By Jeri T Denniston, Chief Marketing Strategist, Denner Group International 5/17/2012
Takeaways: Following the three key success factors of finding opportunities, mobilizing support for them, and seizing those opportunities, organizations stay open to change and create a culture of innovation.
In their book, Seeing David in the Stone, James B. and Joseph E. Swartz identify the 12 actions of the great innovators and achievers throughout time.These are broken into three areas, each with a set of four actions:
- Finding Great Opportunities
- Mobilizing Support
- Seizing Great Opportunities
In Finding Great Opportunities, one of the keys is to differentiate yourself for opportunity. What is meant by this is to understand your passions and talents, and see where the potential rewards might be in those areas. Then search within them for opportunities where all three are high.
Three Key Success Factors:
- Be passionate about something
- Be good at it
- Potential rewards are high
For example, young Einstein became a telegraph operator because he had a passion for that, he was good at it, and it was the latest technology of his time.
Another characteristic of great achievers is that they never stop searching. An example the book cites is the story of Colonel Sanders.
All his life he moved from sales job to sales job and paycheck to paycheck. At age 65 he found his opportunity when he moved to Corbin, KY to run a gas station. To increase sales, he started serving his special fried chicken. Business boomed until a new interstate highway bypassed Corbin.
He decided that his passion was cooking, he made better fried chicken than anyone else, and he loved to sell – Kentucky Fried Chicken was born. He traveled the country calling on restaurants. He would cook each owner a batch of chicken, then sell a franchise. Ten years later, at age 75, he had 600 franchisees. He never stopped until he found a way to differentiate himself from the crowd, and when he did, he found tremendous opportunity.
Another key differentiator is being willing to change the ways in which you differentiate yourself. When one of the three key success factors is no longer valid, you have to be willing to change in order to achieve greatness yet again.
Organizations can become great when they are led by people who themselves have learned to differentiate themselves personally and follow the three key success factors. By creating that focus and being willing to alter course when one factor is no longer valid, an organization can continuously improve and renew itself.