Top-Shelf Tip No. 151:

"Building a business is knowing how to do something, being proud and creating something that will make a real difference in other people's lives."

Sir Richard Branson

Are You Ready To Build Something?

In a recent job interview I was asked what I like to do. My response was, "I like to build things." By that, I meant that I like to build programs, value messaging and resources. Apparently, I'm not alone.

In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we're re-sharing an excerpt from Born to Build by Jim Clifton, chairman and CEO of Gallup, and Sangeeta Badal, that appeared on

Well-meaning and important global institutions, scientists, academics and politicians have never fully understood the rare gift of the ability to build something-a God-given natural talent that many are born with-that, to some degree, you yourself possess.

Some refer to this gift as "entrepreneurship," which it is, in part. But this human phenomenon is better characterized as "building." Entrepreneurship has taken on many definitions, and it's often confused with innovation. We need a lot of innovation, but building is a very distinct, separate phenomenon.

An innovation has no value until an ambitious builder creates a business model around it and turns it into a product or service that customers will buy. An innovator is first and foremost a creator, an inventor, and a problem solver with a deep passion for improving something. Innovators are thinkers. A builder is different from an innovator. A builder creates economic energy where none previously existed.

For example, there was never an inherent demand for cars, flight, TV, video, indoor plumbing, electricity, the internet, Starbucks or Amazon - somebody had to take a good idea and build it into something big.

Is it time for you to think about building something?

Economists and well-meaning thinkers often look at a weak or declining economy and conclude, "We have a declining economy because demand is weak or because there is no demand at all." A more insightful observation is, "There is no demand because there aren't enough builders who create demand." Without builders, there is no demand or growth and hence, there are no good jobs.

Is it time for you to think about building something? All societies need diverse organizations of all sizes continuously starting up and booming, or they can't develop. You can do this.

You could become an "intrapreneur" too.

Intrapreneurs are people who build startups inside established organizations-those who are given hard assignments to start new ventures inside an institution. Established organizations like Gallup will assign someone to "go start a new division that will sell millions of books" or "start a new analytics division" or "start a new center that specifically serves colleges and universities" or "go open a new office in Dubai or Seoul." These jobs require builders.

Building is a high-degree-of-difficulty task, but natural builders want the impossible assignment. They actually prefer the messiness, the problems, the barriers, the absence of supervision, the improvisation and the rush of a new customer breakthrough.

Are you a builder?

Every institution in the world—even nonprofits, schools and churches—has customers. Builders are born with a gift to know how to create demand from those customers—market disruptions that offer a better way to live.

Gallup has found that there are three key players in the development of any organization, whether it's a new enterprise, a new division within a company or a nonprofit. We call them the "three alphas": the alpha Rainmaker, the alpha Conductor and the alpha Expert. When this combination exists in an organization or on a team, the likelihood of success grows exponentially.

An alpha Rainmaker has unusual drive and persistence, or rare grit. Obstacles and failure actually increase a Rainmaker's determination. An enterprise virtually never works without this player.

An alpha Conductor has management ability. This is the operations person or manager who knows how to get all players on the team-or in the "orchestra"—to work together seamlessly. This person holds the whole organization together.

An alpha Expert provides differentiating expertise to the core product or service. Whether it is an analytic services startup's brilliant statistician, a new restaurant's star chef or a software firm's best programmer, virtually every successful startup has an alpha expert who highly distinguishes it from the crowd.

Are you ready to build? Read Born to Build and start your path to building your future and legacy.

Source: Born to Build: How to Build a Thriving Startup, A Winning Team, New Customers and Get Your Best Life Imaginable was written by Jim Clifton and Sangeeta Badal. Clifton is the chairman and CEO of Gallup and author The Coming Jobs War. He is also the creator of The Gallup Path, a metric-based economic model that links the behaviors of employees and customers to business outcomes. Clifton is chairman of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund and a Distinguished Visiting Professor at UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke University. Compiled by Cassandra Johnson

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