Spencer Johnson

Three Simple Keys to Business Success

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The author Spencer Johnson is most widely known for his book “Who Moved My Cheese’.  However he also wrote another bestseller called “The Present” which is a wonderful parable account of three golden rules, namely:

1. Learn from the Past
2. Live in the Present
3. Plan for the Future

The essence of what Johnson refers to has so many applications to us all, both personally and professionally.  Many might view these as way too simplistic relative to the mountains of literature on leadership and business management to be in some way relevant.  But they are!  Let’s view each in the context of an enterprise and assess how impactful they could be if applied appropriately.

Learn from the Past

In many respects this is another way to view innovation.  It was Edison who said that in an effort to find one thing that works, he also discovered a thousand things that didn’t.  He didn’t see this as failure but a tremendous learning opportunity.  So too it is within organizations as insights are gained from trying new things, improvements are sought, boundaries are challenged, but all in the context of learning.  However, this can only be effective when the fear of failure is removed.

Live in the Present

It is critical to any business that every day people show up and do their absolute best in service of all stakeholders.  Lingering over the past or worrying about the future serves only to expend energy in the present at which point performance ultimately suffers.  People must focus on what they can affect in the present moment and strive to excel based on what they have learned from the past.

Plan for the Future

The future is inevitable but uncertain.  However by careful and smart planning you are preparing better to deal with whatever might be coming down the road.    Leadership has the most prominent role in trying to envision what might lie ahead.  One of the keys to this is by learning from the past based on what is being done today and relative to where you wish to be.  Each of these insights feeds the other.

This pretty basic concept, when applied appropriately, creates a discipline that helps to manage your business and realize success.

The Past, Present and Future

by necoaching necoaching No Comments

Have you read the book by Spencer Johnson, called The Present? Though short and a rather simple read, it contains a powerful and somewhat liberating message. He proposed that we should literally, “Learn from the Past, Live in the Present and Plan for the Future.” Though there are many ways of assessing how these might translate to our roles as entrepreneurs and business leaders, let’s briefly look at each lesson and see what we can garner.

Learn from the Past (Knowledge)

We cannot drive looking through the rear view mirror. However we can grow from our mistakes and build on our successes. In other words, past experiences do not guarantee success but the knowledge we gain can have a huge impact.

  • What significant lessons have you learned from your mistakes and those of others?
  • What has worked well and been successful for you?

Live in the Present (Energy)

The current moment is where you can derive the mental fortitude to continue working hard whether it’s through the taste of success, the fun of competing or simply the exhilaration of being part of something bigger. In addition viewing things with optimism will ensure that the energy is present to be that driving force.

  • Where do you add the greatest value to the business?
  • What about your work positively energizes you?

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