Eight Measures of Success
Consider yourself a success if:
You don’t fear the things you don’t control.
You accept that you don’t control much.
You are more grateful for what you have than worried for what you want.
People often ask if they can run something by you.
You spend more time in the present than in the past or future.
When you ask people how they are, they give you a real answer.
A child asks you to play.
Someone has told you, “I had no idea you were so successful.”
— Tom Coyne ’97, ’99MFA, who teaches creative writing at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, is the author of several books, including A Course Called Ireland.
Ten Things a CEO Should Always Remember
You didn’t get here by yourself.
If we are unable to measure that which is important, we will ascribe importance to that which we can measure.
Money is an important yardstick, but it is neither the only measure, nor is it the most important measure available to you.
The men and women whose labor has created the opportunity, wealth and prosperity for so many are your most valuable asset.
The vast majority of people identify directly with the work they do and the organization that employs them. Do your best not to screw it up.
The line between incompetence and immorality is, perhaps, thinner in executive management than in any other occupation.
Culture eats strategy for lunch.
The numbers tell a story, but they do not make a decision.
No one in your organization, yourself included, is irreplaceable.
In the end, few will remember what you’ve done; none will remember what you’ve said. But no one will forget how you made them feel.
— J. S. O’Rourke, IV is a professor of management at Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business.
Six Success Strategies, from One Cheeky, Caffeinated, Twentysomething Entrepreneur To Another
Be prepared (Lion King-style) to understand absolutely nothing. If you think you have solved the mysteries of the business world, “Check Yo Self.” Voice your opinion, yet remember: no twentysomething is an expert at anything. Be nimble and eager to learn. Dedication is often more impressive than knowledge. But a problem-free philosophy ain’t going to cut it.
Find old people (35 and over, like Rafiki) and act like a sponge: absorb. Leaders are leaders for a reason. Corporate America doesn’t often get it right, but industry street cred is a good metric. Great leaders love to teach. Legacy is important to them, and if you can gain their trust (or at least prove you’re not incompetent), your elders are likely to spend time sharing priceless knowledge and advice. A few lunch and drink bills will provide a great return on investment.
Fail fast and cook slow. Being an entrepreneur involves vast amounts of uncertainty and perpetual cycles of cash shortages, coupled with unhealthy levels of stress and caffeine-induced premature aging. The toll is too great to be sustainable long-term. So: Fail fast. Learn. Move on. Your sanity will thank you. Consider cooking every day — 45 minutes of absolute focus. Now hurry and eat your meal. That presentation is past due. The CEO just left a message. The company is bankrupt, and you’re fired. Great. Next!
Sift through the noise. You will meet plenty of serial, super-sustainable, eco-friendly, revolutionary, visionary “entrepreneurs.” In fact, many such people are broken and lost — and are your friendly morning baristas. Determine your role in this crazy world and make yourself invaluable to someone. Take action and become the local visionary you’ve always wanted to be. Don’t worry, you can still ride your bike to work and buy that mocha froca traca latte. Just put your nose to the grindstone and . . .
Determine your weaknesses. Then find other people who can do those things. Admit when you are wrong and admit when you don’t know the answer. Balance your skills with reality. Find colleagues you can call at 11 at night despite the dismay of their spouses. Their irritation will fade, but having a partner you can rely upon will supercharge your capacity. Young lions need help and guidance. Find your warthog and meerkat.
Don’t forget your veggies. Seriously, pay attention. In the rush of life and work, it becomes incredibly easy and natural to forget the most important thing: you. Find ways to grow and take care of yourself. Realize that you’re subjecting yourself to rigors most people cannot understand or survive. So good luck, Godspeed, and may you avenge your father’s death, young Simba. Or at least find entrepreneurial nirvana.
— Gary Nijak Jr.’09 is chief research officer for Green & Grow, Inc. of Austin, Texas, an agriculture biotechnology R&D firm. He believes blue jeans should be accepted as formal attire.
10 Workplace Realities
One of the hardest things to do — and yet one of the most important — is to take the perspective of a person with whom you have differences.
Leaders get the performance they expect.
Power changes people.
We see ourselves as more moral than we are.
The best negotiators take the attitude, “I have to win, you have to win, or we have no deal.”
The most important predictor of loving your job — more than pay, more than promotions, more than co-workers — is loving the kind of work you do.
Good leaders try to set the highest goals to which people will commit.
One of the most effective ways of influencing people is asking them what they think.
Taking five minutes every day to consider your priorities and goals for that day are the most important five minutes of your work day.
Taking a minute to thank a colleague or express appreciation for what they do is the most important minute of your work day.
— Tim A. Judge is the Franklin D. Schurz Professor of Management at Notre Dame.