A recent edition of the Harvard Business Review ran with a front cover piece which claimed, “We have studied 25,453 companies over 40 years to find the 3 Rules for Success”. Through this extensive research the authors, Raynor and Ahmed, concluded the following for making a company great:
1. Better before Cheaper – compete on differentiators rather than price
2. Revenue before Cost – prioritize growing revenue over reducing costs
3. There are no rules – change anything to follow Rules 1 and 2
This was a little disappointing as one might be expecting some earth shattering revelation but instead it was really only two rules and even these might appear pretty pedestrian to most. Without question there are sub elements to these two points that would speak to more obvious business drivers such as technology, innovation, leadership, marketing, customer knowledge, etc but perhaps these speak to the fundamental psychology and simplicity of business success.
So if business success can be viewed in such basic terms, how might it translate in a similar way to personal success? Perhaps the three rules might look something like the following:
1. Always do your best with what you have – optimization of your unique abilities and qualities are your key differentiators.
2. Invest in your personal growth and development – seek out ways in which you continuously enhance your intellectual, physical and mental wellbeing.
3. Simply take care of the above and everything else will be fine.
Perhaps the purpose of research is to make things simpler and maybe even confirm what we already knew. But business can often be quite the metaphor for life so if there is something that we can garner from this type of research in personal terms then so much the better.