Dynamics of Success

Originally published
Originally published: 2/1/2014

People simply notice success wherever and whenever it takes place.

In order to truly understand and maintain the principals of long-standing success, one must first grasp the fundamental concept that success is not based on individual performance, but rather the commitment to success through teamwork. This is a very easy concept to grasp in theory, but the failing and difficulty for most is in the application of success through teamwork.

Let’s look at the dynamics of personal success first.   Personal success is just what it says it is – personal.  One achieves success on their own merits and takes responsibility for their own performance. Most, if not all, successful people prove themselves worthy of additional responsibilities by their singular performance on a team. As we learned in the previous article, success never goes unnoticed by others. This same rule holds true for you individually as well as it does for your team or company. People simply notice success wherever and whenever it takes place.

One of the great mistakes made in business, or any organization as far as that goes, is a belief that if one is successful, or a high performer, then they have the ability to instill that in those they are charged to lead. The thinking is simplistic.   “Just duplicate what you do.” Well the reality of it is that personal success does not just translate to the skill set and leadership necessary to duplicate success through others. The key word in this is through. This is actually just the opposite of what brought individual success in the first place.   Individual performance and competency brought about initial success. But the bottom line here is that individual performance is not a predictor of successful leadership, teaching and coaching of others. It’s actually quite the opposite.

This is not easy to come to grips with, but the fact is that you cannot look at your own skill sets as the benchmark for the success of others.  We often hear new managers who have experienced individual success complain about their team members who “don’t get it…and it’s not that hard…and what’s their problem anyway.”  It’s really quite simple. They don’t possess the same natural skill sets as the newly successful manager.  And the tendency is to hold people accountable for performance they are not naturally inclined to possess. We must also always realize that, we, as leaders, can’t put in to the person what God left out. Each individual has their own unique skill set and it is our job to find how their unique skill set can equate to both their personal success as well as corporate success. Just remember that not everyone is like you so their coaching will need to be tailored to their strengths, not yours. Just make sure you work to place people in positions where they can succeed with their skill set and not where they can’t succeed with their skill set.

The new task is to transform the new manager from a successful individual performer to a skilled team leader.  They first have to see the world through a larger scope.  Let’ say, for example, that you were a top producer in your field of expertise. You individually developed and created for the company $1M in new annual sales revenue. This is not only a big deal to you individually but to the company as well. This is the point where you must transform your thinking and broaden your scope. Think of the possibilities if you could lead, train and coach three people on your team to produce $1M in new annual revenue for the company. By my math that is $3M of new business. And what if you were able to then lead, train and coach four mid-performers to be 10 percent better. The point is that with a commitment to team success comes much greater fruits over what any individual can ever produce. The same principals holds true for every department that makes up a company. Sales generating groups are much easier to quantify but, again, all of the same rules apply. You find ways to lead, train and coach the team to higher performance which in turn brings success through teamwork.

Leaders and department managers that focus on individual success rather than successful teamwork create silos in the organization, as we discussed in past articles. Remember, silos are a manifestation of selfishness and are the antithesis of teamwork. In order to truly capitalize on the company’s full potential, managers must embrace success through teamwork. If not, the company becomes static and success is diminished.

One other risk  in not embracing success through teamwork is individual burnout. As we learned in our last series on Purposeful Leadership, command and control will not survive long-term since the one trying to control it all and do it all will not be able to keep up with additional organizational growth. Again, no one really wins in the end. The company stalls. The individual becomes frustrated. Employees are not engaged because there is no future.

Just remember that you are no longer in the business of business... You are in the people development business. Make those around you great! 

Wade Mayfield is president of Thermal Services, Inc., Omaha, NE, an hvacr firm with over 100 employees. Wade is both a student and practitioner of the management skills necessary to sustain company growth, empower managers and employees and build a wealth of happy and satisfied customers.  This series shares some of the basic practices of Wade’s management philosophy. 

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