Setting the Criteria and Conditions for Success
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Do you have a crystal clear idea of what kinds of business
undertakings align with your gifts, talents, passions, and strengths? If so, you
are in an excellent position to choose the prospects that can give you the
greatest satisfaction and results.
If not, this article explains how developing a set of "business
success criteria" can help you select a worthwhile undertaking
with much deeper insight, and thus establish conditions for successfully
Why is this crucial? Many people wander into businesses,
projects, and professions opportunistically, meaning that they grab something
that comes along because it's available and convenient. At times, this may be
necessary for financial reasons. But unless we understand our underlying success
criteria, we might not recognize the options that truly fuel and inspire us --
those best suited to our passions and strengths.
From "Corporate Passenger" to
Identifying business success criteria can be easier for some people than for
others. For example, those who leave corporate life to pursue an entrepreneurial
endeavor may experience a more roundabout discovery process. For that reason,
I'll use the following story to illustrate how this process might occur.
Roger and Roberta have grown tired of the grind and internal politics of
corporate life. When their kids leave home, they conclude that it's time to
switch to something more rewarding. But what? After a great deal of thought,
they decide to start by contracting out their services to their former
employers, which seems like the safest way to begin their transition. Later,
they believe they will tackle some kind venture together, such as starting or
buying a business.
After spending many years working as jobholders, however, their mindsets are
still functioning in an employee mode. Because their outlooks revolve primarily
around meeting the expectations of others, Roger and
Roberta simply haven't developed their own sets of values, visions, and goals.
In some ways, they feel as if they've been passengers in the back seat of a
moving car, unable to steer. To pursue starting or buying their own business,
they'll need to find a way to move from the "passenger's seat"
to the "driver's seat" where they'll have better visibility and
more control over their destinies.
And although they don't realize it yet, doing this will mean changing their
mindsets. They'll first need to shift from thinking like employees to thinking
like contractors. Then they'll need to start thinking
like consultants. Ultimately, they'll need to think
Seeking Their Business Success Criteria
Roger's and Roberta's journey occurs in three stages as they gradually make
the shift from one mindset to the next.
1) Making the transition from employee to contractor
As Roger and Roberta begin contracting their services to their former
employers, they learn how to set up their own business identities, home offices,
schedules, and accounting systems. Yet much like their prior employee days, they
continue working with the same familiar people to meet the same unexceptional
Soon, the projects they're working on seem tedious and dissatisfying because
of the highly predictable problems and shortcomings. Eventually, Roberta and
Roger begin to question what they're really seeking from self-employment. They
secretly yearn to climb off of the tiresome treadmills that characterize their
current working mode.
2) Making the transition from contractor to consultant
After much discussion and introspection, Roberta and Roger recognize that
they have not yet developed an independent perspective on their professions.
They see that everything they've done thus far satisfies someone else's
conventions rather than their own.
Today, however, they're operating in a self-governing mode.
They have no need to view themselves as quasi-employees if they choose to see
It begins to dawn on Roberta and Roger that their former employers are
currently their clients, and they are
consultants (guides and advisers), in addition to being
contractors. This means they have a right -- and a need -- to set their own
policies and develop procedures and best practices for their service businesses.
Whenever their assigned projects backfire with predictable problems, they don't
need to quietly defer to the people making mistakes. They can make proactive
Roberta and Roger also see that they can look for new clients
whose outlooks and approaches align with their own. When they better
qualify their clients, they'll have more satisfying working relationships and
outcomes. They are no longer feeling the need to accept clients on a financial
basis only; nothing seems worth the hassle and stress of bad relationships and
projects. This realization represents their first major step toward establishing
their own business success criteria.
3) Making the transition from consultant to entrepreneur
Roger and Roberta are happier, but still unclear about what represents an
ideal scenario and how they would know it if they saw it. They resolve to
undertake a methodical, soul-searching process to better align their business
goals with their mission in life.
During this process, they meticulously identify their passions,
purpose, strengths, gifts, life themes, and core values. By the
end, they have a list of specific ways in which they can judge future business
ventures, partners, clients, and projects. Some of the criteria are more
practical and others more lofty. But each selected criterion seems crucial to
achieving balance, fulfilment, and higher contribution in their lives.
For example, their criteria include everything from maintaining a healthy mix
of work and recreation to seeking only what they believe they could be the best
in the world at doing. Roger and Roberta then assign numerical weights to their
criteria. In this way, they create a powerful checklist for comparing, scoring,
evaluating, and then selecting future business ventures, which will thereby set
the conditions for success.
In conclusion, aligning our life passions with our business
purpose helps us define our business success criteria. When we shift into an
entrepreneurial mode, especially after many years of corporate employment, these
criteria illuminate how to choose the right situations, and establish the
conditions for successfully pursuing them.
About the Author
Adele Sommers, Ph.D. is author of “Straight Talk on Boosting Business
Performance: 12 Ways to Profit from Hidden Potential.” To learn more about her
book and sign up for more free tips like these, visit her site at
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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2007-05-05 17:30:51 in Business Articles