In the February 2013 edition of Inc. Magazine, 11 top business leaders were asked to identifying their rules for success.  Their thoughts and insights are something all leaders – pastors, coaches, parents, business leaders, etc – can learn from and apply to their organizations.

  • Do Less – Evan Williams, co-founder of Blogger, Twitter, and Medium, says, “Anything I’ve done that really worked happened because, either sheer will or a lack of options…If you have too many things to think about, you’ll get a superficial solutions, not the brilliant one.”
  • Embrace Accidents – “It’s all about maximizing collisions and accelerating serendipity.” – Tony Hsieh, CEO at Zappos
  • Choose Your Playing Field – Roger Martin, dean of Rotman School of Management, says, “The heart of strategy is defining where you’re going to play and how you’re going to win.  A lot of companies don’t consciously choose where not to play.”
  • Fail – “Very often, success stops people, because they’re afraid of taking a step that leads to failure” says Arianna Huffington, co-founder and editor in chief of The Huffington Post.  She goes on to add, “Reading biographies of successful people you admire is a great way to put failure in perspective.  There’s absolutely no one who’s succeeded who has not failed along the way.”
  • Let Others Lead – Michael Useem of the Wharton School says, “Leadership is a team sport.  You need to build leadership through the ranks, by empowering people to independently make good decisions.”
  • Slow Down – Danny Meyer, founder and CEO of Union Square Hospitality Group puts things into perspective when he says, “It’s easy to think running a business has to be a sprint.  If I’ve learned anything at all, it’s that if you’re lucky enough to lead a healthy, long life, there’s time.”
  •  Emphasize Steady Progress – Harvard Business School professor Teresa Amabile did a ground-breaking study of 238 professionals who kept diaries of their emotions, perceptions, and motivations.  She noted that “what stood out above everything else on people’s best days was that they were able to move forward in their work, even if it was just an incremental step forward.  That had a huge positive impact on their motivation.”
  • No Tricks – Phil Libin of the wildly popular Evernote says, “I refuse to play the zero-sum game anymore.  It’s better to find a way to make everyone happy.”  Perhaps that philosophy was what led to the creation of evernote.
  • Stop Thinking About Yourself – “You have to develop a feeling for who your stakeholders are and figure out how to make them all winners” say Whole Foods co-founder and co-CEO John Mackey
  • Don’t Discount The Role Of Luck – Michael Mauboussin, investment strategist at Legg Mason Capital Management, offers a unique perspective.  He says, “By extracting attributes from winners only, we miss the companies that chose the same strategies and failed.”  He goes on to add, “Recognizing alternative outcomes – and the role of luck – keeps your mind open to other possibilities, so you can manage or mitigate them.”  Christians would call this a supernatural move of God rather than luck.
  • Don’t Be Immune To New Ideas – 3Com founder Bob Metcalfe reminds us that “if we want to have freedom and prosperity, we need innovation, because that’s what creates economic growth and jobs.”

Regardless of what type of organization you lead, what 1 Rule For Success can you implement TODAY to improve your leadership and take your organization to a higher level?

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