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Strategic Discipline Blog

Success Forces

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Wed, Jun 18, 2008

From my recent blog, someone asked me about Joseph Sugarman’s book Success Forces and what the six success forces are. The book was written in 1980, yet like most books that have valuable information, the information is timeless. One of the things I like so much about this book is its simplicity. In Mastering the Rockefeller Habits, Tom Meredith, former CFO of Dell who helped transform their financial structure and helped Dell survive in the early 90's by dramatically improving Dells cash conversion cycle offered the keys to running a good company are very similar to being a good parent, 

1. Have a handful of rules 
2. Repeat yourself a lot 
3. Act consistently with those rules [which is why you better have only a few rules]. 

1. Have a handful of rules 
2. Repeat yourself a lot 
3. Act consistently with those rules [which is why you better have only a few rules]. 

Joe went so far as to suggest that by following these simple rules you will set yourself up for dynamics that result in the law of attraction. Any time you stray from these you set yourself up to get hit by the boomerang that inevitably follows doing the wrong thing, and consequently any time you follow them the boomerang returns to you with a positive effect. 

These six success forces could easily be seen as Joe Sugarman’s Core Values, and in his book he provides an excellent description of what each of them mean. I’ve seen the value of these, and must admit that I personally have not always followed them to the extent I should have. 

Examining each of these we can see where they can contribute to the success or failure with our small business. Here are just a few ideas about the first three rules. 

 Always be honest 
How many of us truly believes in this and yet faced with a situation where we can choose to be honest or realize that the party that we might be deceiving would never know the difference, do we decide to be dishonest. A company I work with recently got a check for $92,000 that was incorrect. They had been overpaid. They could have easily held on to the check, deposited it and never advised the company that they’d been overpaid. In fact some of the company’s they work with indicate they have done that with overpayments. Instead they told the company immediately that they had been overpaid, this despite the company insisting that had not. Finally two weeks later after they had returned the check the company finally determined they had indeed over paid them. Accepting what is not yours, or lying sets up a boomerang effect that eventually hurts us. 

 Cherish your failures 
Can anyone really feel this way? As Joe points out are failures have a way of teaching us valuable lessons. What we need to do when we fail is to learn the lesson it provides. We all know the story of Thomas Edison’s many failures to discovering the incandescent light bulb and how he responded when asked why he kept experimenting when he had failed so many times, “ I haven’t failed, I’ve simply discovered a thousand ways it will not work.” I believe I would be much more successful if I had simply had the courage to fail more often. May you be so fortunate as to not make that same mistake? 

 Relish your problems 
Joe points out that problems have a hidden ingredient that makes them very effective in creating a Success Force. You may recognize it as “opportunity.” Earl Nightingale was quoted as saying, “In every problem lies and equal or greater opportunity.” Joe recommends that the next time you face a problem ask yourself where the opportunity is. In many cases it is simply a matter of changing our language. You can have a problem with your service you’re providing and say to yourself, “providing service to our customer is really becoming a problem. Or you could reverse this and think differently about the problem by saying, “what would our customers appreciate about our servicing the problems are customers are having?” Simply restating the problem you get a total different perspective. 

Is it a good idea to copy or innovate? Why is focus so important, and finally what’s the hidden secret behind the success force of cleaning your desk? I’ll cover those in my next blog. 

Topics: Mastering the Rockefeller Habits

Challenges of Scaling Up a Business 







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The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

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