I come up with goofy little maxims sometimes. The kinds of things you see on book covers in the “business” section of the shop.
Yesterday it was “succeed from the bottom, fail from the top.”
It’s a large-organization-mission thing.
The thinking goes like this:
You (a large organization) have a macro mission and mandate. You’ve got a Big Thing you’re doing.
And you’ve got a lot of people nominally supporting that mission.
But are you succeeding?
You can only really succeed if first, you define success; not only for your senior leadership, but a definition of success that radiates down to the bottom-most ranks of your hierarchy. Because that’s where the energy is.
Success comes, and can only come, from pulling results up from the very bottom of the chain. Empowering your staff to do their best and feel like doing their best.
Failure, on the other hand, is a top-down proposition. Organizations don’t fail because the people that do the work aren’t doing it. They fail because there isn’t a coherent vision and model for success that empowers everyone involved to pull in the same direction.
If you want to succeed, make sure everyone from the bottom rung on up understands what success is, and desires it.
If you’re doomed to fail, it’s because there’s a decision at the top not to define and move the entire organization toward success.
So there y’go. Goofy little shower thoughts.