Learning from someone else’s achievement

Joanna Swash explains why another person’s success should be admired and not derided

Learning from someone else’s achievement

Have you ever found yourself attempting to analyse why someone has reached the pinnacle of their career, while another person hasn’t. We’ve all been there. Sometimes we try to work out the appeal of a TV personality while, on other occasions, it may be an individual who has enjoyed success in the world of business.

However, I believe successful leaders are those who inspire and provide direction. They also empower and nurture the strengths of other people within the network. So why is there often the need to pick holes in another person’s success? Psychologists say it’s a natural part of life, often stemming from feelings of inadequacy.

But instead of judging, maybe we should focus on understanding and learning from these people. Success means different things to different people, and it’s important to recognise this array of varied definitions. By nurturing the potential and success of everyone in a business, leaders can build a culture of motivation, empowerment and connection. 

Sharing knowledge and learning from successful peers can also lead to greater achievement. So, instead of judging, let’s celebrate someone else’s success and learn from it.

Measuring success

We all strive for success and we all have different definitions of what it means. For some it is climbing the career ladder while, for others, it is enjoying the trip of a lifetime to walk side-by-side with orangutans in Borneo. Others consider a good work-life balance as being the yardstick for measuring success. 

People make the world go round. They are unique, amazing and potentially complex. Successful leaders recognise this and work to unlock the potential of each and every member of their team. And the reason: It’s good for business.

In today’s world, maximizing what you have is critical. You would apply this principle to raw materials, with regards to manufacturing. The aim is to minimise waste, reduce costs and therefore boost profits. 

It may sound ruthless but the same applies to people. This does not mean returning to the Middle Ages, but more about understanding how employees are a valuable resource. And that means recognising them for the individuals that they are. Who they are at home? At work? Or on the playing field? And how do they define success? 

The role of the leader is to try and help every member of staff reach their goals and fulfil their potential. And if you achieve this, with every single person in your business, you are most certainly on to a winner. Your team will be motivated, empowered, connected.

Nurturing success

As a highly individual concept, success can be tricky to measure. It will take time and there can’t be any room for success-washing. You must do it properly or not at all. Begin by selecting the best people to lead. These are those who fully understand the value of the strategy. 

Their passion and leadership will naturally filter through. This will build a culture that has success and potential at the core of everything it does.  And it’s vital for leaders to stick to their plans and ‘rules’, as this will build trust and respect.

There will be differences of opinion, there will be passion and there will be a need to set boundaries. To nurture success, and to help the business prosper, it takes effective leadership and consistently administered management skills.

Let the Judgers’ Judge

The success of one person does not mean the failure of another. It is natural to look at someone, often identical to yourself, and question why this other individual has achieved more than you have.

But don’t despise or put it down to bad luck or not having the right connections, or the perfect education or a different accent. Much better to ask questions, learn lessons, and learn more about yourself. 

Business, as with life, is complicated. Just because a competitor celebrates record profits, or wins an award, you are merely seeing the end result, and not the journey. So be delighted for them and be curious about how they did it. 

There is no one-size-fits-all formula for success in business. Therefore, learning from successful peers can provide valuable insights and ideas. Nurturing the potential of individuals can lead to better business outcomes. As does the sharing of knowledge with peers which can also lead to greater success. 

Knowledge is a powerful resource, and when shared it can help businesses achieve more than they ever thought possible. So the simple rule should be: Let’s work together and share our knowledge to achieve greater success in business.

Joanna Swash
Joanna Swash

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