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 non sustainable scenario. I often present to clients a slide with different curves. One showing a rocketing trajectory, another is a plateau, another a visible going down to death, 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 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 going down. I always push back at some point and share my views: the most dangerous for me is the plateau curve. The one going down represents a situation so obviously bad that is likely to trigger some reaction. The plateau however may represent zero ambition and carrying on, without even realizing it. A recipe for prolonged agony
Plateau is the enemy. Hard work to move out that curve, 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 realize 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’.
Work 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.