Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Rule #3: Have sex.

"The speaker wore his usual uniform of a faded black Timberland sweatshirt and jeans; his London audience was all tailored suits and double-cuffed shirts. But as James Montier finished explaining why money shouldn't be equated with happiness, the equity and bond traders rose to their feet in applause. "I don't think they heard much beyond rule 3," Montier quipped afterward. Rule 3 of his 10 for achieving sustainable happiness is, 'Have sex.'"

An article in this month's Fast Company details maverick financial analyst James Montier's rules for investing. I liked these so much I'm listing several here with my corollaries regarding how they address transformational marketing and change management as well.

1. Leaving the trees could have been our first mistake. Our minds are suited to solving problems related to our survival rather than being optimized for investment decisions. My corollary: Buying decisions - even those regarding matching specifications to features as in fulfilling design specs - are made in the self-interest, not the objective fact. Market to the emotion, not the intellect.

2. Why does meeting companies hold such an important place in the investment process of many fund managers? Because we need to fill our time with something that makes us look busy. My corollary: As with investment decisions, many buying decisions are made before we ever review, or complete reviewing, the sponsor's 'factual' message. The access to information is so pervasive today, it must be consistently presented across all communication outlets from mass media to watercooler conversations.

3. Our minds are not supercomputers and not even good filing cabinets. They bear more resemblance to Post-it Notes that have been thrown into a bin and covered in coffee. The ease with which we can recall information is likely to be influenced by the impact that information made when it went in. My corollary: Brevity is good.

4. Don't equate happiness with money. Materialistic pursuits are not a path to sustainable happiness. My corollary: In life as in business, make the process the pursuit. Because until you are 'there', you'll never be satisfied, and if you do get 'there', you've often nowhere to go but back again.

5. People adapt to income shifts relatively quickly; the long-lasting benefits are essentially zero... One of my recommendations is to stop, take note, and give thanks--not necessarily to God but just to reflect on what you've achieved and what you've got. You need to stop and think, "Actually, I'm damn fortunate." My collorary: Really, I can't top that one. (Damn, I'm fortunate.)

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