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!


Leadership Coach