The first thing we ask founders and entrepreneurs is: “What is your definition of success?”
We have found that the most basic principle of success, the one that is often missed, and the one that helps the most, is sitting down and defining success.
Oftentimes, founders do not have a distinct answer to this question, even though this is a fundamental component of starting a new business, hiring a new employee, launching a new product or feature, etc. When a definition of success is left undefined, the default becomes “more”. And when it’s just “more,” the answer typically becomes “more money.” Although “more money” isn’t inherently flawed, it lacks vision and direction, the underlying assumption becomes to work harder, not smarter. When success is specifically defined, money becomes an outcome of success, rather than the definition of success itself.
Next, it is time to address the second basic principle: only do things that increase the likelihood to succeed. This ultimately means designing a strategy to move the company from its current state to the state of defined success. Designing and following that strategy as a team is the compass that guides a company.
In different contexts, understanding other people’s definition of success can be a powerful tool when working with, negotiating against or selling to other people.
Whether reflecting upon business or some aspect of life, ask one simple question: What is the definition of success? Take a moment to define success. The improvement it will bring to the decision-making process will be well worth the effort.