“The Wolf of Wall Street”. Fraud, corruption and money laundering are the other side of the coin of an otherwise incredible business management story. The character, Jordan Belfort, builds an empire from an idea. A passionate businessman, he shows how simplicity, diverse competencies, and an incredible team spirit, can fuel a business beyond imagination. Together with an outstanding ability to learn from past mistakes and an utmost care for reputation, he makes our corporate leaders look like ants. It is in his style of leadership that we are left with a trail for success.
Here are my 6 lessons from the Wolf:
1. Find your Passion
The whole tale revolves around Jordan Belfort’s passion about becoming rich. He is amazed by the stock market. This is where and how he will get rich. And he never let goes of that idea. Not even after he is laid-off after “Black Monday”. He sticks to his guts and pursues his dream. Under success, there is passion. A lot of it.
2. Don’t take NO for an answer
Belfort’s ability to pitch crap products to rich people is inspiring. He is 100% dedicated to what he is doing. His attention is on the target. He is like a feline on the hunt. He listens. He is prepared. He knows what to say. When to say it. How to say it. He never gives up. He doesn’t take a no for an answer. And so he gets the job done. Better than anyone else.
3. Hire potential, train skills
We’ve seen this one all over the place “Hire character, train skill”. But Belfort’s focus on getting the right character goes beyond what any organization is doing. He looks for a thirst for success. He looks for himself. A key for leading his team is to be surrounded by similar people to him (check here my related post on building a Great Team). And it is his search for potential, not experience, that allows him to build that empire from scratch. Experience can lead people to go on the beaten path too often. And so, he relies on teaching everyone how he does it, rather than letting them do it how they are used to.
4. Reward people to get loyalty
The whole concept of the movie probably revolves around loyalty. The crazy life-style and party frenzy is an extreme, but it is his concept of consolidating the team and rewarding people that fuels his company’s success. He pays above the average and gets his top performers handsomely rewarded: “who wants to become rich?!”. In loyalty lies success. And loyalty is rewarded.
5. Communicate more and better
One of my favorite scenes from the whole movie is when Jordan challenges random people from a crowd to sell him a pen. It just shows how poor sales-whatever are around us. To put it plainly, most people in general don’t know how to sell. And selling is about communication. So bottom-line is that most people don’t know how to communicate. And the world is left for the ones that do. Classic scene.
6. Go all-out on your inspirational speech
Jordan’s passion for the business and what they are doing cannot be transmitted from behind a chair. And it cannot be fueled with lame speeches and useless “team” meetings. He needs to bring it on for everyone on the team. And so he must speak the same language. Shout it. Walk the walk. And make everyone see it. He ignites everyone with winning and passionate speeches. Don’t be afraid to shout it out loud!