Success based on values is real success

The most commonly used measurement for measuring an executive’s performance is money. The more profit that is generated for the company, the higher the executive’s pay check usually becomes. Money is regarded as the key to success, and sadly, it does not always seem matter how the money is obtained:

“A quarter of Wall Street executives see wrongdoing as a key to success, according to a survey by whistleblower law firm Labaton Sucharow”  (Reuters, 10 june, 2012).

Let’s stop to rethink what success really is, how we understand success. When someone is famous, e.g. a painter, singer, an actor or someone who contributes to a greater good, it is easy to say that the person is successful, or that he/ she has reached success. Likewise, when someone is wealthy, many people consider the person successful. When a person becomes known for what he/ she values, is passionate about, likes doing and strives to become better at, we see real success. This kind of success can result in money and personal wealth, but it does not have to do that – money may not be the appropriate measurement for this kind of success.

When looking at a CEO of a company, most of us consider the person being successful if the company performs better than its competitors. Hence, the easiest way for an executive to be considered successful is to focus on money. The shareholders, of publicly traded companies in particular, rarely care where the money comes from. As long as the share price goes up or a nice dividend is paid out, the shareholders are happy. Hence, it does not come as a great surprise that some executives are prepared to use any means possible to gain more money for themselves and their companies. In other words, how the system for these executives is set up, wrongdoings almost seem in-built.

Success (or the lack of it) is mostly based on our actions – it is though our actions that we become successful, or not. It seems that there is positive and negative success: positive success is based on our values, whereas negative success is mainly money-driven. Positive or real success means doing what you love and what is in line with your values. When doing that, it does not even matter if you becomes world famous or not. After all, fame and especially money are not your real drivers. Doing what you believe in is the real driver. As a bonus, compared to people who fight their own values when striving for success, you will probably be less stressed and sleep better at night.

Being positively successful involves that actions are based on our values. In successful organisations, this principle permeates all levels of the organisation and every person in the company should act according to the company’s and his/her own values. Should the company’s and the persons own values conflict, the parties should find an amicable solution. Additionally, the measurements that are used for measuring performance and people in organisations should be derived from the values. Reward systems and bonus schemes are powerful tools for guiding people. Get these things right – values, measurements and reward systems – and you have an organisation that is tuned for real success.

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