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What makes individuals successful?

Mar 13, 2018

I am very interested in what makes individuals successful. It is fascinating to investigate behaviours that determine whether someone is effective in their job, career or in their business.

I have been employed for most of my professional career by both large and small organisations, and in between these periods I have set up and run a number of small businesses. In the actual roles I performed I always had an interest in understanding and identifying the patterns of behaviour that contributed to people’s success; either as employees or as business people.

I have no doubt that I am not the only person that have come across people in senior roles and really questioning how they had achieved that, on the other side of the coin I have met people running successful businesses with virtually no recognisable experience or skill. As this interest me I invest time into inspiring methodology such as the “Seven habits of highly successful people”, and who hasn’t been lured at least once by one or the other web advertisements on how to be super successful and never working another day in your life…

For every theory of success there seems to be a different perspective on the qualities and behaviours that would lead an individual to become successful. To further confuse the issue, I also meet people who seem to have these traits but never manage to attain the heights that their talents might suggest.

As I spent more and more time thinking about this I have come to recognise an underlying pattern. The individuals who were successful over a long period of time achieved because they were able to maintain their usefulness to the company or people that were paying them. This might seem like such an obvious observation, but it does however expose the idiosyncrasy of some employment decisions; why people of seemingly lesser talent achieve promotions beyond their apparently more able colleagues and why the most unlikely of people are running very successful businesses.

I have narrowed this down to two key qualities I found ALL successful people I have ever met demonstrate very definitively. They are INVENTIVE and they are PRODUCTIVE.

I will define that further, inventiveness is the ability to find ways of dealing with the unknown, the uncertain, the unfamiliar, the unexpected and the obstacles that get in the way of your objectives. Productiveness is the ability to be inventive in a way that serves a market, an organisation, a boss, a team etc.

I will leave you with a quote that I have found very inspiring: People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves, they have the first secret of success. ~ Norman Vincent Peale


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