Comparative Advantage for Human Behavior

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Want added value in your life? Who doesn’t? Are you wealthy? Not enough.  We all share the same answers on these issues regardless of socio-economic status – Why? Because wealth is not only about producing more tangible goods and earning more profit.  Let me explain: I have a solution that will shock your system and motivate you to act on your potential after you finish reading this article.  These following statements apply to everyone because this is a universal economic principle that is always true, and it is my belief that this applies to human behavior as well.

What is Comparative Advantage?

Long story, but here is the short version: Two people (Jack & Jill) produce two types of tangible goods (rice & juice) at a high-level, but each person manufactures their specialty better than the other.  So, they each focus on their strength and produce only their specialty product at a high level.  The magic wealth builder is in the trade – They both become wealthier by trading, rather than, producing their own two tangible goods individually.  The same work input with more output – Comparative Advantage.

That is the economic perspective – Let’s look at the human behavior element – This is why were reading this anyway, right?  The current strengths-based movement is backed by decades of research and shows that a focus on a personal strength is more productive for the individual (King of Specialty), when compared to an individual focusing on balance (Jack of all trades).

Impact on Intellectual Wealth

Let’s take these two ideas a step further and combine these concepts (Comparative Advantage & Strengths-Based Leadership) – Now we have two individuals (Jack & Jill) working solely on their strongest intellectual strength which as an example could be writing and marketing, respectively. Both individuals (Jack & Jill) should not dually focus on their writing and marketing separately from one another since this would essentially slow both processes down because of the existing compared inefficiency in one of the areas. The solution to the human behavior development of wealth is in the trade of intellectual property.  The key to intellectual wealth in this example lies in their ability to share the overall task by concentrating on their existing strength and then combining their abilities to produce extraordinary work.  One person (Jack) writes a perfect book and the other person (Jill), markets the intellectual property – They then both become millionaires, and get to live happily ever after.

Comparative Advantage and Teams

This synergy of strengths exists today in teams, but are weakly developed (i.e. Selection & Development problem), which produces lackluster results (at best).  An accurate evaluation of strengths and abilities needs to be implemented before developing groups of teams to complete projects.  This pre-planning stage will increase the work output of the team, provide happiness and fulfillment to each individual involved, and make the leader look like a genius.  How about that for a happy organizational ending?

Impact on the Knowledge Economy

We are in the knowledge economy and these types of laws and devices (comparative advantage for human behavior and strengths-based leadership) that leverage human intelligence is optimal for improving the standard of living around the world.  We all know the hierarchical pyramid exists, but each individual is special, and has abilities that can contribute at large.  The key to success is to identify and exploit the existing strength for the individual’s enhancement and for additional contribution to society at large.  These discoveries, though difficult to achieve, will serve humanity in dividends for generations to come.  We have 7 billion people but still cannot re-create what the Egyptians did five thousand years ago – I was thoroughly surprised when I heard that true statement.  There are ways to measure your innate strength and to understand what you do effortlessly.  Discover, apply, and trade with a friend for greater wealth – Leverage your strengths.  Obviously, this is what I do so if you would like to learn more – visit:

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Keith Miller

Keith Lawrence Miller, Organizational Psychologist, Board Certified Coach (BCC), Professional Credentialed Coach (PCC), with subject matter expertise in executive career & leadership coaching and management consulting supported by a Master of Arts (M.A.) in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University.

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