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How to Think Like Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett doesn't care how well a potential business partner did in school. He looks for these three qualities.

When deciding whether he wishes to do business with someone (which usually involves buying that person's company), Warren Buffett says that he looks for three things:

Does the entrepreneur have vitality, health, and a bias for action? Building businesses takes tremendous stamina and success isn't achieved without it.

He's not talk about chess intelligence and certainly not an individual's grade point average. What matters to Buffett in building businesses is adaptive intelligence: the ability to scan the horizon, pick up signals, and adapt accordingly.

No one wants to work with people who are not trustworthy. But how can you tell who has integrity and who doesn't? Simple: It's whether you say "No" to most things.

I love Buffett's definition of integrity because it applies to everyone in any circumstance. If you have integrity, it means you will say "No" to dodgy deals, bad behavior, and exploitative partners. If you can't say "No," if you are a congenital pleaser, then you have no integrity at all. You'll say yes to anything, even if the second answer blatantly contradicts the first.

In business, staying focused requires that you turn most opportunities down. Having a strategy requires that you are as clear about what you don't do as you are about what you do do.

What will you say "No" to today?

IMAGE: Getty
Last updated: Aug 2, 2013


Margaret Heffernan is an entrepreneur and author. She has been chief executive of InfoMation Corporation, ZineZone Corporation, and iCAST Corporation. In 2014, she published her fourth book, A Bigger Prize: How We Can Do Better Than the Competition.

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