People talk about wanting to be successful and they will compare themselves with others on this premise.
The critical question however is, how clearly can those same people identify what their true success is?
For some, success is measured by material possessions, by income, by financial measures.
One person I worked with measured his success in financial and material terms in order to be able to define his superiority when compared with his very working class schoolmates.
There is a catch though, while recognising that everyone has the right to identify what success means for them.
What if you spend your life working to achieve so-called success as defined by others, by society’s expectations, only to discover at some point that what you thought was success is inconsistent with your values?
What might be the level of regret if you discover that you have been chasing some success that really is not all that valuable or important to you?
As this new year starts, it would be valuable to spend some time reflecting on what your most important values are, and from there, identify what real success would look like.
Exactly the same applies to teams and organisations.
There are plenty of examples of businesses that have measured success by share value.
No other success measure like making a difference for people and communities
Think Enron, amongst others. What do you think their ‘why’ was?
There is equal evidence of organisations whose focus, whose success measure is the impact they can have on people, community, country, the globe.
Not only do their people buy into this version of success, but they are more highly engaged and the financial result flow from this.
Don’t be the 40 something middle manager in a corporate who recently confided that he has spent 20 years climbing some mythical corporate ladder, only to get to the point where his kids are leaving home as young adults, and he has missed out on a good chunk of their lives.
He had realised that actually his values were different from those he has spent many years and a lot of time, energy and effort pursuing, taking him away from building deep connections with his family.
The very thing he now realises is most important in his life.
Time for thoughtful reflection perhaps, so, for those of us in the southern hemisphere, go find a beach (which is not to stop those in the north doing likewise).