Publisher's Viewpoint

What is success - really?


If you Google success it says that "it means but is not limited to-a level of social status, achieving an objective or goal or the opposite of failure." Googling failure brings up "a person who is unsuccessful; non performance, an insufficiency or shortage, a decline or loss, not reaching desired standards, becoming bankrupt." There are some who say that individual success is measured by "your bank balance; how fancy your car, house and clothes are; the shape of your body, your popularity or how others see you." But nobody has all of these attributes and where in this list is happiness or fulfillment? My point is that success is subjective and defined differently by whomever you ask, as we all have our own ideas as to what constitutes success.

The truth is that every company we work for, every manager we report to and in every job we do, success is defined differently! There are no standard rules of measurement although in the business world it's usually linked to financial results but not always. How a company gets to financial results varies greatly and is affected by so many internal and external issues. Look at your own company and write down the internal and external issues you are faced with. Have you defined a successful way to address these? Are you and your management team in agreement on these issues and the plan? Have you even discussed this amongst yourselves or with your staff and your customers?

My experience has been that too often boards of directors, CEOs, C-level, owners, operators and/or managers are all defining success differently. They aren't in agreement on their strategy and too often have not even discussed their viewpoints, or worse, they can't because they can't agree! How can you get your employees to your goals if you have not defined them clearly for yourself, your managers and your team?

I would say that defining and agreeing on what success is within any organization-is one of the single greatest frustrations that we all face in our day to day business environment. How much time do you or your employees spend complaining about the way the company is run, what needs doing and why? How much time is wasted discussing what doesn't work and wouldn't it be simpler and more cost-effective if we addressed these problems head on?

Success is not just about year-end finances and growing the bottom line. It is about building a team of people who are working together, sharing their ideas, listening, talking and working in harmony towards a defined end result...be it the best products, the best services, the most technical installations or all of the above and more. Who's monitoring and managing every step of the way in getting to this end result?

People like to please and they love being successful. They get frustrated and cranky if there is no way to be successful. They want to make customers happy, they want management's approval and they want to grow your company. Have you asked what's stopping your companies from attaining the success that you want? Or better yet, have you asked your people and customers what you can do to improve your success? We all get caught in the day to day minutia of managing our little piece of the pie and it really can pay to sit back and take a more rounded vision of your organization's strengths and weaknesses, talking with managers about how to attain goals and produce the desired results.

It's too easy to simply blame everybody else and not look at what you are doing that interferes with the end results. A little honest talking can go a long way!