Are You Ready…for Success?

In Chapter 1 of my book, The Elegant Process, I recount my frustration and ultimate triumph in developing a green lawn.  It is now September, my yard has survived, and I still have green grass.  There was one unforeseen consequence of my process improvement effort – an unexpected level of increased yard work. In the 100 plus degree heat, while everyone else’s yard was crispy-fried, I spent my Saturdays cutting grass!  Each weekend, I had to sharpen the lawnmower blade, rake bushels of grass clippings, and weed-eat like it was 1999.

One hot day, this question came to my mind:  Why was I not ready for success? Take one moment, ask yourself, “Am I ready for success?” How you will handle an unexpected level of customer demand? Consider these key points and see if you are ready for success.


1) Customers calling – Do you have people trained and in place to receive calls and close the deal with prospective customers? Being able to quickly respond to your customers’ changing demands sends a clear signal that your business means business. Coach your staff to treat each customer professionally and politely and to proactively anticipate your customers’ needs.

2) Best or bust – Bob Knight, the [in]famous Indiana University basketball coach said, “Everyone has the will to win, but few have the will to prepare to win.”  Is your company focused on being the biggest or is it focused on being the best.  Don’t say “both” – that is the wrong answer.  General Motors has long been focused on being the biggest and best car company in the world.  They succeeded in only one and are now preparing to declare their independence from the US government.  Focus resources on being the best because quality never goes out of style.

3) Dream On – What will you dream about once you reach the next level of success? Will you continue to push your organization into a new, uncharted, and profitable direction? A leader cannot allow success to stifle his or her vision for the future.  The dreaming must continue because there will inevitably be a 20-something-entrepeneur nipping at your heels for a piece of the pie.  Keep dreaming with the same desperation as when you were just starting out, broke, and eating Ramen noodles and drinking Kool-aid for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

A friend of mine needed some major repair work done on one of his houses.  He called 14 contractors.  Only six called him back.  Four made appointments to give him an estimate.  Two actually showed up at the appointed time and delivered an estimate.  The one he picked to do the work?  The company whose representative wore a clean shirt. Out of 14 companies, only one was fully prepared.

Be ready!  Don’t let success catch you off guard.

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1 Comment

  1. My friend discovered your article on Yahoo. You have made some amazing points there. Well put!


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