Tag Archives: business success

Organizations Are Not Eternal–They Fail: In Fact, Some Organizations Are Not Built to Succeed… Seeds of Success; Why Companies Fail…

Companies must learn to celebrate and support people within the organization who are willing to challenge the status quo, to bring totally different perspectives on delivering value to customers, and to take experimental risks to explore new business models.

Companies are born, companies fail, capitalism moves forward; ‘creative destruction’, they call it, and what Paul O’Neill, former U.S. Treasury Secretary, called ‘the genius of capitalism’. There is a myth, a misconception, floating around the universe that companies fail for millions of reasons”, says Mark Stevens. “That every death of the entrepreneurial dream is the result of a separate and distinct story unrelated to any other.

But the fact is, every company I have ever worked with that is dysfunctional, bleeding, damaged and en route to a head-on collision with disaster lacked basic fundamentals…”  In the writings of Gary Hamel he says; most businesses were never built to change; they were built to do one thing exceedingly well and highly efficiently, ‘forever’.

That’s why entire industries can get caught by change. In a world where change is shaken rather than stirred, the only way a company can renew its lease on success is by reinventing itself root and branch, before it has to: A feat that even the smartest companies have trouble pulling off.  Without doubt, the greatest threat to success is success itself:

Success corrupts. Hamel continues, saying; given enough time and enough incrementally myopic decisions, companies will eventually run out of momentum. Strategies start to die the moment they’re born. While death can be delayed, it can’t be avoided. Autopsies reveal three primary causes of death.

  • Clever strategies get replicated.
  • Venerable strategies get supplanted.
  • Profitable strategies get eviscerated.

The seeds of failure are usually sown at the heights of greatness; that’s why success is so often a self-correcting phenomenon. Years of continuous improvement produce an ultra-efficient business system; one that’s highly optimized, and also highly inflexible. Successful businesses are usually good at doing one thing and one thing only. Over-specialization kill adaptability; but this is a tough trap to avoid, since the defenders of the status quo will always argue that eking out another increment of efficiency is a safer bet than striking out in a new direction…

In the articleWhy Companies Fail by Ram Charan and Jerry Useem write:  CEOs offer every excuse but the right one; their own errors. Corporate collapses involve many breakdowns, including; ethics, trust, common sense, and that’s just to name a few. But perhaps the most troubling breakdown is in corporate oversight: Directors, senior executives, and Wall Street analysts all failed miserably by missing–or concealing–danger signals until it was too late.

Regulators will no doubt have plenty to say on the issue, but the most zealous reformers should be the companies themselves. They can begin with three changes that, taken together, will provide a better early warning system against failure:

  • Reengineer the Board of Directors. Remember re-engineering? It was applied to every corner of the corporation at one point or another–except the Board. That needs to change. Incompetence is not the problem. Boards can be full of very capable people, and yet be totally ineffective as a group. Boards are the heart and soul of a company and they must act responsibly to identify and prevent trouble before it becomes a crisis.
  • Turn employees into corporate governors. Regular employees; not executives, not directors, not shareholders, have the most to lose when a company fails. With their jobs, pensions, and stock-option wealth on the line, it follows that they have a greater incentive than anyone to act as company watchdogs. Yet few companies tap this built-in alarm system.
  • Banish EBITDA. Companies hit the skids for all sorts of reasons, but there is one thing that ultimately kills them: They run out of cash. Yet most managers are too preoccupied with measures like EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, debt, and amortization) and ‘return on assets’ to give cash much notice. Boards don’t ask for it. Analysts don’t analyze it. Corporate financial statements do typically include a statement of cash flow, but it’s a crude snapshot that excludes off-balance-sheet items and doesn’t show where the cash comes from. The solution is a detailed, easily readable cash-flow report. Give it to the Board. Give it to employees. Break out cash flow by division, letting people track the company’s blood-flow themselves.

In the article Why Companies Stagnate and Fail by John W. Davin writes: Success breeds arrogance. Caretaker executives who’ve never been entrepreneurs and have never built something out of nothing are prone to view success as an entitlement, rather than the result of innovation, gut-wrenching decisions and perseverance. Isolated from the bleeding edge of change by subservient minions, they start believing their own speeches.

Unlike Andy Grove, Intel’s former CEO, they aren’t perpetually paranoid. Instead, they’re naively confident and therefore prone to under-estimate threats and discount new competitors. These aren’t the only things that can turn leaders into also-ran, but they’re the ones I’ve encountered most often.

To the question; “can an organization die an untimely death?” an economist would answer ‘no’: “Institutions die when they deserve to die, that is, when they have shown themselves perpetually incapable of fulfilling stakeholder demands”. There are many causes why companies fail or stagnate, but four reasons continue to come up in almost all cases.

  • No Vision, strategy or strategic business plan.
  • Weak or ineffective management.
  • Lack of information and control systems.
  • Under capitalization.

In the articleWhy Has Anyone Ever Failed?” by Bill Gluth writes: The only reason anyone has ever failed is they didn’t take action when it was most needed.  They sat on the sidelines trying to figure out what to do, or they took the wrong action and it cost them dearly. There are really only a few reasons for failure:

  • They didn’t know what action to take.
  • They didn’t trust their own knowledge and personal intuition in moving forward.
  • They looked at their options for so long they became paralyzed. This is often called ‘analysis paralysis’.

According to statistics from the Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors (AIRA), the majority of business failures (67%) are caused by internally generated problems within the control of management; not by bad luck or external events like an economic recession.

Being accountable is a crucial step to overcoming the obstacles that face management.  Without someone taking ownership of a problem, nothing changes. Waiting for an external factor, outside of your control, in order to have a reason to change is a sure-fire recipe for business failure.  

According to Gary Hamel: “To thrive, in turbulent times, organizations must become a bit more disorganized; less buttoned down, less uptight, less compulsive, less anal.” Strategies get old and, in recent years, strategy life cycles have been shrinking and, sooner or later, every strategy dies.

The signs of advancing age are always visible; if you’re looking for them. As William Gibson once said, “The future has already happened, it’s just unequally distributed.” To see it coming, managers have to pay attention to nascent technologies, unconventional competitors and un-served customer groups.

The future will sneak up on you unless you go out looking for it. It’s not enough to spot trends, you have to think through their implications and how they’ll interact; and then develop contingency plans appropriate to each scenario. The more time a company devotes to rehearsing alternate futures, the quicker it will be able to react when one particular future begins to unfold.

In the April 16, 1999, an issue of the ‘Informant’ writes: An organization is like a tree full of monkeys, all on different levels, some climbing up, some falling down, most just swinging round and round. The monkeys on top look down and see a tree full of smiling faces. The monkeys on the bottom look up and see nothing but ass-holes.”  

Too often CEOs succumb to an undisciplined lust for growth, accumulating assets for the sake of accumulating assets. Why? It’s fun. There are lots of press conferences. It’s what powerful CEOs do. No one likes a good growth story better than Wall Street…. When companies run into trouble, the desire for a quick fix can become overwhelming.

The frequent result is a dynamic that Jim Collins describes in his book ‘Good to Great’; “vacillated, shifting from one strategy to another, always looking for a single stroke to quickly solve its problems. [It] held pep rallies, launched programs, grabbed fads, fired CEOs, hired CEOs and fired them yet again.”

Lurching from one silver bullet solution to another, the company never gains any traction. Collins calls it the ‘doom loop’, and it’s a killer.  Company failure has many parents, but the most critical of these is a breakdown in how executives perceived reality for their companies, how people within an organization faced up to their reality, how information and control systems in organizations were mismanaged, and how organizational leaders adopt spectacularly unsuccessful habits. Most companies don’t change until they are in pain… on the verge of dying… then, it’s too late… Companies must be truly proactive and adaptive to succeed…

When executives look at new opportunities they see them through the lens of the current business model and view them as competing with the current way the organization creates, delivers, and captures value. Organizations fail at business model innovation because they blindly take cannibalization off the table even if a new business model may have significant upside potential.

Neglect Organization Health and Risk Becoming Another– Enron: Focus Exclusively on ‘Performance’ and Risk Long-Term Success…

Organization Health is Critical for Business Success: “Organizational health is about adapting to the present and shaping the future faster and better than the competition.

Healthy organizations don’t merely learn to adjust themselves to their current context or to challenges that lie just ahead; they create a capacity to learn and keep changing over time. This is where ultimate competitive advantage lies.”

How healthy is your organization (how is it ‘really’ doing)? Sure, there are basic metrics like; total revenue, profit margin, employee turnover… which can paint at least part of the picture.  However, all of these measures have one inherent flaw: they measure  things  which have already happened. In book ‘Mastering the Rockefeller Habits’ by Verne Harnish writes; there are four interlocking principles that drive growth and good health. When taken individually, each of the principles: people, strategy, execution and cash, are good business practices.  A focus on any one of them will create a tighter more harmonious business.

Together they interlock to create a business in good health and poised for growth and sustainability; no matter what is going on in the economy. Since the publication of two landmark books, ‘In Search of Excellence’ by Tom Peters and Robert Waterman, and ‘Built to Last’ by Jim Collins and Jerry Porras; 20% of the companies profiled in these books no longer exist and 46% are struggling to regain their former positions in the marketplace.

Clearly, it’s a tough world out there, and it’s not getting easier to find sustained success. The book ‘Beyond Performance’ by Scott Keller and Colin Price, both at McKinsey, tackles this topic by looking at what is done by companies that have found ways to endure. According to Price and Keller; “health is the capacity of the organization to compete not only today, but tomorrow,” and there are three key elements:

  • Organization alignment: Does the organization know where it’s going? Are the people within that organization aligned about that direction? That may sound simplistic, but in many organizations it’s not the case. There isn’t a deep level of alignment around purpose and mandate from the leaders all the way to the frontline employees that make a difference to customers.
  • Capacity for execution: This is the ability to turn ideas into action. How much interference is there? How much complexity slows a company’s metabolic rate?
  • Capacity for renewal: Is the organization changing at or just above the rate at which it’s changed in the past? Or is the organization really focusing on changing at the rate required by the industry?

In the article “Characteristics of a Healthy Organization” by Rose Johnson writes: Companies should periodically take an assessment to measure their health. For companies to achieve long-term success, they must create and maintain healthy environments in the workplace. Healthy organizations understand that it takes a collaborative effort to compete in their market segment and produce continuous profits.

Healthy organizations have certain characteristics ingrained in their corporate culture: A healthy organization shares its business goals with employees at every level of the organization. Management shares goals with employees and gets them on board with the mission and vision of the organization. Healthy companies know how to develop teams that collaborate to achieve common goals.

Good leadership is one of the main characteristics of a healthy organization. Employees have good relationships with management that are based on trust. Managers know how to get employees to function together. When correction is needed, employees readily accept the constructive criticism offered by leaders. Companies confront poor performance instead of ignoring it.

Upper-level management values the input of employees who make suggestions on how to improve productivity and achieve high performance rates. Healthy organizations understand the risks they are open to and take the necessary steps to protect themselves against them. Healthy organizations know how to recognize and seize good opportunities.

They also know how to adapt to technological or operational changes. They try to stay ahead or inline with changes in the industry and business environment. Companies possess a sense of order and organizational structure. The structure and order of the organization does not limit innovation and growth…

In the article “Building a Healthy Organization in Challenging Times” by Patrick Lencioni writes:  The current state of the economy has caused many of us to question what we can do in this market to succeed. Now that most companies have cut staff and minimized any extraneous expenses, the question remains, ‘what else can we do?’

New York Times best-selling author, Patrick Lencioni, claims that most companies have enough organizational intelligence, intellectual property and human capital to succeed, even in a down economy. Unfortunately, many fail to leverage those assets because they lack something he calls ‘organizational health.’

He defines a ‘healthy organization’ as one where internal confusion and politics are minimized and an atmosphere of clarity and employee productivity can flourish. Built upon his model in the book ‘The Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive’ helps leaders understand the disarming simplicity and power of organizational health and reveals the four actionable steps that allow them to achieve it:

  • Build and Maintain a Cohesive Leadership Team: Cohesive team trusts one another, engages in constructive conflict, commits to group decisions and holds one another accountable.
  • Create Organizational Clarity: Healthy organizations clarify topics such as values, strategies, goals and roles & responsibilities.
  • Over-Communicate Organizational Clarity: Healthy organizations align their employees by repetitively and comprehensively communicating all aspects of organizational clarity.
  • Reinforce Organizational Clarity Through Human Systems: Organizations sustain their health by establishing simple structures around the way they make decisions, evaluate job candidates, manage performance and reward employees.

In the article Management Vs. Leadership in a Healthy Organizational Culture by Jason Gillikin writes: Healthy organizations balance leadership and management to improve the bottom line. The tension between management and leadership can be hard to cut through at times, but in a healthy organization, the roles and duties of leaders tend to mesh well with the roles and duties of managers.

Both leaders and managers have functions that sometimes overlap, but through solid communication and a well-accepted strategic vision, these two roles work seamlessly in a high-performing organization. In a healthy organization, managers will accept the strategic direction shared by the leadership team and find ways to carry it out.

Leaders will communicate clearly and honestly, and establish clear milestones. Managers will accept direction from leaders and add to it, adding the muscles and sinews of operational effectiveness to the bones of strategic vision. In turn, managers will honestly communicate successes and failures to the leadership team, to help keep the vision in sync with reality. In a poorly performing organization, the relationship between leaders and managers breaks down.

Leadership might fail to articulate a clear vision, or to communicate new priorities to managers. Managers, in turn, might tell leaders what they want to hear without actually working to achieve the vision–or, the management team might simply be inept. Without a solid, symbiotic relationship between leaders and managers, a business cannot maintain a healthy organizational culture.

In the article “Essentials for an Effective, Sustainable, Healthy Organization” by Fredia Woolf writes: What’s the point of any organization? “To make money,” says the businessperson.  “To fulfill our mission,” says the non-profit person.  And so begins the false debate that keeps the two worlds separate and often leads to missed opportunities and wasted potential. 

If all organization leaders recognized that both financial viability and an inspiring mission are essential, they could then focus on the key levers that would make their organization effective, sustainable and healthy, thus transforming experience of work for so many people, which, in turn, would transform the performance and results of the organizations they serve. Here are some guidelines for how to do this:

  • Leadership Ability and Commitment: At the heart of every successful organization lie the quality, competency, vision and drive of its leader or leaders.  The culture, tone and nature of the environment stems from choices they make and priorities they favor.
  • Strategy: Organization leaders who have a clear strategy understand where they are going and what they want to achieve.  If the time is taken to align individuals with this strategy and to use the strategic priorities as a way to remember what’s important, you will have the makings of a productive, efficient organization.
  • Communication from and Visibility of Senior Leaders: Highly capable leaders who craft a brilliant strategy and stay in their offices or out of sight will not create high performance or healthy organizations. It is a primary function of leaders not only to be the voice of the organization to the outside world but also to keep their people ‘in the loop’ by updating, including and recognizing them.
  • Accountability: Building a sense of personal responsibility is part of a healthy culture.  Setting goals and clear expectations about roles and responsibilities is fundamental to a performance culture.  Setting limits, boundaries and clear expectations gives necessary structure and order and facilitates the accomplishment of goals.
  • Remove Structural Impediments: In some organizations, effectiveness is not impeded by people’s attitudes or practices.  It may, instead, be hampered by structures intrinsic to the organization.
  • Creating a Sense of Team and Trust: The three T’s of a successful 21st century organization are: Technology, Technical Expertise, and Teamwork.
  • Focus on Coaching/Development: Seeing each employee as an asset filled with potential and talent and whose passion and needs can be met by their work fosters a worker whose output can benefit the organization financially and existentially

If you were asked about the health of your organization, you would probably respond with financial measures such as; revenues, profitability, return on investment… According to Bradley Norris, these measures may or may not be correlated to durable adaptable companies. Examine any top 100 list from years past: Fortune’s top 100 best places to work or the Forbes 100.

Very few of these companies have endured the changes inherent in markets, industries, and society. In Andy Grove’s book, ‘Only the Paranoid Survive’ he states: “We must be ever vigilant, never-resting on the laurels of yesterday’s success. We must always worry that a competitor will satisfy the customer better tomorrow, if not today.” The healthy organization combines this fear with a faith in their ability to prevail, to win, to profit, to endure…

“Organizational health and corporate culture are the most important drivers of results… they are clear predictors of financial health… organizational health drives performance.”

Collaboration –Key Driver for Success in Business, Globally: Diversity of Ideas, Strength in Unity, Power of Innovation, Leveraging Shared Business Model…

Collaboration: “Global companies that collaborate better, perform better. Those that collaborate less, do not perform as well. It’s just that simple.” ~ Jaclyn Kostner.

Collaboration can change the dynamics of companies, markets, industries, and nations. Among firms and individuals, collaboration has been shown to signficantly improve their performance and innovation outcomes. In business, collaboration can be found both inter- and intra-organization and ranges from the simplicity of a partnership to the complexity of international corporations.

Recent improvement in digital age technology has provided people, globally, with the ability to effectively communicate and share ideas through the internet, web-conferencing, and social media without any geographical barriers. Collaboration is the ability to leverage each others strengths to produce results that no party could have achieved alone, and where each member contributes to the mutually agreed-upon objectives and goals with an outcome that says, ‘we did it together and we both are better off for it’.

In the study Meetings Around the World: The Impact of Collaboration on Business Performance” by Frost & Sullivan says that a global culture of collaboration exists, but that there are regional differences in how people in various countries prefer to communicate with one another. “The study results show that collaboration can positively impact each of the gold standards of performance; i.e., profitability, profit growth and sales growth; it can determine a company’s overall performance in the marketplace,” said Jaclyn Kostner. The study surveyed 946 information technology and line-of-business decision-makers from a cross-section of 2,000 small-to-medium, mid-market and global companies in the U.S., Europe (France, Germany, and U.K.) and Asia-Pacific (Australia, Hong Kong, and Japan).

The researchers created a ‘collaboration index’ to measure a company’s relative ‘collaborativeness’ based on two main factors: An organization’s ‘orientation’ and ‘infrastructure’ to collaborate. The study found that the high impact of collaboration on a company’s overall performance was consistent across Europe and Asia-Pacific, and across the six key vertical industries that were examined: healthcare, government, high technology, professional services, financial services and manufacturing.

In addition to measuring the relative ‘collaborativeness’ of companies, the study uncovered general positive attitudes about collaboration, along with specific preferences and regional differences. For example, among the professionals worldwide who responded: An overwhelming number (9-to-1) see their collaborative efforts as highly productive and believe that collaboration through communication technologies provide a competitive advantage.

Many like to work with teams (10-to-1) preferably from home (3-to-1) and not necessarily face-to-face. A majority (5-to-1) feel that conferencing provides a good alternative to travel. Many like to be reached wherever they are (2-to-1) but not necessarily all the time (9-to-1), which may be one of the reasons why e-mail is preferred to using the phone (3-to-1). As for the regional differences, American professionals were more likely to enjoy working alone, and prefer to send e-mail rather than calling a person or leaving a voice message.

They are also more comfortable with conferencing technologies than people of other regions and tend to multi-task the most when on conference calls. Europeans thrive on teamwork more than their counterparts elsewhere and prefer to interact in real-time with other people. Professionals in the Asia-Pacific region, more so than anywhere else, want to be in touch constantly during the workday.

As a result, they find the phone to be an indispensable tool and prefer instant messaging to e-mail.  According to the study, these differences highlight an opportunity for greater cultural understanding to improve collaborative efforts around the world…

In the article “Six Degrees of Collaboration” by Colin Brown writes: While business was once all about keeping one step ahead of your rivals, in today’s socially networked society, working together can lead to greater success.  Steering the enlightened path is a new C-word that has emerged as the way forward for business:

Collaboration. In today’s hyper-socialized economy, it’s not who you know that really counts, but who you don’t. The priority for many CEOs today is to break down the barriers that stand between them and their employees, their customers, their partners, their vendors – even their rivals. National boundaries are being bridged, corporate walls breached, expertise shared.

Google’s Eric Schmidt’s prevailing mantra is ‘collaborate or perish’. Similarly, conglomerates, such as IBM and Cisco, have got collectivist religion and are bent on replacing the top-down managerial model of benevolent dictatorships and proprietary ownership with flatter hierarchies and reciprocal relationships. They know that no single industry, company, or individual has a monopoly on useful ideas.

Failure to adopt this new collaborative mantle also leaves dyed-in-the-wool companies vulnerable to agile entrepreneurs who now have all the communication, technology and information at their disposal to become global competitors. There is no one rigid philosophy or management practice that is driving this shift, but rather a spectrum of changing attitudes, techniques and tools that combine to promote sharing, aggregation, peer group coordination and social cooperation. Together, they amount to one giant ‘reset’ button for business.

In the article The Human Element, Key to a Successful Partnership by Francine Allaire writes:  Professionals and companies are facing perhaps the most challenging environment in decades, making internal collaboration and strategic partnerships more relevant and important than ever before. Whether in business or in life it’s often the human element that makes or breaks any form of relationship, collaboration or alliance. People create alliances, companies don’t.

Technology does not run an enterprise, relationships do! So, at the end of the day…it’s about people, relationships and trust. ‘Tools are the Enablers’ but ‘People are the Key’. Why collaborate at all and why now? We live in what I call the ‘New Normal’. So why, then, is successful collaboration so difficult to attain? Humans are tribal creatures, constantly drawing boundaries between friends and foes. We are constantly surrounded by potential partners; colleagues, neighbors, friends, fellow volunteers…

But powerful partnerships– the kind in which you and a collaborator regularly work together, reach goals together that you never could have accomplished apart, and gain the deep satisfaction only such an alliance can bring– are still elusive for most of us. We are crowded in offices, airports, and subways; frequently within arms reach of dozens of people, but often on a very lonely pursuit.

In a study by Gallup Research they discovered that there were elements that are crucial for two people to become a successful team (in business or in life) and came up with ‘8 Critical Elements of Successful Collaboration’. They are; complimentary strengths, common vision, fairness, trust, acceptance, forgiveness, communication, unselfishness. Being a good partner is hard work!  Take off your headphones… Break away from the screen…Get out of your office…Unleash the Power of Collaboration!

In the article Collaborative Business: Companies that Dare to Share Information are Cashing in on New Opportunities by Paul McDougall writes: Collaboration may sound like one of those mom-and-apple-pie business ideas that everyone supports, but the reality is that many companies remain wary of opening-up too much. Only half of the companies surveyed by ‘Information Week Research’ will share data with suppliers, and just 39% make collaborating with customers part of early product development.

Yet companies that embrace collaboration find that the more they do it, the better it gets. Eighty percent of companies that share data with more than one partner give the strategy a thumbs-up, but only about half of the companies that share data with just one partner feel that way. Most businesses just aren’t built to take full advantage of collaborative networks, says Dale Perrott at ‘Cap Gemini Ernst & Young’. Collaboration calls for decentralized decision-making structures that let knowledge workers act on the information: “This requires a revolution in the thought processes and operating structures of a business,” he says.  

Businesses haven’t yet approached the Zen-like state in which suppliers and customers interact unconsciously in an infinite, virtuous cycle, where customer feedback ripples back organically through the supply chain. Though increasing sales is the most common goal for collaboration, companies are also collaborating to cut costs. More than half of respondents to the ‘InformationWeek Research’ survey view collaboration as a means to squeeze expense out of their supply chain and target other pockets of inefficiency.

In addition to saving money, companies are creating collaborative environments to help build customer loyalty.  Collaboration requires trust and a leap-of-faith that once customers get a good look inside your business, they’ll like what they see.  Despite its potential, true business collaboration is being adopted only gradually by corporate America.

Notwithstanding the onslaught of new tools and services and some notable success stories, most businesses still don’t routinely collaborate with customers and suppliers, according to the ‘Information Week Research’ survey. Only half of respondents say they regularly share information with customers, and only 37% routinely share information with suppliers. Participation in more specific collaborative activities such as the development of customized solutions for each partner was even lower.

Today, people and firms are reaching out to one another in ways that would have been unfathomable just a few years ago and, indeed, the fear that competitors will glean information and skills is becoming more of a non-issue. Businesses today are built less on proprietary secrets and more on execution and connections.  Mary Parker Follett, early twentieth century management guru, described management as ‘the art of getting things done through people’.

She essentially believed in the power of people working together and forming a community; a process for collaboration. Now-a-days collaboration is one of the most important success factors for organizations. Collaboration is a process through which people who see different aspects of a problem can constructively explore their differences and search for solutions that go beyond their own limited vision of what is possible. Effective leadership in the current climate requires; collaboration, listening, influencing, and flexible adaptation, rather than command and control.

According to Arnoud De Meyer; one of the important elements of collaborative leadership is restraint and an ability to walk the fine line between the clear and the dark side of its characteristics. The right approach is often; not ‘either-or’, but ‘and-and’:

The need to conform to the group and yet creatively think out of the box; need to be formal and informal; need to listen to experience and at the same time challenge it through experimentation; need to make money and the need to be socially responsive; need to compete and the need to collaborate. It is uncomfortable to live with such dualities. But in a collaborative world we have no choice.

“In the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed” ~attributed to Charles Darwin

Judging Success of Business by Key Performance Indicators (KPIs): Clear Measurable Outcomes That Define Predictable & Sustainable Success…

“Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the measures that monitor the performance of key result areas of business activities, which are absolutely critical to the success and growth of the business.

You can measure until the cows come home, but if your KPIs don’t allow for practical changes that actually increase business results, you’re wasting valuable time. Any key performance indicator you define needs to be quantifiable and to reflect a critical success factor for your business.”

Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are vital means by which firms can judge how well they are performing towards achieving their strategic business goals. KPIs allow businesses to identify their most important measures, and they provide a standardized way of determining whether or not they are meeting their goals, targets, and objectives.

According to Josh Hall, Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) can be used to measure virtually anything.  Different businesses will use different indicators to measure their success; what is important to one business might be irrelevant to another. When determining which KPIs to measure, you should ask: What ‘really’ matters for business success? What ’really’ matters for customers? What ’really’ matters for employees?  What ‘really’ matters for stockholders?

Performance data is only relevant when it’s measured & tracked over an extended period of time with focus on changes and trends; a single snap-shot of information is entirely useless…

In the article How an Organization Defines and Measures Progress Toward its Goals by F. John Reh writes: Once an organization has analyzed its mission, identified all its stakeholders, and defined its goals; it needs a way to measure & track progress toward those goals; ‘Key Performance Indicators’ (KPIs) are those measurements.  Key Performance Indicators are quantifiable measurements, agreed to beforehand, that reflect the critical success factors of an organization– they will differ from organization-to-organization.

However, whichever Key Performance Indicators are selected; they must reflect that organization’s ‘goals’, they must be ‘key’ to its success, and they must be ‘quantifiable’ (measurable). If a Key Performance Indicator is going to be of any value, there must be a way to accurately define, measure, and track it. For example, ‘generate more customers’ is useless as a KPI; without some way to distinguish between new and repeat customers, or ‘be the most popular company’ won’t work as a KPI; there may not be a way to measure the company’s popularity or compare it to others.

Also, being consistent is very important, that is, don’t change the KPIs ‘definition’ from year-to-year; there must be ‘measurement consistency’ over the long-term. For example, a KPI of  ‘increase sales’ needs to address considerations like whether to measure by units-sold or by dollar-value-of-sales. Will ‘product returns’ be deducted from sales in the month-of-the-sale or the month-of-the-return? Many things are measurable:

But that does not make them ‘key’ to the organization’s success. In selecting Key Performance Indicators, it’s important to limit them to a small number of ‘critical’ factors that are ‘truly’ essential to the organization achieving its goals…

In the article “Business Cycle Indicators” by ‘The Conference Board’ writes: The economic statistics that provide valuable information about the expansions and contractions of business cycles can have a profound affect on the business’ KPIs. These economic statistics are grouped into three sets; lagging, coincident, and leading. ‘Leading’ economic indicators tend to move up or down a few months ‘before’ business-cycle expansions and contractions. ‘Coincident’ economic indicators tend to reach their peaks and troughs ‘at the same time’ as business cycles.

Lagging’ economic indicators tend to rise or fall a few months ‘after’ business-cycle expansions and contractions.  Business cycle indicators are a series of economic measures that track monthly business cycle activity. They provide consumers, business leaders, and policy makers with a bit of insight into the current state of the economy and a glimpse into where the economy might be headed.

The actual measures used as ‘business cycle indicators’ are collected by several different government agencies and private organizations, including; ‘Bureau of Labor Statistics’, ‘Federal Reserve System’, and ‘Dow Jones Company’. These measures are then compiled by economists and number-crunchers at the ‘Conference Board’ into leading, coincident, and lagging indicators and used to analyze business-cycle instability.

Many companies use these ‘business cycle indicators’ in defining and tracking their KPIs. There are also three terms that describe an economic indicator’s ‘direction’ relative to the direction of the general economy:

  • Procyclic indicators move in the same direction as the general economy: they increase when the economy is doing well; decrease when it is doing badly. Gross domestic product (GDP) is a procyclic indicator.
  • Countercyclic indicators move in the opposite direction to the general economy. The unemployment rate is countercyclic: it rises when the economy is decreasing.
  • Acyclic indicators are those with little or no correlation to the business cycle: they may rise or fall when the general economy is doing well, and may rise or fall when it is not doing well.

Business Performance Management’ is a set of management and analytic processes that enable the management of an organization’s performance to achieve their Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Core business performance management processes include; financial planning, operational planning, business modeling, consolidation and reporting, analysis, and monitoring of KPIs linked to the strategy.

Business Performance Management involves consolidation of data from various sources, querying, and analysis of the data, and putting the results into practice. Business Performance Management has three main activities:

  • Selection of goals.
  • Consolidation of measurement information relevant to progress against goals.
  • Interventions made by managers to improving future performance against goals.

In the article What Do I Do With Key Performance Indicators?” by ‘Profit In Focus’ writes:  Once you have defined and targeted the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), that is; ones that reflect your organization’s goals & ones that you can measure: What do you do with them? The Key Performance Indicators function as a business performance management tool, and as an organizational incentive. KPIs give everyone in the organization a clear picture of what is important and what needs to happen, and it’s a mechanism to manage performance. It ensures that the people in the organization are focused on meeting or exceeding those Key Performance Indicators.

Promoting the KPIs through organization-wide incentives and involvement is critical to its success: Post the KPIs in key locations in the company –in the lunch room, on the walls of conference rooms, on the company intranet, even on the company website for some goals. The people involved must be informed and motivated to achieve the KPI targets; display the target(s) for each KPI and show the progress (or lack of) being made towards each target(s)…

Measurable objectives are a vital part of any growth and expansion strategy. They provide businesses with a tangible, observable goals: KPIs are an important element of business strategy. Businesses cannot grow without coherent, relevant, and measurable objectives: Measurable objectives cannot be achieved without the efficient formulation and monitoring of KPIs; they are a vital element of any growth strategy.

However, there are potential problems with KPIs; among the most common is ‘data overload’.  It’s common for businesses to begin ‘measuring absolutely everything’, which is counter-productive; most information is not critical for business success. Another common issue is a lack of monitoring the results; KPI tracking is an ongoing and long-term process. For example, if you are measuring ‘average-revenue-per-customer’, you should be recording this information consistently on a weekly, monthly, or quarterly basis. This helps to identify trends in the data, and determines whether or not you are on track to achieve your objectives.

Defining and targeting the KPIs, such that, it tracks the ‘vital-for-success’ performance data should ensure that you are growing on a predictable and sustainable path; or it should provide an alert indicating that measures are out of alignment with the goals, and changes may be necessary. The targeted Key Performance Indicators should adhere to the rule of  ‘SMART’:  Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound.  

Once the KPIs are identified, then there must be clear assignments of responsibility for delivering each KPI. It’s fine for your top-level strategic objectives to be abstract and business-wide, but it’s most important that the KPI targets are specific and well-defined, and each KPI is clearly assigned to a specific person(s): Each KPI must have an owner(s)– someone that’s responsible for the result(s)…

“Key Performance Indicator (KPI) has become one of the most over-used and little understood term in management. In theory it provides a series of measures against which internal managers and external investors can judge the business and how it is likely to perform over the medium and long-term.

Regrettably it has become confused with metrics – if we can measure it, it’s a KPI. The KPI when properly developed should provide all staff with clear goals and objectives, coupled with an understanding of how they relate to the overall success of the organization.”

Success in Business & The Golden Ring: Define It; Get It; Use It; Share It; Lose It; Wish You Never Had It…

Success in business. “Flaming enthusiasm, backed up by horse sense and persistence, is the quality that most frequently makes for success”. ~Dale Carnegie

A Google search on the word ‘success’ brings up nearly 100 million results… That says people are interested in ‘success’…  and, in having more of it. Regardless of what ‘success in business’ means to you, it’s within your reach and a lot closer than you might think. How do you reach success? The quest for success and the search for the ‘golden ring’ have given us many ‘formulations for success’, and we will discuss a few of them.

There is a theory that Murray Raphel, business expert, has about business success: If business is good, it’s not because of the weather, the time of year or the economy. It’s because of  ‘you’. You are doing something right. If business is bad, it’s not because of the weather, the time of the year or the economy. It’s because of ‘you’. You are doing something wrong.  Today’s world is no longer satisfied with simply success–we want to know how the successful get to the top.

The Russians developed a concept called ‘anthropomaximology’ in which they try to answer the question of why some individuals outperform others. Through the years I’ve done some ‘anthropomaximology’ of my own and found there are certain qualities that describe successful business people. Here are a few:

  • Constantly set higher goals; successful business people are mountain climbers who, having climbed one peak, look beyond to the next highest.
  • Avoid ‘comfort zones’. To a successful person, standing still feels like going backwards. People who stay in their ‘comfort zones’ do what they did before ‘it’s the way we’ve always done it’
  • Driven by accomplishments, not money. Successful people follow the theory of Apple Computer’s founder Steve Jobs, who said, ‘The journey is the reward.’
  • Solve problems rather than place blame. Successful business people do not waste their time looking at problems and saying, ‘It’s not our fault’ or ‘Why didn’t we …’ They say, ‘Let’s look at what went wrong and realize it was a learning experience and figure out how we can make it work next time.’
  • Look at the worst possible scenario. ‘What’s the worst possible result if we follow this plan?’ They understand the most harmful result and then decide if they can live with the outcome.
  • Rehearse the future as they see it. Successful people move towards the pictures they create in their ‘mind’s eye’. They rehearse coming actions or events as they ‘see’ them.

In an article by Johnny B. Truant writes: “Folks, I don’t have a formula for success, and there is no magic formula that will work every time. I’ll be blunt: If you believe you can be assured of success by buying some ‘guru’s product or consulting, or any one thing, you’re in for a rude awakening.”  The internet is filled with promises of: “Do what I do and say (and pay my price) and you’re guaranteed riches.” But it’s a lie. It’s all a big lie. “There is one — and only one — true formula for success that actually works. Get your pen ready, because here it comes: The one and only one true formula for success”:

  • Step 1: Try– something.
  • Step 2: Repeat Step 1— until the desired result is achieved.

In the article “Formula for Success” by Tolani Brendan Moseu writes: There are some principles of success that will always produce the same result when adhered to. My ‘formula for success’ is as follows: Formula for success = ‘your human capital (what you know)’ + ‘your social capital (who you know)’ + ‘your reputation (who trusts you)’.  This formula is summarized as follows: Business Success = ‘Applied Knowledge’ + ‘Relationships’ + ‘Trust’.

In an article “Einstein’s Formula for Success” by Pastor Tim Henry writes: The other day I printed out a paper called ‘Einstein’s Formula for Success’ by Ron White for my 11 year old son. Einstein has always been kind of a hero for him. People pick different heroes. My son picked Einstein.  And as a result, I have been able to teach him a number of valuable lessons about life by relating (Einstein humor here!) his life and theories to everyday situations.

This morning I found this quote about ‘not trying to be a success’… by Albert Einstein:  “Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value”. Einstein had a formula for most everything and this was his formula for ‘success’.  The formula goes like this:  If ‘A’ equal success, then the formula is: A=X+Y+Z. where; X is ‘work’, Y is ‘play’, Z is ‘keep your mouth shut’.  I know. It’s algebra. We’ll get through it. To get success, Einstein said that you measure each of the three elements…’work’,  ‘play’, ‘keep your mouth shut’, then you combine them in such a way to produce ‘success’.

Therefore; ‘A (Success)’ = 99% ‘Work (X)’ + 1%‘Play (Y)’ + 0% ‘Keep-your-mouth-shut (Z)’.  See, we’ve done it!  Does this mean ‘success’ for you: ‘Working 99% of the time…?  Playing 1% of the time…? Never shutting up? Although Einstein gave us this formula, he didn’t tell us what particular ‘mix’ was right for each of us. 

In an article The  4+2 Formula For Success by Tahl Raz writes: Why do some succeed while others fail? Nitin Nohria, Professor Harvard Business School, recently concluded an exhaustive study of 160 companies in 40 different industries over two five-year periods in an attempt to answer the most basic question in business: Why do some companies flourish/succeed while others fail?

The answer he found, is as ‘simple as 4+2’. Nohria and co-authors William Joyce and Bruce Roberson argue in the book ‘What Really Works: The 4+2 Formula for Sustained Business Success’, that success requires managers to implement four primary fundamental business practices; strategy, execution, culture, organization; and two of four secondary one; talent, leadership, innovation, mergers & partnerships. It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or what macroeconomic circumstances you face: Successful companies, Nohria says, invariably are those that employ ‘the 4+2 formula’.

In an articleSuccess Formula’ by Coach John G. Agno, he writes: Over the years, I have discovered success is powered by three things: know-how, reputation, network of contacts. That’s it. That’s the secret. Formula for success = ‘your human capital (what you know)’ + ‘your social capital (who you know)’ + ‘your reputation (who trusts you)’.

In an articleFormula for Success’ by Brian Tracy writes: You have to put in many, many tiny efforts that nobody sees or appreciates before you can achieve anything worthwhile or success.  You can be successful at anything that is important to you, if you focus on the little things that matter. The steps of the many little things are:

  • Step 1. Select an Issue: One of the most important things in your life in which you have a burning desire to be successful. 
  • Step 2. Identify the Little Things: List as many little things as you can think of that play a role in helping you achieve your desired results.
  • Step 3. Get Started: Organize and prioritize your list of these little things. 
  • Step 4. Give Your Best: Strive for excellence as you begin to focus on each item on your list. 
  • Step 5. Expand Your List: Continue to look for little things you can add to your list.

Accordingly to Andrew Carnegie to have business success; ‘aim high’ and believe that ‘your place is at the top’. ‘Then vow that you will reach that high position with an untarnished reputation; honest, truthful, fair-dealing and free from pernicious or equivocal associations…’ This is great, but the key question is: How does the person rise from a lower position to the position for which they aspire?

Carnegie says he has the secret, and it lies mainly in this: Instead of the question, ‘What must I do for my employer?’ substitute ‘What can I do?’ Carnegie says that faithful and conscientious discharge of the duties assigned you is all very well, but the verdict in such cases generally is that you perform your present duties so well that you had better continue performing them; now, this will not do.

He goes on to say; there must be something beyond this. The rising person must do something exceptional, and beyond the range of their regular dutiesThey must attract attention with extraordinary performance… for as Emerson says, “no one can cheat you out of ultimate success but yourself.”

“What we think or what we know or what we believe is, in the end, of little consequence. The only consequence is what we do” ~John Ruskin

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually fear that you will make one.” ~Elbert Hubbard

Stupidity in Business: A Fine-line Between “You’re Fired!” and “You’re Genius!”

 “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits”~ Albert Einstein

Stupidity is a quality or state of being stupid, or an act or idea that exhibits properties of being stupid. According to the online Merriam-Webster dictionary, the words “stupid” and “stupidity” entered the English language in 1541. Since then, stupidity has taken place along with “fool,” “idiot,” “dumb,” “moron,” and related concepts as a pejorative appellation for human misdeeds, whether purposeful or accidental, due to absence of mental capacity.

“Laws of Stupidity”: The economic historian Carlo Maria Cipolla is famous for his essays about human stupidity. The essay, “The Fundamental Laws of Human Stupidity”, explores the controversial subject of stupidity. Stupid people are seen as a group more powerful by far than major organizations or the industrial complex, which without regulations, leaders, or manifesto nonetheless manages to operate to great effect and with incredible coordination. These are Cipolla’s five fundamental laws of stupidity:

  1. Always and inevitably each of us underestimates the number of stupid individuals in circulation.
  2. The probability that a given person is stupid is independent of any other characteristic possessed by that person.
  3. A person is stupid if they cause damage to another person or group of people without experiencing personal gain, or even worse causing damage to themselves in the process.
  4. Non-stupid people always underestimate the harmful potential of stupid people; they constantly forget that at any time anywhere, and in any circumstance, dealing with or associating themselves with stupid individuals invariably constitutes a costly error.
  5. A stupid person is the most dangerous type of person there is.

The fool or buffoon has been a central character in much comedy. Alford and Alford found that humor based on stupidity was prevalent in “more complex” societies as compared to some other forms of humor. Some analysis of Shakespeare’s comedy has found that his characters tend to hold mutually contradictory positions; because this implies a lack of careful analysis it indicates stupidity on their part. Today there is a wide array of television shows that showcase stupidity…

In an article “Why Do People Do Bad Things?” by Chris MacDonald, Ph.D. writes: It’s an ancient question. Certainly, some people do bad things simply because they are bad people. Psychopaths and sociopaths exist, though thankfully they are very few. Whether those few should be classified as “evil,” or as “mentally ill,” or both, is not clear to me. Either way, they certainly have the capacity to do evil. But sometimes, surely — maybe quite often — people do bad things stupidly, rather than out of evil intent. “Hanlon’s Razor” is the name for an adage attributed to one Robert J. Hanlon. It says the following:

“Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity”.

Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone is capable of doing something immensely stupid. But everyone is also capable of learning from their blunders and making a fresh start. Yes, even the most thick-headed person has hope. Have you ever bungled something so bad that you actually felt ashamed? You might still wish that you could have that moment back to do things differently.

We all have those moments. And even the smallest mistakes can be upsetting. There is a way to recover. It takes learning and it takes smarts. If you use that error to make your future better, you just got a little smarter. So you might say that part of your intelligence and success comes from stupidity. Just don’t be stupid in the same way twice….

In the article “Should Your Best Customers Be Stupid” by Amy Edmondson writes: Take a hard look at your most profitable customers. Not the biggest, not the best, not the most satisfied: the most profitable. Then ask your colleagues: Do we make most of our profit margins from our “smartest” customers or from our “stupidest” ones? That is, does your firm capture the bulk of its profitability because your customers appreciate the value of what you do? Or because they’re (effectively) ignorant or ill-informed and your product and price positioning successfully exploit that?

The smartest/stupidest dichotomy is deliberately provocative. Because, really, how sustainable can a business dependent on customer stupidity really be? A popular advertising campaign once declared, “An educated consumer is our best customer.” But for many firms, the smarter customers become, the more discriminating and less profitable they might be. Conversely, there are professions, such as, neurosurgeon, criminal attorney, etc. where the smarter the customer is, the more likely they are willing to pay a premium for excellence…

But as insulting as it may be, the smartest/stupidest customer framing may be far more helpful to innovators and entrepreneurs than exhausted clichés about “good” versus “bad” customers or “early adopters” versus the “mainstream”. Profitability matters. How you and your colleagues perceive the source of those profits in the context of your customers’ “smarts” — or “stupids” — is enormously revealing. It’s an argument your organization probably needs to have.  Or am I just being stupid?

Tom Monaghan, Dominos Pizza, founder, is fond of saying, “I owe all my success to stupidity.” In reality, the emergence of Domino’s as a global pizza empire owes itself less to the fact that Monaghan didn’t know what he was doing, as to the fact that he was willing to take risks and gamble on ideas he couldn’t predict the odds or the outcome…

In the article “Creative Brilliance + Business Stupidity = The Nissan Barbie Ad” writes: One of the all time great commercials is the “Nissan Barbie” spot. It’s also one of the stupidest.  When discussing the spot, the ad agency’s creative director remarked, “I was just looking for something that could be dynamic. I couldn’t believe it when Nissan bought it.”

It’s no wonder he got excited. The spot generated awards for agency and earned the creative director a guest spot on Oprah. There was even talk about an animated television series based on the commercial. According to the creative director, Nissan executives instructed him, “Let’s do something different, let’s break the rules”. To a creative person, that’s as close to nirvana as it gets.

Nissan hired a marketing research company to test the spot, but the research firm asked the wrong questions. The research firm asked if people liked the spot. Of course they liked the spot. It’s great. It’s highly entertaining. “It’s also hugely ineffective”; a Nissan dealer commented at the time, “Yeah, it’s cute, and everyone’s talking about it. The ad, featuring Nissan’s 300Z car, started running in August 1996. However, Nissan ceased production of the Z in 1996 and didn’t resume production until the launch of the 350Z in 2002!

“Can you freaking believe an ad agency would spend $1 million producing an ad that’s the centerpiece of a $200 million campaign that features an obsolete product (300Z car)?”

In the blog “Grand Stupidity and Absurd Bravery in High Performance” by Joe Calloway writes: This may seem incredibly counterintuitive, but top performers are the ones who seem to act with grand stupidity and absurd bravery. They make choices that others don’t make. They try things without knowing whether or not they’ll work. They often refuse to play it safe and they sometimes seem ridiculous and audacious. What I’ve just described is the behavior of an innovator.

Innovation means you go first. Innovation means you have to try things without knowing whether you’ll succeed or not. Innovation takes courage, sometimes even absurd bravery. It also takes a willingness to let go of what used to work; what has always worked; and everything that made you successful up to this point. It means acting with an attitude of grand stupidity that says “I don’t know what works. So let’s find out.”

The big question in business used to be “What have you done for me lately?” Today we’re not so interested in what happened “lately” anymore. Today we’re interested in what happens next. We have truly become an “I want it yesterday” society and we have no patience for what we judge to be unnecessary waiting. “If you make me wait, you lose”…

In the article “How Can Someone So Smart Be So Stupid?” by Kurt Kleiner writes: We do stupid things and we should know better, for example… People buy high and sell low: They believe their horoscope: They bet it all on black because black is due: They super-size their fries and order the diet Coke: They talk on a cell-phone while driving: They bet that a financial bubble will never burst…. Even smart people are not perfect…

Sometimes mistakes do happen…If the person is humble, he/she will accept responsibility and apologize. Then, you really know the person is smart! Intelligence by itself doesn’t make you rational. Thinking rationally demands mental skills that some of us don’t have and many of us don’t use.

“There is a narrow set of cognitive skills that we track that are called intelligence. But that’s not the same as intelligent behavior in the real world”. How we define and measure intelligence has been controversial since at least 1904, when Charles Spearman proposed that a “general intelligence factor” underlies all cognitive function. Others argue that intelligence is made up of many different cognitive abilities…

In the  book “What Intelligence Tests Miss: The Psychology of Rational Thought” by Keith E. Stanovich, he proposes a whole range of cognitive abilities and dispositions independent of intelligence that have at least as much to do with whether we think and behave rationally. In other words, you can be intelligent without being rational. And you can be a rational thinker without being especially intelligent (or stupid)…

In the book “The Encyclopedia of Stupidity by Matthijs Van Boxsel writes: Stupidity is motivating. Without it, we would have little in the way of progress, success or civilization, which in his contrarian view is nothing more than ”a series of more or less abortive attempts to come to grips with the self-destructive folly found in all countries and at all times.” Stupidity is not the same as a lack of intelligence — though precisely what it is is not always clear. ”It’s a quality all its own”.

Our culture is the result of a series of failed attempts to understand our own stupidity. Stupidity is the foundation of our civilization.  ”On the one hand, stupidity poses a daily threat to civilization,” he writes. ”On the other hand, it constitutes the mystical foundation of our existence. For if man was not to fall victim to his own stupidity, he had to develop his intelligence.” ”Stupidity is the engine that drives our society.”

In the blog “Smart People Should Do Stupid Stuff” by David Wurtz writes:  I once met a man that made over $1,000,000 per year selling bowling balls on the Internet.  I asked him how he had built such a fantastic business. I was looking for this guy’s secret sauce. Was he a marketing guru, a tenacious entrepreneur that didn’t give up, saw an opportunity earlier than most? None of the above. He was an average guy, with below average technical skills.

He hired 2 kids to work out of his garage to build his website… So,“If he can do it, so can I“. It’s two years later, and I now make a decent sum of money selling “TV wall mounts” on the Internet. This is an area I can proudly say all of my fellow over-achievers have overlooked. But don’t fret. The world is full of more stupid things to do.

The truth is, any endeavor, no matter how seemingly trivial, can benefit from an incisive mind taking a good, hard look. And almost any endeavor can be intellectually gratifying. You may be surprised to know that most people don’t apply scientific method to their efforts, or even possess the reasoning skills or patience to achieve greatness.

This puts you and your well-honed cerebral apparatus, at an incredible advantage. In the real world, you’re no longer competing with your fellow geniuses at the school science fair…you’re competing with your typical neighbor…

Success isn’t only found in the complex, intellectual achievements.  Sometimes it’s found in more obvious, less sexy places. If people call you stupid, you could be on to something big!  Whether it’s a risk or a hunch or a gut feeling, if you know it will work, ignore the voices you hear because, soon, instead of stupid you will hear– that’s super…bet the farm. So, go ahead…take the next step–Be Stupid…

    “If Stupidity got us into this mess, then why can’t it get us out?” ~Will Rogers

Formula for Success: Really?

A Google search on the word, “Success” brings up more than 78,400,000 sites. Nearly 80 Million!  That says people are interested in success . . . and in having more of it. Regardless of what success means to you, and in what areas (financial, emotional, social, spiritual, physical, etc.), it’s within your reach, and a lot closer than you might think.

In mathematics, a formula is a fact, rule, or principle that is expressed in terms of mathematical symbols. In other words a formula is simple a recipe, thus will always give the same results always when followed properly. In this sense therefore the formula for success should always leads to one thing-SUCCESS. However, it is a well known fact that some people like to take some shortcuts and thus a recipe doesn’t normally produce the same results always.

The quest for success and the search for the golden ring have given us many “formula for success” and a few of the more interesting ones are as follows:


In an article by Johnny B. Truant, noted blogger and entrepreneur, he writes “I don’t have a formula for success. Folks, there is no magic formula that will work every time. I’ll be blunt: If you believe you can buy some “guru’s” product or my consulting, or any one thing — and be assured of success, you’re in for a rude awakening.” “The internet is filled with promises of; Do what I do and say (and pay my price) and you’re guaranteed riches.” But it’s a lie. It’s all a big lie. “There is one — and only one — true formula for success that actually works. Get your pen ready, because here it comes:”

The one and only one true formula for success

  1. Try.
  2. Repeat step 1 until the desired result is achieved.

“If things you’re currently trying fail, just get back up, dust yourself off, and try again.”


In the article ‘Formula for Success’ by Tolani Brendan Moseu he writes; “there are some principles of success (success is the maximum utilization of the ability that you have) that will always produce the same result when adhered to. My ‘Formula for Success is as follows:

“The formula for success = your human capital (what you know) times your social capital (who you know) times your reputation (who trusts you).”

This formula can be summarized as follows:


The following quote explains the formula in a nutshell:

You can have everything in life that you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want. — Zig Ziglar


In an article ‘Einstein’s Formula for Success’ by Pastor Tim Henry, he writes; “the other day I printed out a paper called Einstein’s Formula for Success by Ron White for my 11 year old son. Einstein has always been kind of a hero for him. People pick different heroes. My son picked Einstein.  And as a result, I have been able to teach him a number of valuable lessons about life by relating (Einstein Humor here!) his life and theories to everyday situations. This morning I found this quote about not trying to be a success…by Albert Einstein.

“Try not to become a man of success but rather try to become a man of value.” — Albert Einstein

Einstein has this formula for Success. He had a formula for most everything…except where to find a comb, apparently. And the formula goes like this: Einstein said,

If ‘A’ equals success, then the formula is: A=X+Y+Z. where; X is work, Y is play, Z is keep your mouth shut.”

I know. I Know. It’s algebra. But it’s not quantum physics or anything. We’ll get through it…here…take my hand…. ‘A’ is success. And to get success, ultimately, Einstein said that you needed the sum total of three elements. First, you measure each of the three elements…work;  play;  keep your mouth shut….and you combine them in such a way to produce ‘A’ (success). Easy enough.

99 parts WORK (X) + 1 part PLAY (Y) + 0 parts SILENCE (Z) = A (Success).

See…we’ve done it!  Except…is that Success to you? Working 99 percent of the time…? Never shutting up????  So although Einstein gave us this formula, he didn’t tell us what particular ‘mix’ was right for each of us. 


In an article ‘The  4+2 Formula For Success’ by Tahl Raz, he  writes: “Why do some succeed while others fail? Author Nitin Nohria says he’s found the answer. The Harvard Business School professor, Nitin Nohria, recently concluded an exhaustive study of 160 companies in 40 different industries over two five-year periods in an attempt to answer the most basic question in business: Why do some companies flourish while others fail?

The answer, he found, is as ‘simple as 4+2’. Success, Nohria and co-authors William Joyce and Bruce Roberson argue in the new book ‘What Really Works: The 4+2 Formula for Sustained Business Success’, requires managers to implement four primary fundamental business practices;

“The 4+2 formula”: strategy, execution, culture, organization; and two of four secondary ones –talent, leadership, innovation, mergers & partnerships.

It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in or what macroeconomic circumstances you face: Successful companies, Nohria says, invariably are those that employ the “4+2 formula.”                                    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

In an article ‘Formula To Achieve Success’ by Patric Chan, entrepreneur, he writes; “The formula is simple. When you are working, you must have in mind that ultimately what you want to achieve from your job or business is this: Workless, earn more.  Here’s the formula: 

“Assuming you are working 8 hours a day and you are getting ‘X’ result (X can be any amount of money you are getting now.)  Where most people failed to achieve success is,

they try to earn X + Y (Y can be any amount of extra money you want to get) without finding a way to workless first. In another words, finding a way to work less while still getting ‘X’ result.  In a nutshell;”

First step: Work 8 hours (or whatever your existing working hours are) and get X result. 

Second step:  Find ways to work 6 hours (workless) and still get X result. 

Third step: Work 8 hours again but get X + Y results. 

“Once you achieve this, your next step is to find ways on how to achieve X + Y results by working only 6 hours instead of 8 hours. Once you find that, only than you can think about getting Z result (Z can be any amount of extra money you want to have). So, repeat the whole process: Once you achieve this, congratulations. “


In an article ‘Success Formula’ by Coach John G. Agno, he writes; “Over the years, I have discovered success is powered by three things: know-how, reputation and a network of contacts. That’s it. That’s the secret.

The formula for success = your human capital (what you know) times your social capital (who you know) times your reputation (who trusts you).


In an article ‘Formula for Success’ by Brian Tracy, one of the great personal development teachers, he writes “You have to put in many, many, many tiny efforts that nobody sees or appreciates before you can achieve anything worthwhile.”

Step 1.  Select an Item: Select one of the most important things in your life in which you have a burning desire to be successful. 

Step 2.  Identify the Little Things: Make a list of as many little things as you can think of that will play a role in helping you achieve your desired results.

Step 3.  Get Started: Organize and prioritize your list of these little things. 

Step 4.  Give Your Best: Strive for excellence as you begin to focus on each item on your list. 

Step 5.  Expand Your List: Continue to look for little things you can add to your list.

You can be successful at anything that is important to you, if you will focus on the little things that matter.


In an article ‘The Formula for Success’ by Keji Giwa, internationally, recognized expert in career and personal success, he writes; “Failure is only a word, how you see it determines its effects on you” Now remember this: Success is always a constant which is equal to 1. Success = 1 (Always a constant). I will prove this to you soon.

The formula for Success is = (Trial – Failure) to the power of ‘e’; Where ‘e’ = Experience!1. Let failure be your compass.
2. Always remember, rejection is not personal, it is direction.
3. If I try today and fail, I am one step closer to my glory because my failed attempts actually count towards my success formula.

“If I told you that it will take a 1000 failed attempts before you became a billionaire, would you stop at the 998th attempt? Change your mind-set today”

“Failure is the best thing that ever happened to me because when I prepare for failure, I avoid it, learn from it, and then succeed!”

In an article ‘formula for success’ the author writes;  “Playing to your strengths in business is where your profits lie—but how do you focus on those strengths that will make you money? It’s a question that has baffled businesses for hundreds of years until economist and sociologist Vilfredo Pareto spotted a recurring pattern in his studies in 1906. From his observations he developed a potent business formula that empowers managers to improve the fortunes of their businesses.”

“Like all good rules, it’s short, sharp to the point. It states that 80% of our results come from 20% of our activity.

That’s it! Applying this formula to your business will help you save time, effort, and resources—plus make you money as well.”