The Screen Tests – Part I


“Regardless of the numbers, I never work with anyone
I don’t like, trust, and respect.”

Warren Buffett

The Screen Tests described in the next three posts illustrate an easy way to help you identify the best people and opportunities for you. The beautiful thing is that the insights you come up with will be unique to you and will lead you to the people you want to work with and to your best opportunities.

The Buffett Test
When I first read Warren Buffett’s quotation above, I realized that I had been putting up with a lot of baloney for a long time in order to make money. And yes, sometimes we have to. But you can choose to work mainly with people you enjoy and introduce them to others they will enjoy meeting as well. The Buffett test, as I began to call it, became my filter for screening out relationships that were not a good fit for me. Shifting my time and enthusiasm towards people I like, trust, and respect is exponentially more rewarding and valuable to me and to everyone with whom I work. It is one of my core business practices and a great stress-reducer.

You know, Warren Buffett didn’t make this up in some ivory tower while eating bon bons and watching I Love Lucy reruns. He provides immense value, leadership, and inspiration to millions of people around the world. And he is one of the most charitable men in history. I imagine that he gradually realized that life was easier and more fun when he chose to work solely with people he liked, trusted, and respected. And if it’s good enough for Warren, it’s good enough for me.

I have discussed this test with many of my clients and friends, and they all love it. I’ve asked them never to introduce me to anyone they don’t like, trust, and respect, because if they don’t like, trust, and respect them, I won’t either.

It took a little courage to say that the first time. But people respond positively to it for several reasons. First, they take it as a compliment, because it’s obvious that I like, trust, and respect them. I wouldn’t be working with them otherwise and they in turn work with me for the same reasons. It gives us a common language and standard to operate from.

From time to time, I hear one of my partners say, “This guy doesn’t pass the Buffett test.” As a result, we have turned away some very wealthy prospects. Though we do have one or two clients that can be challenging on occasion, this has made a marked difference in our enjoyment of our work on a daily basis. Now we apply the Buffett test to every relationship and opportunity we have. Working with people you genuinely enjoy will have a big impact on your success in business and overall happiness.

So what do you say, are you willing to give Warren Buffett’s method a try?

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