The secret of success revealed: it’s hard work! There you are.
Now mix it with healthy ambition. And now make it work in an environment in which hard work is the norm, so this is imitated, copied, multiplied.
Healthy ambition is the baseline. Carry on and do well, is today, the unsustainable scenario. I often present to clients a slide with different curves. One showing a rocketing trajectory, another is a plateau, another a visible decline, another a peak and then it goes down quickly, and another a moderate climbing.
I ask clients then to tell me which curve represents the company best. Just seeing the disparity of answers is revealing and always my starting point for the leadership conversation.
Regardless of their answers, I often inject a second question: which point or which graph they think is the most dangerous one. It is quite typical to get a reply such as, of course, the one showing decline. I always push back at some point and share my views: the most dangerous for me is the plateau curve. The one in decline represents a situation so obviously bad that it’s likely to trigger some reaction. The plateau however, may represent zero ambition but carrying on, without even realising it. A recipe for prolonged agony.
Plateau is the enemy. Hard work to move out that curve, is the remedy.
Barack Obama said: ‘We need to steer clear of this poverty of ambition, where people want to drive fancy cars and wear nice clothes and live in nice apartments but don’t want to work hard to accomplish these things. Everyone should try to realise their full potential.’
And when this is the spirit, wonders come along and visit. And stay.
Luck is overrated. Passion is overrated. Hard work is underrated. So démodé. So ‘this is what our parents did’.
Working hard leads to Out-of-Plateau, leads to luck coming in, leads to success, leads to being proud, then passionate and then it gets even better.
We all know about all these ingredients, I am just challenging the order of cooking. Just a bit.
Dr Leandro Herrero is the CEO and Chief Organization Architect of The Chalfont Project, an international firm of organizational architects. He is the pioneer of Viral ChangeTM, a people Mobilizing Platform, a methodology that delivers large scale behavioural and cultural change in organizations, which creates lasting capacity for changeability.
Dr Herrero is also an Executive Fellow at the Centre for the Future of Organization, Drucker School of Management. An international speaker, Dr Herrero is available for virtual speaking engagements and can be reached at: The Chalfont Project.