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There’s no Theory of Everything

by | Mar 4, 2019 | CEO Role, Exploring Alternatives, Management Issues

My consulting firm has worked with hundreds of companies, and we’ve seen a wide array of outcomes — profitable and not-so-profitable. The differences in results almost always start with the CEOs.

Searching for THE answer

Many CEOs with ordinary results are looking for the universal secret of success. But when we take them to visit clients who are enjoying better results, they leave unhappy, because they’re seeking a huge revelation that doesn’t exist.

Meanwhile, the top-performing CEOs don’t understand what all the fuss is about. They know they don’t have any special talents. They’re achieving superior results by being relentlessly committed to doing all the big and small things that are required.

They’re simply doing a superior job, and they make it look easy.

The good news and the bad news…

There’s no cosmic secret for success.

But none is required.

Don’t waste your time

Stephen Hawking spent his entire life seeking a theory of everything. He died before finding it, and I’d advise you not to take up his quest. There was an Oscar-winning film about it, but you’re unlikely to find a theory of everything in your business.

In my experience, the most successful CEOs don’t waste precious time pursuing the dream of developing a perfect process, nor do they wait to make progress. The most successful (and happiest) CEOs are realists. They understand that a single 100% solution is unlikely in the real world of business. There are so many moving parts that a single all-encompassing solution seems beyond most people’s grasp.

There’s no magic bullet

You don’t need any great flashes of genius. You can achieve superior results by focusing on the large and small issues you’re confronting and moving forward in making progress. Step by step.

No matter what the issue(s) might be — big or small — the process is simple:

  • Assess the situation.
  • Consider your options.
  • Choose a course of action.
  • Observe the results, make adjustments and continue moving forward.

One step at a time

If an issue is complex, you’ll make much better progress if you find a way to move forward without waiting to develop the complete solution.

Start by asking yourself whether the problem is lingering because of a system issue or because of a staff issue. That is, does the underlying process need to be fixed, or is the person taking the wrong approach or just not getting results?

Making changes might require changing people’s responsibilities, or changing the people. Take a deep breath, decide on a course of action, and move forward.

It may be uncomfortable or painful, but the cost of not acting is very high. It’s unfair to your company, and has a negative effect on others who know there’s a problem and are perplexed by your lack of action

The good news and the bad news are the same

Waiting for a cosmic solution will only frustrate you and waste your time. Instead, start by looking for ways to make improvements and then finding ways to continue making progress as you learn more.

The good news and bad news are the same: there’s no cosmic secret for success. But none is required.


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