Temptations of Successful Organizations – Part 1
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

Have you ever wondered why some organizations seem to be around forever and others seem to be doing so well and then simply fade away? We all strive for success in every aspect of life, but success comes with temptations. Temptations that, if we don’t address them, will be our downfall. Today I would like to start us down a path that will identify these temptations and give us the tools to help ensure we won’t give in. Below are three examples of traps successful organizations can easily fall into if they aren’t intentional.

    • They Stop Working on Themselves – These temptations apply equally to each of us, our teams, and entire organizations. When things are going well, we often forget what brought us to that point of success. We forget that it takes great effort daily to grow and develop. It took intentionality to make sure each day we were better than we were the day before. The temptation is to think we’ve arrived, and if we just keep doing what we are doing, success will continue. If we succumb to that temptation, we will go the way of iconic organizations such as Kodak, or Research In Motion, the makers of the BlackBerry.
    • They Stop Thinking Big – It has been said that everything we want in life is just outside of our comfort zone. I continually find this to be true for myself and for organizations I’ve had the privilege of working with. From my past experiences I know that success came because we thought big, we believed big, and we pursued big ideas that were outside of our comfort zone. When success comes, it’s easy to feel as if we have arrived and to spend too much time enjoying where we are at that time. While it’s certainly important to celebrate, we must never stop thinking big. Think back to Kodak—they were the first organization to explore digital photography. Were they so focused on the comfort of their market position to dream about how great digital photography could be?
    • They Stop Following the Process – Any successful investor will tell you that consistency compounds. Interest over time compounds and long-term wealth is built one day at a time. If you don’t believe me, just ask Warren Buffet. It’s the same in any organization. The problem is that we get sloppy as we begin to see results. We begin to think that we possess unique magic that is contributing to our success, and we begin to veer off the processes that built the success. We start to think that intensity can solve our problems rather than consistently following the process that brought us success in the first place.

Next week we will examine the final two temptations and the tools to overcome them.