SUCCESS Book Club Ch. 3: People-Centeredness

SUCCESS Book Club Selection: Win: The Key Principles to Take Your Business from Ordinary to Extraordinary by Frank I. Luntz. SUCCESS editors and staff will read and dissect a chapter and offer key points and discussion questions. Just joining us? Read notes from Chapter One and Chapter Two.

Are you a people-centered person? If you answered yes, think again.

It’s not the same thing as being a people person. Being people-centered means you know what makes people tick. People-centered leaders and businesses “know what to look for and they know which questions to ask in order to unleash an unknown—and thus unrealized, pent-up demand.” That’s a powerful skill for an entrepreneur to have.

The People-Centered Quiz

To determine if you are people-centered, ask yourself these questions.

  • Do you look others right in the eyes?
  • Do you repeatedly ask why?
  • Do you analyze what you can gain from each interaction?
  • Do you actively look to improve products, results or situations?
  • Do you apply your experiences?

If you answered 4 of 5 with “yes,” you exhibit the essential attributes of a people-centered person.

Examples of people-centered people include Bill Clinton, Steve Jobs, Sheryl Sandberg (Facebook COO), George W. Bush, President Barack Obama and even fictional characters like Miranda Priestly (The Devil Wears Prada).

Just because you are people-centered doesn’t mean you are “nice” or easy to work with. Miranda Priestly, the fictional magazine editor from hell, is a perfect example. She knows what drives people and can peg your biggest motivators from a mile away. But she doesn’t make for good lunch company. Being nice or easy to work with helps but it’s not a requirement to being a people-centered winner.

4 Tips for Becoming People-Centered

1. Employ imagery, metaphors and stories (makes others explore your vision on your terms).

2. Listen and learn—engage strangers in conversations; expand your reading and watching zone to go beyond your comfort zone.

  • Ask questions—it’s all about asking the right people the right questions at the right time.
  • Remember listening is about them not you.
  • Quality questions create a quality life. “Successful people ask better questions, and as a result, they get better answers.” —Tony Robbins

3. Ask yourself these essential questions:

  • Am I asking the right questions?
  • Am I truly listening to the answers?
  • Am I acting on what I learn?
  • What more can I do to really understand those I wish to influence?
  • What more can I do to ensure that others understand me?
  • How can I get my people to be more engaged in what I’m doing?
  • How can I make my people feel more invested in our mutual success?
  • Is this truly a journey/mission/task worth undertaking?
  • When (not if) we succeed, will it really be worth it?

4. Use these words that work for a people-centered listener:

  • I’m listening.
  • I hear you.
  • I get it.
  • I respect you.
  • I’m committed.
  • You’re in control.
  • You decide.

Chapter read and annotated by Mariana Lenox, SUCCESS Digital Asset Manager.

Discussion Points

  1. Learning what makes people tick isn’t easy. It takes time and practice. For those SUCCESS readers who feel they’re good at reading people, share your strategies for evaluation.
  2. What trait do you already possess that you could develop further, in order to become more people-centered?
  3. What do you think are the potential downfalls to being people-centered?

REPLY below with your answers to one of these three questions. Let’s start the discussion.


Journalist, podcaster and southpaw Shelby Skrhak is the former director of digital content and social media for Before joining SUCCESS magazine, Shelby launched the weekly suburban newspaper Plano Insider, and covered topics ranging from cops and courts to transportation and fashion. Her handwriting should be a font.

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