Whatever industry we’re working within, when it comes to winning, there are universal factors to live by. Follow them, and the whole will always become greater than the sum of its parts.

by Kevin McAlpin

Checking our individual and collective behaviours against key principles is invariably a worthwhile diagnostic. Here, we explore and distil the seven success principles of thriving organisations.

The Universal Seven

1. Attitude — Resilience and Optimism

Successful organisations need a positive culture/attitude, they should be resilient and bounce back quickly from set-backs. If a product or strategy is not working they need to be flexible to try something else and move quickly. They are optimistic in their outlook and believe in their products and services, they therefore expect the best and get it.

2. Visions — Strengths, Skills, Values and Purpose

Successful organisations play to their strengths and the abilities of their people, products, services and markets. They are aware of their organisation skills and weaknesses and work with business partner organisations to underpin these and vice-versa. They believe in the Diversity of their people and therefore have multiple perspectives and strengths throughout. They have a clear vision which is communicated and a strategy to achieve it. They ensure everything they do is underpinned by their shared corporate values and they have a clear purpose for what they are doing thus creating a high-performance culture.

3. Strategy — Goals and the Disciplined Use of Time

Their short-term strategy underpins their long term. They set goals which are milestones towards their visions, then put into practice their natural skills and abilities, and are disciplined in their use of time towards those goals. They free-up resources for where they will make the most different (often creating project teams) and then have dogged pursuit of their goals. However, they also know where to stop and do something else if it is not working, they listen out for those early-warning signals.

4. Risk-taking and Action-orientated — Flexibility and Intuition

They trust themselves, their leaders and staff at all levels. Empowerment is fundamental. They have leaders at all levels of the organisation. Their leaders trust their intuition and take calculated risks putting into action their decisions and having the flexibility and adaptability to change along the way as appropriate. The structures, processes and systems are in place to ensure efficiency and standards, but freedom is given to ensure creativity and responsiveness is maintained, allowing change to happen quickly. This consequently creates success and a good financial standing.

5. Relationships — Visibility and Brand Perceptions

Trust relationships are key both internally throughout the organisation and also externally with stakeholders and partners as well as their clients: you need people to achieve your visions. Successful organisations know the importance of knowing who they are and what you stand for, their unique brand. They also realise they need visibility for their great work and manage the perceptions of others. Therefore, their internal brand (seen by their staff) and their external brand (client-facing) are aligned and they live the brand in everything they do. They have a corporate conscience and balance environmental issues with profit.

6. Learners — Turning any Situation to an Advantage

Great leaders run the organisation and they are given the authority and resources to lead their organisation in the way they see fit. They constantly learn and seek to be a learning organisation although they may not be there yet. They are often known for being lucky; the truth is they are lucky because they turn any situation to their advantage. Teamwork throughout the organisation means silos are minimised, performance is managed effectively and the rewards of success are shared.

7. Their People — The Happy Work/Life balance

They focus on aligning happiness and success. They champion wellbeing and employ rounded whole people that are not just the sum of their role or work but so much more. They encourage work/life balance and are aware of the benefits in performance that brings.

Theory and Practice

It’s one thing knowing and another doing. Lots of organisations know these principles and even espouse them, but do they live them?
When forming your business’s strategies, rating your organisation and yourself against these principles will mean that effectiveness can be quantified and increased. Ultimately, good coaching techniques lead the way to more targeted, progressive habits and entrench good practice throughout.