Enterprise Software

Four different kinds of success strategies

Do you have misplaced beliefs that are holding you back from achieving greater success? In this article, John McKee provides four success strategies he's seen used successfully by winners in a wide variety of organizations.

 Many clients come to me looking for strategy and new ideas that can help them or their organizations succeed. They're seeking "state-of-the-art" concepts that will help ensure they stay ahead of the pack.

While I'm always happy to provide the benefit of our research and experience, I sometimes surprise them by pointing out that they already have options to improve their game.

Here are four of my favorite, underused success strategies:

1. Failing is an option -- Many people who are regarded as great successes have failed their way up the ladder. History is filled with the stories of individuals who would have been considered the biggest failures in their fields except for a single great success. Baseball's legendary Babe Ruth was the record holder for home runs for decades; but most people don't know he had more times at bat than others in the league and could actually have been considered the leader in strikeouts too. Same holds true for organizations. Try doing more things, and you're likely to have more successes. 2. Older is better -- The common belief in most circles is that younger people, their minds trained with electronic toys and learning aids, are able to process faster than those with gray hair. Partially due to that misguided belief, many organizations -- in a quest to reduce payroll costs and increase productivity -- are getting rid of those over 50. However, according to The New York Times' medical and science editor Barbara Strauch, older individuals are better able to process complex issues more quickly. In her book The Secret Life of the Grown-Up Brain, she makes the case that they can also interact more effectively with complex interpersonal issues. 3. Deliver on time -- In today's environment, it's often "better never than late." Shipping a new program or product out that provides more spec than originally scoped is no good if the marketplace beats you to the punch. Do what's required to achieve the time goal. The ones who succeed most frequently deliver the goods on time. Most don't. At one time the greatest in its sector, Westinghouse engineers spent too many years trying to create the "perfect" vacuum tube. When it finally got to the market, an upstart from Japan called Sony came out with something called a transistor. It made Westinghouse's product and leadership seem passe.

I'll add that it's also OK to "accept all substitutes." If something similar will get the job done as is, use it.

4. We need to get back to "good enough" -- When America was the most-envied nation in the world, it wasn't because it made products with the finest tolerances. But it did create an amazing number of new products in short order and those capably served the needs of the masses. Many individuals and organizations spend far too much money and time on projects or business issues today. They lose focus on the original or primary objective and often add or modify features that may be used later. As a result they overspend, which can be at the expense of other issues requiring time or funds. The world is not perfect, and it never will be. If something gets the job done satisfactorily, you and your organization are moving forward.

Here's to your success!

John

Leadership Coach

About

John M. McKee is the founder and CEO of BusinessSuccessCoach.net, an international consulting and coaching practice with subscribers in 43 countries. One of the founding senior executives of DIRECTV, his hands-on experience includes leading billion d...

9 comments
mwclarke1
mwclarke1

Looks as if the forth option will never happen, at least for several more decades. America is going downhill as Europe did. Europe will become what America was supposed to be. We are becoming the United Socialist Territories of Asia. Will not stay the top economic power, will loose it's innovative drive. We are becoming those who have a lot at the top and the rest will have to survive and take what they can get and not complain.

brainphat
brainphat

Excellent advice/observations/strategies! I balk at "older is better", though. Is aging a strategy? While I might be convince that being older is an advantage in some roles & situations, I can't help but think "older is better" is just an opinion. I suspect many 20-year-olds think the exact opposite.

Susantci
Susantci

This Article gave me a lot to think about. Being a women in my 40s in this tech field it gives me some hope that older people will be respected.

rpetershome
rpetershome

I thought the article was on the incredulous side, because it didn't name the research studies that would back up the author's opinions. Of course, the author is entitled to his opinions, and probabaly has back-up, but just didn't use it in the article.

dlaytonj2
dlaytonj2

Great list, and examples. I would suggest there is a lot of synergy between 3, and 4. Deliver good enough, then build from there as needed. On, item 1. I would suggest failure, without learning from the experience, is perhaps the biggest mistake of all. Being over 50, I agree with the comment about the ability to think through, and potentially solve the more complex problem sets. I would also suggest that we are probably better strategic thinkers as we have the benefit of having experienced more history.

bornie21
bornie21

Hey these are great motivational tips

CareerCoach
CareerCoach

It's all about achievement and results, however you get there.

hauskins
hauskins

A younger person might have all kinds of information but it has not been organized or honed in a way that allows for complex solutions. I doubt if a 20 year old was educated by 20 year old professors at college. I work at a University and what my experience has been is that younger people have a set of technical skills that tend to be in the category of I can use it really well. I have a staff that has a couple of 20 somethings and even though they are bright and have a good skill set, they still have issues around creating a broader view of a situation and being able to understand the interactions of various components. I also have older staff and they demonstrate the ability to make good judgment calls in situations that require one to understand several interacting components of a total system. On the other hand I have had both 20 somethings and 50 somethings that were not able to get to a point of good analytical skills. My overall philosophy is that an age blended staff gives older members a reason to keep up on skills and younger members the benefit to learn analytical skills

pfarrjam
pfarrjam

I love this list, and the added comment that achievement and results are what count. As a mid level leader (not a manager mind you) I am pressed for results, but my leadership all too often has a myopic view of what success looks like. Lateral thinking and discovery of alternatives that can lead to success is not always welcomed. I'd like to learn more about the strong majority of the survey respondents about their experiences!

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