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Common traits of successful corporate executives and the millionaire next door

By Thomas J. Stanley on Jan 14th, 2014 in Current Events

There are two forms of human intelligence.  One is cognitive intelligence [IQ] which I believe is highly correlated with SAT results, etc.  But as reported in The Millionaire Mind,

Cognitive ability [IQ] tests have been notoriously poor predictors of leadership performance. . . .  Relations between intelligence and leadership and managerial performance . . . accounting for less than 10 percent of the variance . . . .

Creative intellect is the other form.  Part of this component is vision.   Most great leaders, like Rex Tillerson profiled below, possess extraordinary vision.  They can look into the future and see opportunities that most others do not. 

Rex W. Tillerson, chairman and CEO of ExxonMobile, should be congratulated for winning the prestigious CEO Coach of the Year Award presented by the American Football Coaches’ Foundation.  The award is given each year to a CEO who, according to the description, “distinguished himself for outstanding achievements in corporate and community leadership, high ethical standards, successful growth of their corporate team and a commitment to diversity in all areas of their business.”

Mr. Tillerson demonstrated great vision even during the earliest stages of his career.  According to a recent Fortune article, as a young engineer in 1976 he took a job that required him to work in the gritty oil fields of east Texas instead of a desk job in a lovely suburban engineering office.  He was given the task of experimenting with a process known more commonly today as hydraulic fracking.  This process allows both petroleum and natural gas to be released from underground deposits.  He worked in the oil fields from dawn to dusk and then at night he conducted computer analysis on the day’s data.  This was anything but a “cushy job.”  

Of course today fracking is one of the hottest industries around.  But unless you had vision to realize the potential of the process, you might not be willing to forego the suit and tie environment for the Carhartt overall look.  You may find it interesting that Mr. Tillerson shares many of the economic success factors with those millionaires profiled in The Millionaire Next Door.  For example, Factor 6 states that “they are proficient in targeting market opportunities.”  Factor 7 is “they chose the right occupation.”

Also noteworthy is the fact that in Stop Acting Rich I asked  “. . . in terms of transforming income into wealth. . . what occupational group is the most productive . . . in America?  The answer is mining/geological engineers. 

One response to “Common traits of successful corporate executives and the millionaire next door”

  1. Kelley says:

    Thank you for this article, Mr. Stanley . While I agree this is a great example of vision, cracking is a horribly destructive process that can lead to potentially irreparable damage to our land. Where is the value in abandoning financially lucrative opportunities in favor of preserving the earth on which we live?

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