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You Gotta Be

Success.  Love that word.  Fraught with meaning.  Many a dream has been realized or demolished against the measure of success.  It’s what everyone CEO wants to deliver to his/her board of directors.  It’s what every publicly traded company wants to deliver to its stockholders.  Success.

We spend millions trying to find it or create it.  We reinvent wheels.  We look to find secrets  that will help to shorten the time it takes to achieve it.  We look for quick results.  We want to have an impact that will generate revenue.

Having been able to sit with many CEO’s over my years, I have heard variations on the pursuit of success, but all of it basically boiling down to these points.  And what I have often considered is that success is like dieting or getting into shape.

We buy the latest series for weight loss.  We join gyms.  We get up before the crack of dawn to do boot camp in the park.  We bike, hike, take pills and drink shakes.  We’ve worn leg warmers with Jane Fonda, sweat to the oldies with Richard Simmons, Tae Bo’d with Billy Blanks, Pilate’d, P90X’d, Insanity’d.  We cleanse, eat organic, say no to carbs, say no to fats, say no to dairy, say no to red meat.  The exercise, fitness and diet industries are multi-billion dollar industries.

And yet, in the US, we are the most obese population ever.  Curious.

Success seems to be the same.  We commit to so much to make our companies excel.  We hire consultants, fire consultants, post new mission statements, develop incentive-based compensation plans.  I am not saying this is all for naught.  I will be the first one to tout the values of knowing where you want to get to and leading that team with conviction.

What we ought not to do is join the fitness program at Exhale Spa, buy a new outfit from LuluLemon, workout for a week or two, get tired of it, make excuses, grow fat, be disappointed in our efforts (or lack thereof) and then look for the next quick fix.  Success is built on the pain of consistency and failure.

Our capabilities are real.  We should encourage the greatness that lies within each of us; the full effect of that will be realized within an organization.  These are not mere words, but rather a call to action.  As leaders we must engage a concept of success that is realistic.  Set the foundation with mission and vision, lay framework with expectations and accountability, add components of structure with trial, collaboration, skills and communication.  These components are refined over time.

Success is rarely overnight.  Success is not a destination but a journey.  Once success is “achieved,” you have to start at it again tomorrow.  Every day, you gotta be ready for what the call to success asks for – consistency, excellence, commitment and sweat!

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