The Common Denominator of Success

by Albert E.N. Gray
“The common denominator of success --- the secret of success of every man who has ever been successful --- lies in the fact that he formed the habit of doing things that failures don't like to do.”

THE COMMON DENOMINATOR OF SUCCESS is as timely and inspirational, as it was when it was first delivered in 1940. Though it was written for life insurance professionals, it's message is equally well suited to anyone in the sales profession, or anyone in any field of endeavor who seeks success in their professional, personal or spiritual lives.
This inspiring message by Mr. Gray is one of the most timeless pieces of life insurance literature. It first appeared as a major address at the 1940 NALU (National Association of Life Underwriters) annual convention in Philadelphia and has been available to association members in pamphlet form ever since. Although our author has passed away, his words of wisdom and moving philosophy --- so manifest in "The Common Denom…

The network

It's not a social network. It's not a search network. It's a network. This is an important network. It will stretch everywhere. An entire universe connected. Right now, the network is limited. It knows where most of the nodes hang out. It knows with whom these nodes hang out. It knows what the nodes are interested in. It knows what the nodes talk about. It will know what the nodes think about. The entire planet has an invisible web on top of it. Kinda like a blanket. This blanket will know everything at some point. Like a super-organism. The organism can influence groups, countries, movements. The organism can influence individuals. The mechanism is simple. The organism sends signals to various places of it's surface, on carefully selected individuals with bespoke messaging. The individual is also free to do research. Research will be biased. The individual moves and behaves in the end, like the organism wants to. The system protects itself and "removes"…

Problems at scale

When you're working inside a single team, alignment isn't hard. You just know what others are doing and when you don't you just ask. It's not too hard.

When there are multiple teams, it becomes a bit trickier. Each team has their own direction. However, try to add partners and suppliers. Each with different motivations and incentives.

Think about it this way: 2 teams want to integrate. Half way through you find out that one team is building a bridge and the other is building a tunnel. WTF is a common reaction. The overall conclusion is that someone needs to take charge.

Then we come to the following common misconception:

Complete alignment - teams do whatever the leader says.
Complete autonomy - teams do whatever.

Alignment enables autonomy.

There are multiple ingredients required to reach alignment at scale.

Shared purpose One wild question pops up: What are you working on and why?
Possible answers:
We're working on X because Sam said it's important.We're d…

Executives - why do they always ask the hard questions?

You know executives are in a room when most of the people shut up. For an outside observer they seem to bring no value in the meeting.

This is the perfect picture of a meeting where executives are in the room.

People are afraid. Why are people afraid of management? Management is there to help. Always. Remember "with great power comes great responsibility"? They are Spiderman.
Some have earned their title, some have been bitten by a spider, but most of them are there to help.
Executives don't care about you, as an individual. They don't know you. They only care about results. If you're ever in a room with executives keep 2 things in mind: you know more than them about the topicthey are there to help, but you need to show them the problem Of course executives are not superhuman. Of course you absolutely know more about your projects problems and complexities. But when you need to report to an executive, you have to understand that they need simple things like: where …

How important is alignment between people and teams?

What is alignment?

This is a simple question with a simple answer. Alignment between people and teams means having the same understanding of the current state of the affairs, strategy and goals, at the same time.

It's not hard. Think about it like this. You schedule a dinner with your friend. The moment you find out you cannot join, you send a message to reschedule. That's it. Both parties have the same information at the same time.

What does this imply?
As soon as information changes, it has to be broadcast to all the affected parties.Information change means change of plans for both parties. Common planning has to happen again. Simple, right? 
What if the information change fails to reach all parties as soon as possible? Waste happens. The later the information arrives to the affected parties, the more waste gets created. Besides waste, there can also be actions taken that are not easily reversible. Think about if your friend is driving to the restaurant already because you f…

What is product definition?

In this post we will go into more detail about what is product definition and how to measure success.

What is customer discovery?

What is customer discovery? - Source from The lean startup