Monday, September 8, 2014

Are you a Warren Buffett or a Charlie Munger?

I am always fascinated by the people behind the scenes -- those standing in the shadows in many ways, yet playing such vital roles that oftentimes goes unnoticed. There are hundreds of books sharing the story of Walt Disney, yet one of my favorites is one on his brother Roy. Without Roy, there would never had been a Walt.

More recently is the relationship of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak. Could Apple have become what it is without Steve Jobs - of course not. However, the other Steve was just as critical yet one never saw him standing on the stage making the grand announcements.

And, Warren Buffett. Or, more correctly Charlie Munger. Most everyone inside and outside of the investment world has heard the name of Warren Buffett. The books on his investing strategies are numerous and even his annual reports are read by thousands upon thousands. Yet few, if any outside of the investment world, know of his right-hand man, Charlie Munger. You may find him on CNBC on occasion but you will rarely see him in the limelight for long.

Could Warren Buffett, who many call the smartest investor ever, had achieved this level of success without Charlie Munger? One will never know for sure, but the 50+-year relationship between the two men has produced quite a story.

If the role you play aligns with Warren, Steve Jobs, and Walt, then do you have a Charlie Munger at your side? One that is willing to tell you when you are doing something wrong. Or, are you playing the role of Charlie Munger? If you are, then embrace it and see what can be built. The world needs the Charlies, Roys and Wozniaks as much as it does the Warren Buffetts.

For more on this, I encourage you to read Diana McLain Smith's book: The Elephant in the Room - How Relationships Make or Break the Success of Leaders and Organizations.

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