Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Book review: Momentum - how to build it, keep it or get it back

This is a big concept book by Michael Mcqueen. It brought me through the equation of Momentum with brilliant explanations on each part of the formula and a number of case studies on famous companies like Sony, Lego, Facebook and Kodak. You will find the equation at the end of this blog post - after snippets of wisdom which I have lifted from the book (they are in italic, whereas my inputs are in non-italic).

The momentum concept covered is not just for individuals (who are turning into couch potato or in status quo like myself), it is also useful for leaders who are looking to veer their sluggish companies in new directions (turnaround).


Getting into momentum...

You can't steer a parked car. When a car is stationary, you can turn the steering wheel as much as you like but it will have no effect/ However, when a car is in motion, even if it is going slowly or even in the completely wrong direction, you can always steer.

While it is great to be inspired, don't make inspiration a prerequisite for getting started.

Clear enough, the gist is - get your arse moving!
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Vision - why we need it...

I would encourage you to reflect on what it is that helps you to refocus on a vision for the future. Discover those activities that keep you forward-looking, inspired and passionate - rather than merely productive.

My takeaway is vision helps us to keep our eyes on the goal. Why would we waste energy on purposely activity?

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"Never confuse action with activity." Benjamin Franklin


Put things into perspective when we embark to do something...

"When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change." - Dr Wayne Dyer

Before setting about a course of action, ensure that there is alignment between what you are looking to do and your core values. Innovation without integrity leads to chaos.

My takeaway is -
Work towards your vision and work alongside your core values.


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Focus and saying no are important to achieve what we desire...

Many of us have a well-developed messiah complex where we unconsciously believe that things will fall apart if we are not involved. Added to this, we must be wary of the fact that it can feel good to be busy - even when this busyness robs us of effectiveness.

By setting clear boundaries around how you invest your time, others will begin to value your time and input more.


"If you chase two rabbits, you will catch neither one."

"Always do one things less than you think you can."


The author also talked about this concept on Pruning (like pruning the plants) when he finished talking about the importance of focus...

Pruning serves to confer vitality, strategy and symmetry to an organisation.

You can read the book for more details about what each of those means.

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Diversification or Diworsification?

History is replete with misguided initiatives that failed the 'sensible test' - an assessment of whether something is the right course of action, at the right time, in the right way.

"Entering markets where a company lacks skill or expertise is a key factor in as many as 75 per cent of business failures."

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Consistency

Why consistency is so difficult to maintain - we overestimate the impact of our decisions in the short term but grossly underestimate their impact in the long term.

We need to persevere and not simply give up after a short try. If we stay consistent in our activity, we will gradually achieve momentum.

Not forgetting that we got to keep ourselves motivated along the way...

Tangibly celebrating even insignificant progress can be incredibly motivating.

No matter how successful you are or how high you have risen, you will inevitably lose speed and altitude unless you take deliberate steps to counteract the forces of gravity and entropy.

Remember...  Law of inertia - it takes far less energy to keep doing something once you've started.



And ultimately aim for autopilot.

"All our life is but a mass of small habits." - William James

In the case of quitting smoking, studies found that people who don't smoke in the first week after they have decided to quit are nine times more likely to follow through and able to actually stop smoking permanently. Never underestimate the power of getting momentum early in the process.

When you have successfully made what you set out to do a habitual thing, it will be much easier, as though on autopilot.


And there you go, the magic equation:

Momentum = (Activity + Focus) Consistency


To apply the concept of momentum in investing, it is the same. You need to be clear and focus in your execution, sticking to your investing principles and be consistent.

If your plan is to start investing, do it. Go pick up a book on stock investing, open a brokerage account, find a stock that meets your criteria. If you are already into investing and your plan is to review and re-balance your portfolio every quarterly, do it.

Am I right to say the only way to invest with no momentum is Buy-and-Hold?

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