Harvard Business Review: Nine Things Successful People Do Differently

In an article for the Harvard Business Review, Heidi Grant Halvorson writes:

Why have you been so successful in reaching some of your goals, but not others? If you aren’t sure, you are far from alone in your confusion. It turns out that even brilliant, highly accomplished people are pretty lousy when it comes to understanding why they succeed or fail. The intuitive answer — that you are born predisposed to certain talents and lacking in others — is really just one small piece of the puzzle. In fact, decades of research on achievement suggests that successful people reach their goals not simply because of who they are, but more often because of what they do.

The details of each item can be found here: Harvard Business Review.  I didn’t exerpt the entire article, because I don’t copy and paste people’s work. The nine items listed are as follows:

1. Get specific

My response: I’ve assumed that goals I’ve accomplished didn’t require specificity. Yet, now that I think of it, when I was specific (even down to the date of achievement) I got what I wanted. So I will go back to my list(s) and include details.

2. Seize the moment to act on your goals

My response: That is so correct. The years can fly by, especially in my case, when one doesn’t jump on the ball. Even acting on it a few minutes a day gets the goal(s) accomplished.

3. Know exactly how far you have left to go

My response: This is a great project management point: Where am I in achieving this goal(s)?

4. Be a realistic optimistic

My response: So I cannot be a billionaire and master of all domains? Dang. I’ll take off a few zeroes, that should do the trick. 🙂

5. Focus on getting better, rather than being good

My response: I don’t see myself as a perfectionist. Yet I do get into that mindset of “it has to be much much better than this” and as a result nothing will get started or finished.

6. Have grit

My response: I’m a wimp sometimes. Gotta work on that. 🙂

7. Build your willpower muscle

My response: Still wimpy.

8. Don’t tempt fate

My response: No! But I’m different! I’m not like everyone else. I’m special! The rules of reality don’t apply to me. 🙂

9. Focus on what you will do, not what you won’t do

My response: That is perfect. I think a lot of us spend too much time and mental energy on what (or who) we don’t like. I think the hardest thing to do is keep your mind engaged on the positive. Focusing too much on the negative drains your energy, drains your spirit, and then nothing gets done.

Harvard Business Review: http://blogs.hbr.org/cs/2011/02/nine_things_successful_people.html

Spring Cleaning

It’s coming! Time to clean out the cobwebs from our mental and emotional closets! 🙂


Business Failures: Contempt for Customers

The number 1 reason why businesses fail: contempt for customers, often translated and dressed up as falling sales, or loss of revenue. It probably used to take over 10, maybe even 50 years, before it completely collapsed, but today I don’t think that is feasible. Word of mouth travels too fast today.

Companies can spend as much as they like to keep good face. Money will be misallocated on public relations, campaign contributions, sweet talking and bribing big media people to lace every “report” with hyped talking points, and getting writers to spread positive, albeit ridiculous and nonsensical, counter points electronically, or in whatever medium they can flood.

However, nothing matches the fine fury of a person(s) who feels pissed off, gypped, robbed, and treated like fecal matter by a company. And the larger the organization, guarantees the hotter the raging inferno of consumer discontent.

Customer complaints are not hard to find. Before I make an expensive purchase, I review the angriest comments first. I always do. I don’t look at complimentary words: I suspect they were bought and paid for. If the story is reasonable, I take them into consideration. It does not mean that I would be dissuaded from making the purchase, but it fits into the aspect of “buyer beware.”

Fix It, Don’t Suppress It

Companies should embrace consumer complaints, and not try to snuff out, or execute, the people making them. Of course, there are people who are miserable about anything and are vindictive. However, if there’s a pattern, they should fix the issue, and stop hiding from it. A re-evaluation of the organization – top to bottom – should not be just a management fad, but an endeavor to help it survive long term.

I’ve worked for enough companies to realize that a lot of employees are not encouraged, or motivated, to function at anything besides the most basic, lowest, borderline level of service, competence, or concern about their work. They are as dismayed by management insouciance as the customers they have to interact with. If employees are indifferent, hostile or contemptuous they are only reflecting the incentives and culture cultivated by upper management.

Government Cannot Save Them

So, my feeling is this: the use of all these government funds, our tax dollars, to rescue failed or failing corporations is a waste of time, money, resources, and cripples future sentiment among the public to assist other organizations. No matter how much a portion of the economy a failed company claims to have, and it could be due solely to monopoly practices and political bribes, if it is dysfunctional, stagnant, contemptuous of its consumers, and poorly run – there will never be enough money to save it.