March 25, 2016 11:10 am

Ted McLyman

Very Successful People Know the Answer.

Do you work with money or people? This is an interesting, and important, question.

Interesting question. Have you ever thought about this? Does it matter? I think it does – but that’s what I do for a living.

I mostly work with financial services professionals – insurance agents, financial advisors, bankers, real estate agents, and network marketers.

I love working with these dedicated people. I always ask them if they think they work with money or people.

How they answer the question is a peek into the soul of their business. Important stuff . . .

There is no “right” answer.

I try not to judge, although I know I do at the non-conscious level. I, like you, have personal biases.

Here are some of my very unscientific observations from asking this loaded question a few thousands times.

Yes, I agree, these look like stereotypes, but I think they help the discussion about successful people.

Money People

  • Thinking brain
  • Asset-based
  • Product-focused
  • Features and benefits
  • Data-driven
  • One-size-fits-all
  • “Left brain”

People People

  • Feeling brain
  • Behavioral-based
  • Values-focused
  • Concepts and constructs
  • Knowledge-driven
  • One-size-fits-one
  • “Right brain”

Before you go nuts over these lists, I know very successful “money people” and very successful “people people.”

Likewise, I know “money people” and “people people” who should have made it, but didn’t.

The question is why?

For what it’s worth (again, my observations from my work and research).

People Who Are Successful Are:

  1. Capable
  2. Competent
  3. Trustworthy
  4. Honest
  5. Ethical
  6. Empathetic
  7. Client-focused
  8. Consciously and unconsciously connected with their client’s values
  9. Know themselves (the good, bad, and the ugly)
  10. Adaptable to the realities and dynamics of their industry
  11. Continually growing professionally and personally
  12. Engaged emotionally with people and activities outside their profession
  13. Able and willing to laugh
  14. Always moving toward a “noble” personal goal
  15. Comfortable with who they are – they have an effective “personal” style that works for them within their organization its unique culture.

People Who Are Less Successful Are:

  1. Not capable – a bad hire
  2. Not competent – poor skills and knowledge
  3. Not motivated – not aligned with the organization’s motivational system
  4. Lacking in trust – on three levels: 1) questions about technical skills and knowledge, 2) questions about character and ethics, and 3) questions about emotional skills and empathy
  5. In poorly designed work environments – tools, processes, feedback, and motivation
  6. Given poorly defined performance standards – ambiguous goals and expectations along with bad metrics
  7. Focused on themselves
  8. Not aware of, or are ignoring, their client’s values
  9. In denial about their effectiveness
  10. Unwilling to adapt
  11. Without an emotional release outside work
  12. Prone to take themselves and others too seriously
  13. Without big goals
  14. A poor fit for their organization or the culture of their office
  15. Living in the past or with past success that is no longer relevant

I don’t want to be melodramatic here; this is just a list of what I’ve observed over the years.

Here’s My Advise. Know Yourself, Know Your People, and Know Your Clients – Then Do No Harm. Remember, Your “Job” Is To Identify Problems, Find Solutions, and Build Relationships. The Money Will Follow. Successful people know:

Humans are emotional. We interact with our feeling brains – quickly, continually, and unconsciously. If you hope to work with people at the highest level, you must learn to build emotional relationships – that’s what humans do.

About the Author

Ted McLyman is the Director of Behavioral Finance, DreamSmart Academy, Founder of Apexx Behavioral Financial Group, and Lt Col United States Marine Corps (Ret). He is also an award-winning and bestselling author. Ted's latest book is "Discover Your Money Temperament, A Common-Sense Guide to Financial Security." Learn more about Ted at

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}