Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Foundational Success Factor

I ended yesterday's post with a cliff hanger (I'm surprised any of you were able to sleep last night from the suspense of it) and a question: What is the biggest factor of success?

I think there are a few key factors, but I believe there is one that is absolutely foundational. I'm convinced that we could have 47 other success factors nailed and still fail because we lack this one thing.

What is it?


It doesn't matter what job we're doing, if we display strength and depth of character, we will set ourselves apart from everyone else because good character is rare.  

Here are three ways to exhibit the kind of character that's necessary for success:
  • Be Reliable -- We need to do what we say we'll do, be where we say we'll be, and be there on time.  I see the impact of this characteristic (or lack thereof) in my business when I talk to people who are looking for a new cleaning service. The most common reason they give for wanting to find someone new is that their previous service was unreliable. The cleaning lady was supposed to be there every other Tuesday at 9:00am, but they never knew if she'd really show up.  Customers won't put up with that kind of performance for long. Neither will employers. If we prove our reliability, we'll quickly find ourselves gaining favor with the people who matter in our business.
  • Do Every Task With Excellence -- Excellence is accomplished in the details, so we can't cut corners or take short-cuts. No job is insignificant. Every little thing counts, so it's necessary to give our best to every task, no matter how small or unimportant it seems. A guy named John W. Gardner said, "Excellence is doing ordinary things extraordinarily well." (I'll bet he had all kinds of excellent accomplishments). When we give the extra effort to do things well, we set a standard for excellence that shows in everything we do. 
  • Be Faithful in the Little Things -- At Bloom, when we interview new people, we always tell them that we're looking for people who are faithful in the little things. We want people who are willing to work hard and prove themselves over time. People who are humble, have a willingness to learn, and can be trusted with really big things because they've shown themselves to be consistently trustworthy with really small things. (Jesus tells a pretty good story about this in Matthew 25).
These are just a few ways we can show ourselves to be people of strong character in the workplace, but I really believe living these things will set us apart and help us move forward.  

Do you agree that character is foundational to success?