In a society that is deeply enamored with “quick and easy”, “buy now and pay later”, and “drive it home today”, the underlying fundamentals of long-term success are easily obscured.

A rush by companies and organizations towards “short-term return on investment” and “success with minimal effort” reside in direct contrast to the strategies that successful entities exemplify. The qualities of leadership that bring about long-term profitability, periods of extended innovation, and creative success, are very much in opposition to the unrealistic desire for short-term returns.

Saving for many months to purchase the desired item demonstrates discipline and an understanding of the value of wealth. Using a credit card and paying exorbitant interest, for what appears to be enticing and momentarily fulfilling, proves to be far more expensive and results in the loss of future purchasing opportunities.

Learning from the Best

There are a great many stories of military leaders, coaches, entertainers, and business leaders who are lauded for their abilities to “react in the moment”. The pervasive narrative is that these persons possess some exceptional ability to improvise and make clear and decisive moves in pressure-packed situations, thus besting their competition time and again.

In reality, even successful leaders who are routinely praised for their super-natural insight and awareness, such as Admiral William McRaven, Nick Saban, Oprah Winfrey, or Warren Buffett, will attest that thoughtful planning, diligent research, extensive study, and intense preparation are the actions that allow them to be great when the moment of truth arrives.

People who are highly successful in leading themselves, leading others, and leading large teams, understand that there are no easy roads to success. Like the proverbial lottery winner who comes into vast unearned wealth without the skills to manage it, and then finds themselves destitute in a few short years; success flees from the unprepared and is only sustained by those who embrace and apply its foundational principles.

Characteristics of Success

Successful people are most often relentless in their learning and perseverance. Acquiring deep knowledge, researching the places that it can be profitably applied, and being prepared to try again even after a failure, are qualities that great leaders bring to their companies.

Long-term business success and carefully applied fiscal principles are seen in tandem in nearly every long-term successful entity. Existing within the financial means of the organization and utilizing debt with great care and respect are traits that are also visible with highly successful individuals.

Businesses and organizations that thrive, routinely enlist the help and counsel of wise people who have gone before them. Thinking and processing information with experienced leaders, in a place where the end goal is not just success at the moment, but in creating a measure of market share for the future, is a practice to be embraced.

Being prepared and ready to move when the opportunity presents itself is often misperceived as some magical ability to predict the future. Leaders who have studied their industry, continue to grow and learn themselves. They apply sound business practices and find themselves regularly in positions to take advantage of opportunities.

The same cannot be said of businesses with excessive debt, poor internal cultures, or a penchant for the “quick and easy”.

Reminders of Cornerstones

“Most of the successful people I’ve known are the ones who do more listening than talking.”

Bernard Baruch

From a leadership perspective, it is important to remember that positive relationships in all aspects of one’s business are foundational for moving the organization forward with a long-term focus. As a leader, it is important to remember that you may have one-hundred interactions in a day, but the person with whom you are directly working only has this single interaction with you. Relationships matter!

A leader must create systems and internal organizational structures that not only allow the business to function efficiently in the near term, but also allow for growth and additional capacity in the future. Does the system serve now, and into the future? This is an important question for leaders.

Building the capacity of the team members to be successful in their roles, is not to be understated. By caring for and supporting those who create the products and services, a powerful message is being sent from the leader to the team. “We think so highly of the team, and have planned so thoroughly for the future, that the very first investment we are making as a company is in all of you”.

The Take-Away

The allure of effortless wealth and success is undeniable. With examples of “quick and easy” being shown in very disproportionate numbers to tales of hard-earned success, it is possible to believe that the fundamentals of building success and wealth no longer apply.

Successful leaders not only embrace the work and the effort required for long-term success; they ensure that those who work with them understand the principles as well.

To learn more about the work we do to create long-term success, check out our greeting page here!