The power of aggressive moves in business and life

My wife and I have been discussing–for quite some time – the importance of personal traits for success in the game of business, as well as in the business of life. We’re convinced that being both curious and humble are important traits for being successful. What we’ve realized, in fact, is that more important than the actual traits you have is knowing what they are. The Reiss Profile and the Entrepreneurial StrengthsFinder might be good starting points to understand yourself better.

A seldom discussed, but very often overseen trait that is controversial is being aggressive. Aggression clearly has a negative connotation to a lot of people and therefore is hardly used in CVs or portraits of successful leaders. Very often other more acceptable words are used to describe aggressive behavior. We talk about bold moves and visionary leaders, but, typically, pushing through visionary ideas or crafting winning companies needs a level of aggressive behaviour.

I recently heard an interview with Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park talking about a lack of aggressive rock music, and how he and his band consciously produced a more aggressive album, despite the expectation of them becoming even more pop sounding. Being a Linkin Park fan boy, I’m clearly not objective, and true metal fans will still see Linkin Park as pop music, but I personally see some similarities with business.

The common rhetoric avoids the term aggressive, and people who talk about their aggression –like Oliver Samwer –are being punished. But looking behind the scenes, aggressive moves are often the basis for great things to come. This is not only the case in business or music. How more aggressive can you be than to publicly ask billionaires to join the giving pledge and to commit themselves to give away half of their money? Bill Gates did this and he was very successful. While others were hosting charity events to gather a few millions, he decided to confront all billionaires of the world with the inconvenient truth that they have far more than they need and that there are far too many people living in poverty.

More metal, less lukewarm. You might consider this.

This might be an aggressive move.

photo credit: sidknee23 cc