Nearly all successful individuals understand the power of leverage, and agree that its use will accelerate the success in any endeavor.People may become successful without using leverage; however, that would mean willingness to compromise their level of success, the speed at which they reach it, and the time required to get to each level.
So what exactly is leverage, why is it so powerful, and how do we use it?
Leverage is an action, or mechanical effect, that helps achieve a purpose.Leverage has been used since the beginning of time. In fact, each of us has experienced, used, or witnessed leverage at some point; however, we are not all necessarily aware of the significance and incredible power of leverage in everything we do.The cost of not using leverage in our personal lives and business strategy is huge. We need to get intentional and strategic with understanding and using the power of leverage, in every part of our lives.
But first, here’s an example of how a franchise I worked for did not use the power of leverage, and therefore experienced limited results and, ultimately, failure.
I became involved in the training and speaking industry over 30 years ago by buying into a sales-training franchise. It seemed to make sense at the time, because I was a top sales performer and this transition was one through which I could bring immediate credibility to my programs by leveraging the franchisor-developed content. However, the franchise was missing one key strategy: business development leveragein the area of marketing and sales prospecting.
As franchisees, we were instructed to have four appointments a day and hold public programs for our sales training. We were told to simply pick up the phone and start calling people—literally anyone. We weren’t even taught how to profile the potential clients; we were just to make the call.
I followed this strategy to the letter, and now look back and shudder. I was young and naive, and quickly found that even with enormous and continual effort, there was simply not enough time in the day to talk to enough people—most of whom I didn’t know, didn’t want to talk to me, and weren’t interested in my product/service.
Even though I was one of the top five franchisees, I was still losing money;there was no leverage. Within a couple of years, the franchisor burned all its seed capital and went bankrupt. Having no leverage was just one reason.
The key to using the power of leverage is to be aware, strategic, and intentional about it everywhere, both personally and in business. To help you understand this, here are examples of the contrast between using it versus not using it:
- Buying a home:
- Cash purchase àNo Leverage vs. Mortgage àMoney Leverage
- Learning a new computer program:
- Do it yourself (DIY) with help books à No Leverage vs. Hire an expert to teach you in half the time àExpertise Leverage
- Determining your personal purpose and career:
- DIY without help à No Leverage vs. Complete CRG’s The Quest For Purpose process and assessmentsà Time & Expertise Leverage
- Teaching your child music:
- DIY, despite lack of training à No Leverage vs. Hire a professional music instructor àTime & Expertise Leverage
- Creating a business plan:
- DIYà No Leverage vs. Bring in an expert àIdea & Experience Leverage
- Building a successful business:
- DIYà No Leverage vs. Create strategic alliances and joint venture (JV) partnerships àContact & Credibility Leverage
Of course, this list can go on and on, in every aspect of our lives. In some cases, using leverage is not appropriate, but in most situations, it should be considered.With society’s pace of change, business, and competition, it is very difficult—if not impossible—to go it alone. Strategic partnerships, alliances, JVs, and associations should be part of our everyday language and tactics. Without these, you are working without leverage, relying instead on your own time, contacts, experience, expertise, money, etc. This is a painfully slow way to proceed, and it will ultimately limit your success.Remember, others have resources that you do not!
We often react in opposition to this strategy when under stress or pressure, such as contracting (to save money/resources)and using fewer contacts and less leverage at the exact time we should be expanding our reach and impact through leverage.
Here are some of the ways our company, CRG, has used the power of leverage:
- Several co-authors have worked together to create CRG assessments and content, leveraging expertise, time, and capabilities
- CRG has developed a global network of licensed associates” (professional developers) who utilize our tools to serve their clients by leveraging marketing, sales, and deployment of CRG’s proprietary models
- We offer our resources in print, online, and distance-learning modules, leveraging the same content into several streams
- We have partnered with national and international associations as preferred or JV partners to serve their membership, thereby leveraging marketing and sales efforts while assisting associations with a member-driven value-added service
If you embrace leverage as a foundational strategy, you will feel a release and freedom because you no longer have to be everything to everyone. This applies to individuals as well as to organizations. Even Google has bought other companies to leverage its reach!
Action Steps to Practice Leverage:
- Review your life and business to determine where you are,and are not, using leverage.
- Apply this summary of leverage points to all your activities to identify where you can intentionally implement more leverage: Money, Experience, Ideas, Work, Time, Contacts, etc.
- Connect with someone who is already a master at leveraging, and get his or her feedback/coaching on how to expand this concept in your life. (This strategy is leverage in itself.)
- Give up your ego in order to maximize the strategy of leveraging. If you want to be the center of attention, the designer, and the creator of all that you have, this leveraging process will not be nearly as successful.
- Be intentional about creating strategic alliances and JVs—but only with individuals or organizations with like minded values. Avoid partnering with those who do not share your values, as this will more than likely end in disappointment, pain, or disaster.
- Double your expectations around your objectives in life by practicing leveraging.
- Consider all the areas—all the ways, relationships, and processes—you can leverage so you can more quickly and easily achieve your goals through leverage.
Ken Keis, Ph.D.
CRG Consulting Resource Group International, Inc.
Ken Keis, Ph.D., President of CRG, is a global expert on leadership, wellness, behavioral assessments, and life purpose. In 28 years, he has conducted over 3000 presentations and invested 10,000+ hours in consulting and coaching. Ken Keis is considered a foremost global authority on the way assessment strategies and processes increase and multiply your success rate. He co-created CRG’s proprietary development models and has written over 4 million words of content for 40 business training programs and 400+ articles. His latest book, The Quest For Purpose: A Self-Discovery Process To Find It And Live It! is available at thequestforpurpose.ca.