The One Thing That Determines Success

What is the one thing that determines your success?

Google for it, and the top answers will probably be:

  • positive attitude,
  • action,
  • discipline,

followed by “trust”, “leadership”, “networking”, “team”,” good timing”, “determination” …  and many other good words.

Do you see a profound gap here, both on the individual and on the organizational level?

Multiple times I observed this gap as a consultant and as a coach, but somehow I thought that it was exactly because of this deficiency that I had been invited to help. I worked with wonderful, knowledgeable individuals, who would instantly list “positive attitude”, “discipline”, and even spell correctly this word “conscientiousness” – but nevertheless admit that their personal and organizational success leaves much to be desired.

And nobody would give me the answer I was waiting for.

Once I was talking about success with a department manager in a large corporation, just in front of the wall on which the answer was printed in big beautiful letters, supported by some engaging MS-Office clip art.

Your Mission Statement.

This is where the roadmap of your business is leading to. This is what all your dashboards and KPIs roll up into. And this is routinely ignored or ridiculed by the staff, even if the mission statement had been laboriously conceived by the “leaders” during an off-site workshop, but then subsequently washed away by “real business” and urgent ‘issues’.

Not surprisingly, if there is no commitment at the top, why the frontline would bother with this esoteric knowledge when they are motivated to demonstrate a sense of urgency, positive attitude, and discipline? No wonder these items come at the top of your search results.

My staunch conviction is that the mission statement is what every organization must define and publicly accept if they are serious about their business. It is a difficult and often unrewarding step, but all performance improvement initiatives are not going to bring sustainable results if there is no overarching goal that everyone is committed to.

Similarly, if you are assessing your personal success and thinking of the next step – stop and ask yourself: What is my mission on earth?

 “If you don’t know where you are going any road can take you there”

Your personal mission statement is worth thinking about if by ‘success’ you mean achieving your goals. Of course, you will have multiple goals, but, with the overarching goal — or Purpose — defined, they will all be aligned, and your road to success will be straight and therefore short.

It may take years to embrace the idea and to come up with a worthy Purpose, to understand the mission that has been given to you by the Creator. Otherwise, it will be a long and winding road to nowhere.