors’ entrepreneur aptitude test at www.HSGL.com.

I’m a believer of being as well-rounded as possible- having a little bit of everything- but if I had to choose just one, I would say Heart is what resonates with me the most.  Life without passion fatal. How do you even go about doing something without wanting it?

So… what about you?

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