The 12 Keys to Success in Today’s World — No one is sharing with you!

Every year I present to a class at the University of Denver’s Daniels School of Business.  This year I was asked to talk about what it takes to be successful in today’s world and what they should be focusing on as they wrap up their school work and head out into the world.

It was a great presentation with lot’s of dialog. It spilled over to beers and ongoing discussion at a bar around the corner. I had a great time.

I wanted to share the presentation here because these aren’t your typical answers.  There is a change in today’s work place and in today’s world and the rules to engagement are changing. This isn’t your father’s world anymore.


We are quickly moving out of a time based economy and into a results economy. No one wants your time anymore. They want results. Set vacations, time clocks, punching in at 8:00 and out at 5:00 don’t cut it. Time has no value and paying for it is a waste. Companies want results and will pay handsomely for them. Your “time” offers little value today. What can you deliver?
It’s not experience people want. What we really want is what we get from the experience and that’s expertise. If you have the same amount of expertise as someone with 10 more years of “experience” then bang on you. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t done it as long. The world doesn’t want experience, it wants expertise. Anyone can rack up experience with a butt in a seat. Getting real expertise, well that takes work.
Screw Your Degree:
A degree, like experience doesn’t mean shit. It’s what we get from our degree that matters. School is for learning and that’s what’s most important. What did you learn from school? What are you applying that you’ve learned? How are you expanding your capabilities and value with what you’ve learned? You’re degree isn’t what matters, it’s the knowledge you got from getting the degree. School is for learning, not getting a degree.
You Need to Be Able to Think:
The idiot economy is coming to an end. The days of making money with your body, from physical, rote, labor are ending. The value is no longer in being able to do what your told, but in your ability to think and solve problems better than others. Thinking is no longer a competitive advantage, it’s quickly becoming the price to play. The ability to solve complex problems and deliver unique, innovative solutions is where success will lie.
There are three ways you can react to change. You can reject it, accept it or create it. In today’s world you have to, at a bare minimum, accept it. To win, you have to learn how to create it. Become a change creator.
Brand U:
You are now responsible for marketing you. A resume and 15 years of experience isn’t enough and it’s value is plummeting like the 1920’s stock market. You are now responsible for developing your brand and promoting it. You have to market you and develop the product you. You have to be deliberate in making yourself into something. You have to know what your value to the world is and what you bring to the table. It’s not OK to be a set of features (a degree, years experience, work history) anymore. Know who you are, what you deliver and why. Brand yourself.
You need reach. Your rolodex, your contact list etc. aren’t enough. Reach is the most valuable asset you can have in the future. The bigger it is, the more valuable it will be. Start building your reach. Start connecting on social media; Linkedin, Twitter, Pinterest, Google +, Quora, etc. Expand your reach, it’s a must! The person with the largest reach wins!
Start a Blog:
The best way to build your brand, increase your reach and demonstrate your expertise all at the same time is to start a blog. Blogging is the best tool to grow your career and accelerate success in today’s world.  Blogging allows you to share your expertise, capture followers, and it forces you to learn (grow your expertise) as you read and research new blog topics. If not a blog, then create and publish content (slide share presentations, ebooks, process flows etc.)  Content creation is a must in today’s world. If you’re not creating content and sharing it with the world, no on can help you. (I can see a day, where if you don’t have content to share, it will be assumed it’s because you have NOTHING to share.) Start creating and publishing content, it’s your calling card.
Have some balls: 
Safety is no longer an acceptable stance. The world is moving too fast. Companies are getting to a billion dollars in revenue in less than three years. Companies are starting, growing to 100’s of billions of dollars and dying all in less than 20 years. The time table is getting shorter. The world is moving at light speed. Taking risk is a must. It’s not OK to play not to lose. You have to play to win. You have to put it out there. You have to take risks. No one is coming, have the balls to go for it. Playing it safe is not OK.
Learn How to Sell: 
Everything that matters in this world requires you know how to sell. You want to get that killer idea you have funded? You need to sell. You want that new CSO job? You need to sell. You want to increase your budget? You need to know how to sell. You want to raise VC money? You need to know how to sell. You want that killer candidate from your competition? Yup, you need to know how to sell. Selling IS the tool of the 21st century. Learn how do to it.
Don’t be Boring: 
Boring sucks. Nobody wants to be around boring. Be different, which means you’ll have to to take some risks. Stand out. Create a brand of you that gets people excited. Be an energy creator, not an energy sucker. Boring steals energy, not being boring adds energy. Don’t be boring.
Have fun:
You will not be able to do any of the other stuff on this list if you’re not having fun. If you’re not having fun, then why do it. Find something you love to do. Find an environment that get’s you excited. Do something that makes you want to jump out of bed. If you aren’t having fun doing what you’re doing then stop it. Have fun or don’t do it.
95% of you Won’t Do Any of This: 
This is the sad part, but also the opportunity. You see, it’s hard to do the above. It takes work, it requires change, it requires taking risks, it requires blowing up tons of preconceived notions of how to be successful and what it takes to develop our careers. It’s too much for most people. It’s just easier to go with what they’ve always done. Therein lies the benefit for those who do embrace this list. You will have a decided competitive advantage over those who don’t. Trust me this is a 5% you want to be a part of.
The presentation kicked off a lot of questions and discussion. I loved the class and their energy. Some of them were already doing some of this stuff. Other’s none of it. It hit some of the students in the face. Other’s left completely motivated in jazzed to get going.
I strongly believe in this list. Things are changing and we’re not doing a good job of sharing the new rules.  So, here they are.

Is there anything you would add or take away? I’d love this communities thoughts? How are you seeing the world today?