Problems with Success
When building a team, business, or organisation the ultimate goal is to be successful at whatever it is you are working towards. At this point in time everyone is working hard, they are humble, they are working on ideas and thinking of new ones, and they take some risks. It is a time of excitement and everyone is willing to make sacrifices to achieve the goals they have set for themselves and their team.
Once a team or business starts to become, or do become successful is where the real work starts in my opinion. It is great to be successful. Success breeds success, as they say. The thing is staying there. You have to make sure you keep the work ethic, drive, and desire that got you there in the first place.
It is very easy to let things slide by and become complacent. Some people may even become arrogant and fall in love with themselves and what they do. If this starts to happen you are already on the downward slide and it is just a matter of time until the competition surpasses you.
You see this in sport so often. A team who wins a premiership really struggles to play with the same intensity the following season. They are satisfied. They have just achieved their ultimate goal, for some a lifelong goal they had dreamed about as kids. They are happy about their success and become complacent and forget about all the small things they done in the previous years to get them to that level to be successful. Things that used to be addressed and were big issues are now allowed to slide.
The other type of scenario is one where a business fails to innovate. They are successful but they refuse to change. The innovative thinking stops and they try to protect their position rather than continue moving forward. They begin resting on their laurels. The very things that got them to the top are forgotten.
I love going to small businesses where there is that feel of belonging. At this point in time that business has a culture, it has heart, it has feeling, it cares about its people, and the people care about it. It is a feeling of togetherness, a group of people with a mission and only a few know about it. That is my ultimate feeling for a business. The downside of this is that the more success that business has, the more it starts to chip away at that feeling. They stop spending as much time as they once did with the individuals who made them successful and the culture and feel of the place dissipates. Obviously people want to and need to make money but you have to define what success is to you and work out ways to keep that feeling while still making a living. You might get more work but now you are actually working whereas before you were living your dream sharing a passion with a group of like-minded people.
When you start making money as a business or winning in the athletic arena, don’t get sloppy. Stay humble and stay hungry. Continue pushing boundaries and continue improving, add more value, or play faster and harder. Once you stop doing the things that made you successful is the moment you will slide back down.
So while it is true “success breeds success” the opposite is also true as Richard Carrion says “nothing fails like success”.