By Gino Blefari
This week my travels first found me in Northern California, though as I write this to you now, I’m on my way to Las Vegas for the 2019 Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Sales Convention.
The theme for this year’s Sales Convention is ALL IN, an impactful phrase that can be summed up in a single word: preparation. To be ALL IN is to be fully committed to your goals. To be ALL IN means you have the discipline to work every day until you achieve those goals. To be ALL IN means you’re fully prepared for the many challenges you’ll face as you find a way to win. Even Warren Buffett has said: “Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing.” The riskiest initiatives are those for which you haven’t prepared.
Really, everyone wants to win. Winning is easy. What’s not easy is creating the discipline and drive to prepare for the sustainable success that will make your business thrive. Not everyone is willing to be ALL IN. Are you?
There’s another concept that sometimes gets twisted into the principle of preparation and that’s luck. Often before any large endeavor—participating in a conference like Sales Convention or performing onstage—people will say “good luck” or “break a leg.” It’s a sentiment that should always be appreciated; famously, Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “You cannot do a kindness too soon, for you never know how soon it will be too late.” Still, luck is a questionable factor of effective preparation.
What is luck, anyway? As my partner and great pal Dwight “The Catch” Clark would say, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.” In other words, when opportunity knocks and stands at your threshold, waiting to be let into your life, a prepared leader knows how to shake luck’s hand—she even knows the proper way to shake it—and is ready to make things happen. She’s ready to go ALL IN because she’s been ALL IN all along.
When an opportunity is missed, and luck comes knocking but no one is home to answer the door, we can attribute this to a leader’s insufficient preparation. It’s an unfortunate circumstance that not only affects the leader but also affects every member of a leader’s team. Preparation is a trickle-down entity with the power to allow companies and leaders to very quickly rise or fall. If a leader isn’t prepared when a lucky circumstance arises, then you can be sure the members of the team won’t be prepared either.
In his famous book “Outliers: The Story of Success,” Malcolm Gladwell defines success as the end result of outliers who become the best in their industry—whether it be sports, science, business or music—because they put in astonishing amounts of time and effort to achieve extraordinary results. In other words, these outliers only succeed because they’re exquisitely and unequivocally prepared.
So, what’s the message? There’s a great quote attributed to Ben Franklin: “By failing to prepare, you prepare to fail.” And the idea couldn’t be truer. ALL IN isn’t a halfway thing. ALL IN is a fully formed notion of being so prepared for whatever happens next, success becomes not a question but an inevitability. When you’re ALL IN, you’re equipped, ready and most importantly, prepared to win.