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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Right Place & Time, Diligence & Devotion, and Culture

The book “Outliers: The Story of Success” by Malcolm Gladwell highlights several examples of how many people succeed while others seem to not fare so well.  There are themes that recur over and over again like being in the right place at the right time, persistence, devotion in learning an area, and developing the right cultures.  

Whether you believe Gladwell’s analysis and conclusions or not, three of the topics addressed in his book contribute to major differences that result in making it “BIG” and being an “ALSO RAN” type business. 

Culture:  The culture developed in the business can be one of innovation, creativity, and hard work.   It helps motivate growth and improvement when the culture is such that people love coming to work and being with their colleagues.  This type of environment leads to people wanting to do their very best to make a business a success.  It takes effort to generate an environment where all employees are motivated by the success of the company.  It is even a greater challenge to encourage the employees to express their feelings and question management when they see a better way to generate success in the company.

Developing a great corporate culture encourages employees, but is also means finding ways to acknowledge and reward the employee for full contribution.  It can come in forms of compensation initiatives, but sometimes recognition for a job well done is even more important.  Everyone likes to hear “Thank You” from time to time and something in their paycheck does not hurt either. 

In short, the culture created in the company can make a huge difference in motivating the employees to help the business become a big success.  It also can help with employee retention and overall enjoyment at work.

Diligence & Devotion:  According to the analysis reported by Gladwell, it takes about 10,000 hours to become an expert in an area.  The point he was making was that becoming a success is not immediate and that developing the experience to excel takes time.  It is not so likely that someone with no experience can set up a business overnight and have it become an instant success.  Just the learning required to understand the business takes significant time. And, it comes with hard work and countless hours of leaning. 

The attitude that the entrepreneur adopts when entering a business is critical.  The business activity needs to be interesting and fun, or the entrepreneur will never devote the time required to become a success.  Each success or failure along the way will add to the skill set.

Diligence and devotion are absolute requirements for the entrepreneur starting a business.  The sticking to the tasks, learning, and a drive to succeed are all important to the overall success.

Place & Timing: This is a major critical factor to the success of many businesses.  Gladwell highlighted this issue in his description of several major companies and their founders.  In each case, the founders devoted countless hours to learning.  Plus, they developed the right culture, but being in the right place at the right time made the difference in becoming a huge success.  This has been the case in countless companies.  Sometimes, the entrepreneur has an idea that the timing is right, but many only realize long after after the success of the company becomes apparent.

Picking out the right time for a business venture is not something that most people will do well.  There may be a few things to look for.  As examples, consider 1) a new field emerging where you are the expert in the field, 2) a market need where you are the expert in the market with an ideal product, or 3) just being there when a big customer needs what you have. 

Timing is essential to most endeavors.  The entrepreneur can learn more about major successes and what lead to them.  In this way, it is possible to at least develop ideas that may have more chance of success.  But in the end, it still comes to being in the right place at the right time.

  Taffy Williams is the author of:  Think Agile:  How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed to via Amazon