Mention Dilbert and the picture of smart, but socially inept, engineers mocking managers and executives pops immediately into mind. Being slightly self-mocking, Scott Adams, who created and draws the cartoon, Adams described himself who:

  • is not a very good artist
  • not a very good businessman (has more than 36 failed businesses)
  • is never the funnies guy in the room
  • yet, he’s good enough at all to build a successful business

Adams gave the motivational/personal development keynote at Rockwell Automation TechED on June 2. Some of these keynotes are worth reporting, and since I am interested in personal development both for myself and as a coach, here are some takeaways.

It’s easier to mock people that it is to come up with great ideas. Well, I guess we all have experienced that one. I just listened to a podcast with Andy Stanley who said that the word How can kill many a bold initiative and leader.

Advice almost never works. We have all given advice–to our kids, parents, bosses, direct reports. And how has that worked for you? I thought so….

Goals are for losers. What is the last goal you have set? Lose 20 lbs.? Get fit? Get more productive? How did those work for you? Replace goals with systems. Don’t say I want to lose 20 lbs. Develop a system (or I would call them habits) that guides you on your way to a healthy lifestyle and body. Have a system for how you eat, train, work, play.

Passion is overrated. Ask successful people what got them to the top, often they’ll boil it down to passion. Passion for the product, or the customer, or the company. Many factors actually contribute to success. Adams suggests substituting energy for passion. That’s one I especially like. What are we doing to enhance and sustain our energy? Food, rest, exercise, focus.

Luck can be manipulated. There exists a definition of luck as “where preparation meets opportunity.” Adams would go somewhat beyond that definition. He says change the game. If everyone has a similar approach, what can you do to change the game. He took his variety of talents, kept adding little pieces, and eventually hit on a winning formula. What can you keep adding to your portfolio that changes the game for you?


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