The Oxford definition of Success – “The accomplishment of an aim or purpose”. Just below this in a bullet point it is quick to add – “ The attainment of fame, wealth, or social status.”
I was slightly shocked and amused at the same time to read this quick addition! Success is a very broad term and often relates to the context which we are referring it in. Success to a student is totally a different story compared to what success means to maybe an athlete. What I am talking about here today is Professional Success. In the past 2 decades after having stunts of being in and out of this corporate jungle, having met various types of professionals , I may not be a maestro at this but I think I am capable enough to express my opinions on what professional success should actually be. What needs to be done and more importantly… not done … to make sure you are at least close if not there completely. A few pointers based on my journey and experience …
What professional success is usually judged by :
* A huge turnover
* Large number of Human Resources
* Plush Offices all across the geography
* CEO invited to important conferences
* Capacity of the organisation to have a huge marketing budget which allows it to have sprawling ads in the most popular dailies
* IPO Listing!
And so on and so forth …
Having worked for all types and sizes of companies from the dingiest of rooms to the swankiest of skyscrapers.. to working from home for someone somewhere in a remote area of Portugal… I feel privileged to have seen it all! And looking back, the best times were ….when I was going clickety click on my keyboard, sitting comfortably on a swing in my balcony coding in a new programming language I had just learnt .. as a consultant to a client abroad whom I had never seen, just spoken on the phone .. I think my most successful achievement as a professional was that project which I did as a single professional for a single entrepreneur. There was no big organizational entity anywhere, there were no plush offices, there was no huge turnover but there was a huge consultant fee which was mine and only mine for the keeps !! This client’s word of mouth recommendations got me more work, adulation and money. I also had the comfort of working for my own self, in the organised way that I want. For me that was professional success.. a job well done!
So then, why is it that the world defines success by plush offices and large turnovers (which are actually zero profits). I am not changing the definition of the world here, but what I am trying to bring to the book is that success goes deeper than that! Yes, all the tangible material aspects of success are important to boost one’s morale but just that without certain core elements cannot and should not be defined as success. Some of the core elements according to me ..
* Client appreciation.. a pat on your back ….. not just a client testimonial . A testimonial which comes from the heart, not because you have requested him that you would come to his place on a day or time and he should speak good about you since you need it to boost your business
* Happy employees who not only talk good about you on your face but behind your back to others. They don’t call you a mentor .. they treat you as a role model and imitate you unknowingly . They don’t have to be forced to work overnight or on weekends, they do it themselves coz they love what they do
* Systematic processes in each element of your work . Unorganised work ultimately reflect clearly on the end result !
* Sensible business expenditures. Frugality for your own self , never for your employees. I would rather have one employee less rather than having a ton, but being able to give them the employee welfare that they so deserve.
* Constant learning and training yourself and your colleagues. Ad-hoc sessions over the day in a coffee shop more than formal expensive inductions
* Accepting new changes and imbibing them on your organisational culture. You won’t have to force your people to adopt them, they will love to do it coz they know their personal growth is associated with it too !
* Talking less and being a role model by rolling up your sleeves once in a while and getting down to the grind with your people to show them how it’s done.. by being a living example than just being a motivational speaker
* Sometimes letting your employees make mistakes and learn is the best way to teach them something
* Micromanage or not – that’s been an age old debate which managers of the universe can’t stop talking enough about. My mantra after a lot of learning and observing- if things seem to go fine, there is no need to micromanage. But if things are going on a roller coaster ride, time to roll up those sleeves again and get to the root of the problem. At all times, keep out a watchful eye for systems and processes broken to achieve deadlines. Nip these practices in the bud so that they don’t become a habit. That way they are not broken .. not because they know that there is a lurking watchful eye but because not breaking them has become a habit.
At the end of it all, my strong feeling says that if you do these things right , the plush offices , high profits, IPO listings will just fall into your lap. The vision and the mission should be setting these small things right .. the cliches will happen automatically as an after effect of these small things set right! But getting IPO listings without these small important elements in place will be success as the world defines it … but not what you know deep down inside as success. Superficial success – yes! But spiritual success – No!
Work for a cause.. not applause
Live a life to express ..not to impress
Don’t strive to make your presence felt ..
Do things that make your absence felt
And that my friend, will be real success !!!