Scott Lask on Transformative Decisions in Business and Life
Scott Lask Owner & Chief Plan Designer, Scott Lask Wealth Management.
Can you start by telling us a bit about yourself and your journey as a leader in your industry?
First and foremost, I am a family man. Family is the most important thing to me. After college I worked in textile brokerage and going to Wall Street just made sense. Unlimitied opportunities to grow in so many respects. As my career evolved, I became a student of Risk Management, and it truly shaped my whole approach to building a financial life for myself and my clients. I saw that looking beyond the traditional investment approach actually could grow your wealth with less risk and stress. When I have free time, I love playing guitar and I am a die-hard Led Zeppelin fan! Love the music and love playing those riffs! As my practice grew, I found a way to use my guitar skills to help deliver my message to folks.
What specific experiences or decisions in your journey do you believe have shaped your approach to business and leadership?
Living through the great inflation, recession, stagflation in the 1970s. The smartest people I knew at the time would say to me; "son, pay attention to the economy and how it plays out now. Remember it because you're going to see this movie!" So, I kept my eyes open, and I started studying economic history and all the various cycles that seemed to always repeat itself. What it showed me was how to navigate different scenarios and keep a positive focus. I always responded best to leaders who inspired me and led from the front. And that is what I strive to do to the best of my ability.
Can you share a story of a pivotal moment in your career that led to a significant transformation in your business or personal life?
31 years ago, I pivoted into emerging biotech companies. It failed magnificently and I had to start over almost from scratch. But it is the lessons that experience gave me that has been the key to my success. It shaped my die-hard commitment to manage risk on every possible level which has made wealth growth less stressful. And this shaped my values and beliefs about being a leader. So, as I started to build a new practice my quest was to take these painful lessons and use them to help people, build and secure their financial lives. And it has been a wonderful journey!
What factors did you consider when making that critical decision, and how did you weigh the potential risks and rewards?
First, many folks have had similar experiences as I did. Matter of fact, most of the successful people I know have failed spectacularly at some point in their life. So, I believed that shared experience would let clients feel that I understood and embrace our solution sets with confidence. I honestly didn't see a lot of risk in our core wealth concept other than the first year or two cashflow was being rebuilt. I knew the rewards of building solid plans for families that centered on their legacy would be wonderful on every imaginable level.
What challenges did you face during this transformative period, and how did you overcome them?
Primarily competing in a crowded market. There are a lot of financial advisors in America. How do you set yourself apart from the competition? The solution for us was to tell my story in everyday, kitchen table English. That is why I wrote my book: Let's Win. Let Wall Street Work for You! And then demonstrate & educate people about the solutions that are critically needed to protect your financial life and are too often overlooked. Believe me when I tell you, when you take care of all the things that can wrong, you take a lot stress out of your life and avoid putting undue strain on your money.
Looking back, what advice would you give to your younger self at that time, or to entrepreneurs and business leaders who might find themselves in a similar situation?
If you are going to take a path that is uncertain and has a lot of risk, make sure you have a fallback reserve of cash so you can stay liquid and pay for your life. Surround yourself with people who are smart, really smart. And build a powerful network of resources.
How has that pivotal moment influenced the way you make decisions today, and what lasting impact has it had on your business?
It has made me very humble and grateful. I have so much in my life and my clients are the greatest people.
In your opinion, how important is it for entrepreneurs and business leaders to have these transformative moments, and how can they best prepare for and learn from them?
Absolutely important... it is all about growing. We are always managing risks versus rewards, team building and executing a plan in highly fluid situations. In a very real sense you are a battle field commander. To lead effectively, people have to believe in you and trust you. They have to feel appreciated and motivated. They have be invested in their role. Every day is an opportunity to learn, inspire and thrive.