In his seminal book Rich Dad, Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki explains the importance of growing your asset base whilst shrinking your liabilities. The middle-class convention, he says, is to burden ourselves with liabilities which deplete our income and leave us little left at the end of each month. A house with a mortgage is not an asset, as some of us might think: anything which drains our salary, regardless of what it is attached to, is a liability.
So what are assets, and how can we grow them? Kiyosaki says that there are three main forms of asset that we can look to growing: property, share equity, and IP. We can invest in a portfolio of physical assets that pay us rent; we can grow a share portfolio that pays us a dividend and (hopefully) grows in value; and we can create intellectual products that can, in time, create wealth for us.
The explosion of the internet in the last 20 years and the ubiquity of idea-sharing channels has created a never-seen-before opportunity for thought leaders to share their ideas with the rest of the world. The very fact that I can write this and post it on WordPress and LinkedIn is one clear example of how we can get the things in our heads out there for others to read and learn from. And whilst they might not pay us anything in the short term, sharing our perspectives and experience, asking for comment and debate, and promoting our developing ideas on leadership can only help to grow our personal brand and open future doors for us.
There are so many ways in which we can produce content that can be enjoyed, and in time paid for, by others. Blogs, screencasts, webinars, Kindle books, even Twitter ‘thoughts of the day’: there is a platform for all of us.
So my question to leaders at all levels is this: are you a consumer or a producer? Do you give back as much as you receive? If not, perhaps it’s time you joined the debate!