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SUCCESS-Definition


Jaswant
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This is a speech picked from a COO of Booz-Allen Ms. Sambia Stonz. It will ensurely help U to evaluate UR approach towards success with different viewpoint.

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Public figures like Maureen often find their success defined by others in artificial terms like "rating points." But, it's not just newscasters, athletes, and celebrities whose success seems linked to score-keeping and winning. If you ask the average American to define success, you'd probably get answers like this:

Driving a Lexus

Scoring a hole-in-one

Having a big house in Great Falls (a prestigious address in the Washington, DC metropolitan area)

Getting a child into Harvard.

Likewise, in the business world, success tends to be measured by the yardsticks of pay and promotion.

In December, when I was elected to be the new Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Booz·Allen, someone asked me "so, what does if feel like to achieve the ultimate success?"I was rather taken aback. Clearly, it felt good to get the vote of confidence from my partners—but I didn't for a minute equate "success" with "being CEO." In fact, I thought I already had the best job in the firm.

As I talked to people about success, a fascinating pattern emerged. The people I really admired, defined success quite differently from the conventional "score-sheet" method.

So, in preparing for this speech, I decided to explore this idea further. I wanted to see who else held a different view of success, and I wanted to learn more about what people consider to be the key enablers and obstacles to their success. I turned to Booz·Allen's Women's Advisory Board, a group of 15 accomplished women of diverse ages, backgrounds, and career specialties. I established this Board four years ago to advise me and the firm's top management on issues they believe are important to work and work-life balance for employees at our firm.

I asked the Women's Advisory Board Members if they'd be willing to share their perspectives on six questions:

#1. Thinking about your own overall life goals and accomplishments, how do you define success?

#2. What are the key enablers for you in achieving success?

#3. What are the main obstacles to you in achieving success?

#4. How have you overcome setbacks in the past?

#5. If you could change one thing about your life today, what would it be?

#6. If your employer could change one thing to improve your situation, what would that be?

I was intrigued with the responses and was surprised by how consistent they were. The answers were both consistent with each other (even though there' s a wide diversity of age, level, and background among the Women's Advisory Board members) and consistent with my own views about success.

Theories abound about what it takes to succeed and reach your life goals. Some people talk about a "master plan" set early in life and followed religiously to their desired outcome. Others see life as a wheel of fortune that can be neither predicted, nor influenced. But my experience, the experience of our Women's Advisory Board members, and the experience of other accomplished people I know, suggest that neither a master plan nor lucky stars drives success. And, that success is not about keeping score.

This is what I want to share with you today:

Success is not an outcome—it's a way of living. And the keys to living well are: responsibility, relationships, and resilience.

Responsibility

Success has to do, first, with knowing what your goals are—and then, taking the responsibility, building the relationships, and having the resilience to achieve them.

Truly successful people know what they want—not so much in terms of specific outcomes—but in terms of balance and direction. They believe they are responsible for their lives—not fate or other people; they have strong relationships at home, at work, and beyond; and they have the resilience and optimism to profit from change—both positive change in the form of opportunities, and difficult change that comes from setbacks.

While some people use different words, these common themes—responsibility, relationships, and resilience emerge as "success strategies" in the advice and experiences of many accomplished women I know. And as I look back, they factor strongly in my own experience.

So, for the next few minutes, I'd like to share with you—in a bit more detail and through some personal stories—what I believe success really is and how these three success strategies play into it.

"So, What is success?"

In the words of one of the Women's Advisory Board members, "For me, success is achieving a balance between a satisfying career, whatever I define that to be, and family life. Unfortunately, in the eyes of many people, success is often measured by what kind of car you drive, what neighborhood you live in, or your job title. For some, success is having a spouse and two healthy children. For others, it is achieving a certain position within your company by a certain age."

Another Advisory Board member defined success as: "Making consistent progress towards personal and professional goals; making a positive difference; enjoying what I do."

And, another said : "I used to think I would wake up one day and feel that I had 'achieved success.' Now, I feel that success is a constant, positive journey through life's challenges."

Joyce Doria, the most senior woman partner at Booz·Allen, defines success as "being able to have impactÖ and for it to be recognized."

I was amazed to look down at my own notes and see so many of the same words. For me, I view success as achieving a comfort level between my personal and professional lifeÖenjoying what I do, having an impact, being a real part of the game.

It's been said so often that it's become a clichÈ—but life really is a "journey, not a destination." And, therefore, we shouldn't define success in terms of destinations. We will only be, and only feel, successful when we truly enjoy and take pride in our journey.

This may sound funny, but one measure of success for me is being oblivious to the days of the week. Many years ago, when I worked for RCA outside of Philadelphia, I could tell you at any given point in time, exactly how many days and hours it was until the weekend. I lived for the weekends, and being a self-admitted sports-junkie, I wished the Flyers Hockey games on Sunday night would last forever—it was the last big celebration of the weekend. You know—I haven't felt that way in years—because I truly enjoy what I do, every day.

I recently saw a quote from the author Annie Dillard. She said, "How we spend our days is—of course—how we spend our lives."

Think about it: "How we spend our days is how we spend our lives."

To me, that is the real measure of success—that day-by-day we enjoy what we're doing and feel that we're making an impact. So, if achieving this state of contentment and satisfaction with our life journey is what success is all about, how do we get there and how do we stay there?

That's what I was looking for in the answers to my other questions about the enablers and obstacles to successÖ how people overcome setbacksÖ and what things they would change in their life and work.

As I noted, three themes emerged.

First, successful people take responsibility—for their actions, attitudes, and outcomes. They make things happen, and they don't rely on, nor blame, fate or other people.

Under the heading of responsibility, I also put excellence—which is taking the responsibility to do things very well, and determination, which is carrying responsibility through and through.

The Women's Advisory Board members expressed responsibility this way: "Being goal-oriented and having a strong work ethic" Ö "Having the drive to go after what I want" Ö "I view my success as being in my hands."

One Advisory Board member said, "My first boss taught me that you can control your destiny by ensuring you put your energy into the things you can control, like the quality of your work."

Another turned it around and noted that a key obstacle to success is "failing to take responsibility for your own performance." She observed, " Too many people are unwilling to accept that their fate really lies within their own control in many casesÖthey find it easier to blame someone else for lack of success than to acknowledge a mistake, or weakness, or setback and then learn from it and move on."

Joyce Newman, a nationally-known media and speech coach, said this about the importance of responsibility, "You can't take your abilities or success for granted. You have to give 100% every day—in work and in relationships. To me, that's what separates the wheat from the chaff."

Relationships

The second success strategy is relationships: "Build strong relationships—in all aspects of your life and work."

The theme of this year's Women's Center Conference is "Leadership in a Networked World." When you get right down to it—relationships ARE your network. And, relationships aren't something you can just go out and acquire, they're something you have to build and nurture over time. They take time, energy, and personal investment.

Relationships enrich our lives. They make it possible for us not only make to succeed, but also to share our success.

After I was elected Chairman of Booz·Allen, I got a call from Jim Farley, congratulating me. Jim was the Chairman of Booz·Allen in 1974, when I joined the firm, and is someone I have admired for many years, so his call meant a lot. But, the calls and e-mails I got from employees meant even more. I got calls and notes from the staff in our mail room and personal congratulations from our receptionist and security guard—and I want to tell you, they meant every bit as much to me as Jim Farley's call.

There are a lot of days at work when having a good relationship with the building engineer is more important than having one with the Senior VP.

When I asked the Women's Advisory Board members, "what are the key enablers to achieving success," the majority said "other people" —most often family members and bosses (the good bosses). One said simply that a key to her success was, "People who believed in me."

Another said, "The ability to form and keep strong relationships in my business and personal life is crucial. I feel that deep bonds with other people are key to a successful life experience."

Another Advisory Board member put it this way, "On a personal level, everyone needs to find the person or persons and outside interests that balance their lives—whether a spouse, a friend or associate who is a sounding board. You need a place to vent, and a place to share successes and defeats so they stay in perspective.

I read where the actress Marlene Dietrich said, "It's the friends you can call up at 4 a.m. that matter."

She's right.

Resilience

The third success strategy that emerged from my discussions and experience is resilience. We need to be resilient—able to deal with, and profit from, change—both in good times and bad. In good times, resilience makes you prepared, ready to leap and take advantage when opportunities present themselves. My partner at Booz·Allen, Joyce Doria, talks about being creative and opportunistic, about "reinventing what you do" to succeed over time. Joyce has built on her expertise in human resources and organization to lead a string of successful businesses—from Total Quality Management, to Business Process Reengineering, to applying "commercial best practices" to government agencies. Joyce's resilience has enabled her to change with the needs of her clients and the marketplace.

Bill Stasior, Booz·Allen's current Chairman and my long-time friend and mentor, has a favorite Chinese proverb that he uses to convey the importance of vision and optimism. The proverb says, "When your cart reaches the foot of the mountain, a path will appear."

But, it's up to us to see that path when it appears, and to have the confidence to set out on it.

Resilience gives us the self-confidence to take risks and also to withstand criticisms and setbacks when we find ourselves on a rough path.

Resilience is especially important when times are tough. Joyce Newman, who coaches executives, athletes, and celebrities to work with the press, stresses the importance of optimism and self-confidence in handling stressful situations—whether with the media or in life.

She credits "being a glass-half-full person" with helping her overcome personal and professional hurdles. As a true media professional, Joyce boils down her advice about resilience in the face of setbacks into a single sound-bite, "Get over it."

That expression has taken on a bit of a put-down connotation recently, but viewed in the positive sense of resilience, "Get over it" is good advice.

*****

So, this is the point I want to leave you with:

Think about success differently—not as an outcome, but as a way of living. And explore how you can put success strategies of responsibility, relationships, and resilience—to work every day.

I mentioned a few minutes ago that I'm a sports junkie. I really enjoy and appreciate all sports. One of the athletes I've admired for a long time is the Olympic figure skating champion, Peggy Fleming. Listen to what she said about success:

"The ultimate goal should be doing your best, and enjoying it."

Think about it for a minute.

Peggy Fleming won the Olympic gold medal when she was 19 years old. If that outcome had been her measure of success, her life would have headed downhill at a very young age.

But she didn't define success as "standing on the podium in 1968." She defined success in terms that would guide her life journey long after the Grenoble OlympicsÖ She defined success in terms that each of us can embrace:

"The ultimate goal is doing our best, and enjoying it."

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I M fully appriciate her thinking.Please give UR views on the definition of success. I mean how much U agree with her.

JOY(ce)

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