Achieving Sustainable Success

I recommend the following framework for achieving success when leading and managing creative services programs.

1. READY — envision success

  • A. Determine who defines success (the person with authority, responsibility, and accountability). You? Someone else?
  • B. Decide, together, what you want to accomplish (goals and objectives).
  • C. Confirm your resources (staff, contractors, budget, volunteers).
  • D. Brainstorm the many possible paths that can lead toward your goals.

2. STEADY — focus on success

  • A. Determine the optimal path (strategy) for this phase based on the match between goal and resources.
  • B. Plan how you will implement that optimal strategy (plan of action).

3. GO — commit to success

  • A. Commit to the plan of action.
  • B. Do the work (tactics) and have fun.
  • C. Evaluate the work against the definition of success.

4. REPEAT — integrate success

  • A. You may pass “go” and collect kudos.
  • B. Remember this is a journey that never ends.
  • C. Integrate what you’ve learned.
  • D. Go back to step 1.

Further reading

  • A case for strategic thinking (National Association of Independent Schools) — “Strategy… is less a fixed design than a flexible learning process that, ultimately, produces the “integrated perspective” … that is compelling but not rigid.
  • An overview of systems thinking (Wikipedia) — “Systems thinking is a framework that is based on the belief that the component parts of a system can best be understood in the context of relationships with each other and with other systems, rather than in isolation.
  • Leadership through systems intelligence (Wikipedia) — The effective leader “accepts that the world consists of a complex web of interacting relationships, to which everyone contributes; engages the holistic feedback mechanism of the environment; [and] interacts with the environment in a way that makes minor corrections in the systems, generating huge effects due to the nonlinear dynamics of the system.”

Alternatives to success

If you don’t know where you’re going, then any road will take you there. —Lewis Carroll

Definition of “rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic: “to do something pointless or insignificant that will soon be overtaken by events, or that contributes nothing to the solution of a current problem. Wictionary