All over, people go ga ga over success after failure. Nothing wrong to celebrate success; but seldom people realize that success actually wait in the wings, when failure nears its end! Success is an opportunity that failure presents; if someone fails to take it or even see it, it is because of state of despondency and distress, which one has difficulty to come out from!!
Failures stare at you, when you are successful. So, failure after success is not unusual. What is unique, what is real in terms of strength is getting success after success and keep up with that trend! Greater game is in remaining successful, once your performance has peaked in a given set of situation. And that is the real test of your leadership, hidden talents, inherent energy or animal spirits.
Recall the phenomenal rise of Apple Corporation to become the most valuable company in world by its market capitalization! It is, now, struggling to keep pace with its growth and success. Legacy of Steve Jobs is hardly helping its current CEO Tim Cook. Look at iconic company Research in Motion from Canada – the makers of BlackBerry smart phones. About 10 years ago, it was a status symbol for every corporate manager to have BlackBerry in hand. Now, its fate has taken complete U-turn. Likewise, after successful journey upward, several huge corporations namely Microsoft, Siemens, Dell etc. are facing unprecedented rough patches.
Why failure stares at success
It is like sharpening a pencil – more you sharpen; more are the chances of its lead getting broken. But, if you stop sharpening pencil at a particular point, then chances of lead getting broken fade; instead it would get blunted through its use. Story of success is the same; when you build on success, you are also building failure. Trick lies in how to keep failure away from success. Do not forget that failure is constantly staring at success.
So, what can you do to keep failures away as individual or a group or company?
- Let success not blind you.
- Focus absolutely on flexibility and agility!
- In a given situation, there is a threshold of pace and extent you can go to get success.
If you sharpen a pencil too fast, its lead would break prematurely. So is the success; if you get it too fast – it won’t last too long!
When you start to get success, search for this threshold, beyond which success can come, only by bringing changes in your model or means.
- Build buffer for failure/s as well as features to prevent same.
- If you allow success to go into your head; failure would go into your heart! Neither is good!!
Why success often does not breed success!
Everyone wants success; but very few know how to sustain it! We are too much used to cycles of good and bad, high and low, success followed by failure. Most of us seem to do following:
- Success gives us confidence; but we take it forward to arrogance!
- Success keeps us highly engaged that we forget to wash dirty linens. So, we keep collecting dirty linens.
- Merits and means, which give success, become meaningless to us, when we start to embrass success.
- We overlook that as we build success, we also build our bête noire, adversaries and competitors.
- We lean on legacy of our own successes, rather than learn from it to remain lean!
- Success catapults us into comfort zone!
- Most important of all, we forget – “Success is an inspiration, not an insurance against failure!”
So, the problem lies within us, not elsewhere! It is very apparent that all of us seem to like contrasting change – we refuse to understand pleasure without going through pain; we learn importance of joy, only after getting jolt; so we understand significance of success after meeting with failure! It is like Chef’s or mother’s recipe for dishes with contrasting flavors of hot and cold, sweet and sour or soft n hard, which most of us relish!
If we can bat for Incremental Change, rather than Contrasting Change, success would then start breeding success! This is where the key challenge lies!!