Seven Secrets to Success
Hard work and sincerity are a beginning.
#1. Offer solutions, but always begin with problems.
Every time you say, “It’s not that bad,” you minimize the value of any solutions you find. Never minimize the pain and frustration of others, even when it seems small to you.
The bigger the pain, the more important the solution.
#2. Forget perfection.
Don’t talk yourself out of imperfect solutions unless you have better ones. I’ve talked myself out of taking action only to end up doing nothing. Worse yet, I’ve let others talk me out of taking imperfect action, even though they didn’t offer anything better.
Talk yourself into, not out of, taking action.
- Will it help?
- Will it harm?
- What happens if we do nothing?
The present coagulates around you every time you talk yourself out of taking action.
#3. Learn while you take action.
Don’t talk about it unless you plan to do something about it.
Welcome those who point out problems. They aren’t the enemy. The enemy is talk without action.
#4. Focus on getting people in the right roles.
Successful leaders understand and leverage the talents, skills, and drives of team members.
Provide leadership and personality assessments. Watch what gets them jazzed.
The trouble with just getting things done is people get lost along the way.
#5. Build energizing environments.
The most important thing about us is the way we treat each other while we do the work.
Spend more time affirming than correcting. Identify simple behaviors that energize. Talk about wins, for example.
#6. Embrace forward facing contrarians.
Conformists don’t build the future, but forward facing contrarians pull you forward. Protect them from the frustrations of others, as much as possible.
#7. Results don’t define you.
The path to great results is more important than results themselves. Honor behaviors that get you there.
Which secret to success do you find most/least useful?
What secret to success can you offer?
As usual, good stuff and on point. I will reframe this a little and focus on teamwork, with references, backlinks and full credits in a post on my people and performance blog: http://wp.me/p1z3Sv-18r. As usual, thanks for an excellent framework.
And wouldn’t it be great if we could move from all the talk into changing some of the walk of our managers out there? Step by step, I guess, with the first one being the simple awareness that people can choose differently (if they want to).
Thanks Scott. “People can choose differently (if they want to).” KaChing!
As I write this blog post, your points make so much simple sense. I was going to publish Monday but I think I will post it within the hour. It is so easy to build on those ideas of your so thanks, as usual. As I write, I am reminded that. “A desk is a dangerous place from which to view the world.” I am hoping that John LeCarre’s qupte is not referring as much to MY desk as much as the desks of the managers. And I wonder how many workers are being led by mediocre managers in the world today…
On Ken’s mention of #6, I am also working up ideas around the real benefits of appointing a person to play the role of Devil’s Advocate, to be in a defined position of being your contrarian and someone whose role is to challenge ideas. So many disasters could have been prevented if someone was challenging corporate thinking (referencing the GM Shrug among so many other examples).
Have fun out there!
Like #7: Ways to great results are sustainable, whereas great results are more punctual.
Love #6 and I don’t see it often enough.. Contrarians cut new paths and often embrace their own quirks in positive (rather than paranoid) ways.
They love leaders and can be troublesome to managers…
Thanks Ken. I think one of the dumbest things we do is silence forward-facing contrarians. I’ve had teams with contrarians and teams without…I’ll take WITH even though they are harder to manage.
Number 4 resonates with me currently, because I work with many human resources managers. Sometimes they get so busy just replacing a job with any person who has skills and background to match a written job description when they should be sourcing people with the leadership skills needed in the organization and then finding the right role for each person.
Thanks Sandra. It’s so easy to slip into “just get it done” … and sometimes we have to. But, we can’t do it as a practice without treating people like cogs in the machine.
A Leader who chooses to relegate contrarians to the back burner in an organization is doomed. Its best to put them on the forward position so that they are made free to give right passes back and fro to score right goals on point
Thanks yamuneram. I’m not sure they need a forward position. Often they don’t have the social skills it takes to be up front. BUT, but we all lose when we marginalize their message. Thanks for your contribution.
“Often they don’t have the social skills it takes to be up front.”…and usually aren’t interested in being up front.
They tend to have ‘social skills’ more suited to small groups or one-on-one situations. Their delivery is often straight forward with less manipulative aspects than more extroverted members that work a crowd/organization. Re-frame the focus to fit their talent or mode of delivery and they work up front well when the situation calls for a change in perspective.
Hey! Can we come up with a better name than, “contrarian?” Devil’s Advocate is another common one. Neither pick up the positive alternative thinking, divergent conceptualizing and correctional reframing. My spell checker did not even have contrarian in it. “Aikido Thinker?” Is there some Japanese word (probably not, since the nail that sticks up gets hammered down in that culture). American Indian word? Italian? Something in Latin? — “Divergent Repostulator? (grin)
How about a “Yamuneram?” That has a nice ring to it!
Hi Scott. I appreciate your desire for kinder and gentler, more positive language.
LOVE “Divergent Repostulator”…
Divergent Repostulator is okay, but a handful that possibly exemplifies and focuses the conceptualistic innuendo in things. if you get my drift.
But Contrarian sounds too “centennial” and angry – I mentally image some Roman guy in a toga with a sword standing on a pedestal or something. Devil’s Advocate, thought to originate with the Roman Catholic Church in 1587 to challenge against canonization of a person, “to take a skeptical view of the candidate’s character, to look for holes in the evidence, to argue that any miracles attributed to the candidate were fraudulent, and so on. The Devil’s advocate opposed God’s advocate.” (from wikipedia)
The good news is that not too many organizations operate like the Catholic Church did in 1587 and that this posture of challenging is apparently god’s work. (grin)
But what do we label this person as being???
– Reverse Thinker?
– Polymorpheus Recapitulator?
I’m thinking Challenger has a much nicer ring than Contrarian…
It is Dan’s entire sentence and thought that makes the most sense: “CONFORMISTS don’t build the future, but FORWARD FACING CONTRARIANS pull you forward.” The idea of conformity is key to this concept of persons who are not the usual contrarians (naysayers), but contrarians who perhaps are saying something positive and constructive–even though they are a pain in the butt.
On the one hand, we hire persons because of the skills, qualities and dimensions they bring to
our organizations. But, then, we orientate or socialize them to do things–and thus to be–like everyone else in our organization. As a result we inadvertently make our staff members CONFORMISTS.
On the other hand, there are sometimes a CONTRARIAN or two among the staff. If we are lucky, this contrarian is FORWARD-FACING…well-meaning. I think Dan’s point is: Can we overlook the broken gate of a FORWARD-FACING CONTRARIAN’S ways and means–to see
his “flowers” beyond the gate?
Wow, what a humble yet powerful presentation that speaks beyond management–to the pull of leadership. It’s a very nice adjunct to Dan’s post on the secrets of leadership success. Thanks to DanDan.
Thanks dandan. Love it!
For any who care, here’s a link to “Up the Organization.”
#2 is my current favourite. You will hear me saying “perfect is the enemy of good enough” all the time right now. If I were to add one it would be “get present, stay present”. Too often we live in future plans or past successes/failures instead of knowing that we can only make a difference NOW.
Thanks Ian. The future is now. 🙂
My favorite is Take Action.Like the financial market, the world is stochastic and there is no perfect time to take action. What is important is to just get started and you will get feedbacks that will help you make correction. Most successful people are action biased and do not even plan/organize like most of us.