To Be (a Success) or Not to Be

success-and-failure-signToday’s post is courtesy of guess blogger Alan Seymour, Senior Lecturer in Sports Marketing & Public Relations at Northampton Business School.

The adage there can only be one winner is a difficult concept to comprehend and if you are a dedicated sportsman or woman maybe almost impossible! Grappling with this dichotomy, whilst juggling the mood swings of my own team support and tribal rebukes from others in my social sphere, this has become very noticeable. But does this also suggest that there are many losers or failures?

The consideration as posited, on approaching the time of year in many sports when the trophies are handed out, a pertinent question one thinks? Also, as an academic and dedicated teacher (and learner) it is also, both a reminder as well as a prerequisite, to consider that perhaps everyone wins something whilst also losing at the same time? My fascination with this subject is heightened, as I try to champion my own beloved LFC in the English EPL Football (or soccer to some!), towards their first league championship for nearly a quarter of a century. It suddenly is that close that you can almost touch it, but at the same time so palpably distant, after what some might consider past failure. However, even now if we don’t triumph, a failure in itself, or as many on the American side of the pond may call, that they have choked? To be as discriminate or judgmental seems to be more the norm in critical appraisal of sporting success or failure, and this barometer is so clearly felt in my other interests particularly, and maybe more understandable, in business. This leads to me to ask another relevant and responsible question to marketers and critics alike, “Is success contagious?”

In asking the question, is the point maybe somewhat rhetorical, but seriously worthy of further note and discussion? Striving for success is a very necessary consideration and provides important benchmarks of achievements. Roosevelt so famously remarked ‘the only thing we have to fear is fear itself and in many ways overcoming this psychological barrier may provide the eventual key for unlocking the restrictions to success. There is sometimes a feeling that business falls into the very same mind-set- in other words the scope for success and achievement is considerably limited and constrained by lack of drive, ambition or goal setting. Business and marketers in particular need to be able to progress initiatives and drive forward their business by clearly ‘going the extra mile’ as well as realistically appraising competitive distinctiveness and opportunities for growth and development.

As a practicing educator and academic with the year-end approaching, and as a new cohort of graduates enter my ‘sphere of influence’, the aspirations for many of the students is highlighted at this time. One is clearly reminded how uplifting success is and how benchmarks and ambition are reflected and mirrored in student successes. Business could draw many parallels from this scenario. The need to be disciplined and focused must be met. The essence of research and planning to achieve objectives is paramount. The resultant ‘feel- good factors of reaching targets and being rewarded impacts on how well we are all measured. The use of ‘best practice’ and commendations from others about a job well done enables people and business to have differential advantage and competitiveness. Finally the accolade and confirmation that you have achieved excellence is the clearest benchmark of achievement. Tom Peters was clearly right in his seminal text ‘the pursuit of excellence’ when he remarked ‘that what distinguished all good companies (as with successful students) was the consistency and dedication to the pursuit and aspiration to be the best.

In conclusion as a positive mantra from this article to students, sports people and dedicated professionals alike, maybe the following benchmarks may be considered:

  • Invest in the overwhelming power of communication- and practice it
  • Accentuate a ‘positivist’ approach and eradicate the ‘failure’ mentality
  • Appreciate achievement as a success- wallow in it, publicize it, and expand from it
  • Ensure you develop a winning mentality whilst acknowledging the contributors to this success
  • Never stop moving forward- be ahead of the competition and strive for greater gain
  • To be the best in positioning oneself as an expert and leader in your field

A final recommendation and directive should always be trying to focus on what is best for you! This might sound too simplistic but most people and businesses fail, or don’t achieve the success they either strive for or merit, because they are too busy imitating what works best for others or their competitors! In business one should always therefore start and finish with the client or customer by targeting and goal setting against their needs, value and niche considerations.You will then be able to develop from a position of strength and success and lead to more meaningful and successful relationships, which in turn will lead to growth of vital networks and exemplars for future successes. In sport carry the mantra of continuous progress to excellence as a guiding principle to perpetuate successful successes and eliminate the feelings of doubt and failings.

The adage success breeds success is the biggest truism in marketing, sport and life!

One thought on “To Be (a Success) or Not to Be

  • May 27, 2014 at 10:21 am

    “Appreciate achievement as a success- wallow in it, publicize it, and expand from it.”

    There is nothing wrong with being proud of what you’ve done! If you hit some target goal (even if it’s not “the big one”) you deserve to give yourself a pat on the back. Those microgoals propel you forward to the next big thing.

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