Billionaire brain power: Think like the wealthiest to become your best

Billionaire brain power: Think like the wealthiest to become your best

/ 02:02 AM February 12, 2024

Board Talk


Over the years, I’ve worked closely with self-made billionaire business owners, including some famous ones you read about in the news. All of them have one thing in common: they think differently.

Here, I talk about the founders who made the fortune—not the ones who inherited it. Regardless of whether you are the first generation, the billionaire mindset will empower you to think differently, act differently, seize more opportunities and create incredible wealth and success for you and your business.


All the points below are based on my interaction with ultra-high-net-worth clients and dollar billionaires. I have distilled their thinking into three steps you can easily follow and copy.


1. Think long-term.

When I worked with the founder of one of the world’s largest fast-food conglomerates, I quickly found out he had a 50-year vision for his company, reaching far into the future. When someone asked him, “You know you probably won’t live that long?” He replied, “Oh yes, of course. That is for my children. “

That long-term thinking combined with having a clear vision for the next generation avoids falling into the trap of profit short-sightedness that so many CEOs fall prey to. It also avoids a lot of stupid decisions.

Another example from our global client base is a self-made billionaire of a retail and home improvement conglomerate. When he invited me to their company anniversary celebration, I asked him, “What vision did you have in mind when you started with a single store way back then?” He replied, “I always envisioned it to become big and always asked myself: How can we make this as big as possible?”

Billionaires are distinguished by their ability to envision the future and strategically plan for the long term. Jeff Bezos, for instance, invested in building the infrastructure for Amazon during the late 1990s, focusing on long-term growth over immediate profits. This vision and patience have been central to Amazon becoming a global powerhouse.

Practical steps:

Develop a clear, compelling vision for your business that goes beyond short-term gains.

Embrace strategic planning and invest resources in areas that promise long-term growth, even if it means preceding immediate profits.


2. Keep things simple—The billionaire’s approach to complexity.

This valuable trait is everywhere with billionaire founders, from Richard Branson to Bezos. Most billionaire founders my team and I interact with keep telling me, “I like to keep things simple!” And they are right.

In our daily practice advising business owners and Fortune 500 companies worldwide, we repeatedly see how much overcomplicating processes, decision-making, organizational structures and meetings waste time, energy and profits.

One less heralded but equally critical aspect of the billionaire mindset is a penchant for simplicity amid complexity. Billionaires often deal with intricate challenges and decisions daily, yet their ability to distill complexity into simplicity is a hallmark of their effectiveness and success.

The power of simplicity

Simplicity in the billionaire mindset is not about underestimating complexity but more about finding the most straightforward path to achieve objectives. This approach is evident in product design, business models, decision-making and leadership. Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple, championed simplicity in every aspect of the company, from the sleek design of Apple products to the clear and intuitive user interface. This focus on simplicity made Apple’s products immensely popular and revolutionized several technology sectors.

Practical examples of simplicity

  • Warren Buffett’s investment strategy: Buffett is known for his straightforward investment philosophy —invest in companies with understandable business models, strong leadership and a competitive advantage. This simplicity enables him to make quick, confident decisions even in a field as complex as investment.
  • Google’s homepage: Despite being the gateway to the internet’s complexity, Google’s homepage remains remarkably simple, mainly featuring just a search bar. This design reflects the company’s commitment to making information accessible and useful.
  • Amazon’s customer focus: Bezos attributes much of Amazon’s success to its obsession with customer service, a simple but powerful principle that guides the company’s decisions and innovations.

Implementing simplicity in your business

• Focus on core products and services: Identify what your company does best and focus on refining and perfecting it. Simplifying your offerings can help improve quality and customer satisfaction. For example, Apple focuses on a limited range of products, ensuring each one meets its high design and functionality standards.

• Streamline processes and decision-making: Simplify your business processes and decision-making structures. This could mean reducing unnecessary steps in your workflow or adopting a flatter organizational structure to speed up decision-making and improve agility.

• Communicating clearly and precisely is critical, whether internally with your team or externally with customers. Simplifying your message helps ensure that it’s understood and acted upon effectively.

• Leverage technology to simplify: Use technology to automate and simplify complex processes. Automating routine tasks can free you and your team time to focus on more strategic initiatives.

• Simplify your goals and metrics: Focus on a few key performance indicators (KPIs) that truly reflect the health and success of your business. This focus can help you avoid data overload and ensure that your team is aligned on what matters most.

• Embrace minimalism in product design and user experience: Like Apple, focusing on simplicity in design can make your products more appealing and easier to use, leading to higher customer satisfaction and loyalty.

3. Have fun

It’s so often overlooked, yet so powerful as a business tool—fun! Billionaire entrepreneurs include as much fun as possible in their daily routines, on and off work. Why? Because you get so much more done that way, and—the obvious—you are a lot happier that way. The Google founders know that, so they built the Google campuses to be one giant mashup between work and fun, work and play, collaborating and socializing.

Having fun at and outside work is a long-forgotten art in today’s business world. So take baby steps to bring “fun” back to yourself and your teams as a turbocharger of productivity.

Does that mean we ask you to ignore challenges? Of course not. But even a fighter jet needs to refuel. Fun is that fuel for you. Include little islands of fun into your daily routines, and it will do wonders for your productivity and the productivity of your teams. INQ

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Tom Oliver, a “global management guru” (Bloomberg), is the chair of The Tom Oliver Group, the trusted advisor and counselor to many of the world’s most influential family businesses, medium-sized enterprises, market leaders and global conglomerates. For more information and inquiries: or email [email protected].


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