What do Brad Anderson, former CEO of Best Buy; Jay Leno; and Internet billionaire Mark Cuban have in common? It is a love affair with results, and having it gives you an edge that exponentially increases your opportunity for success.
Brad Anderson described it his way during his days at Best Buy: “I’m looking for a cultural edge that regenerates, that allows you to always be dissatisfied and always reinventing. In our industry, with the amount of innovation that’s going on, I don’t think there’s any choice.”
Jay Leno – perhaps the hardest working person in show business – said, “This sounds silly, but my attitude is, sooner or later, the other guy is going to have to eat, drink, go to the bathroom, get laid, or take a vacation, and that’s when I catch him.”
Mark Cuban sums up the similarities: “It’s not who you know. It’s not how much money you have. It’s very simple. It’s whether or not you have the edge and the guts to use it.”
The edge is a deep passion for competing, contributing, and yes, winning. It’s being dissatisfied with the status quo and never resting on your laurels. It is caring so much that you work your tail off to deliver better results tomorrow than you did today. Passion for delivering results drives learning and embracing change as a way of life. It’s an attitude not a skill.
Starting Your Affair
You can’t teach a love affair with results, but you can influence it. Here are three ideas you can use immediately:
1. Generate creative tension: People change for one of two reasons: Crisis pushes them or opportunity pulls them. Delivering consistent results requires a sense of urgency and a commitment to action. Those naturally occur when the crisis or opportunity are important enough to generate tension. You don’t have to be convinced to be innovative or engaged. Education may be helpful to determine how to reach your goal, but the internal motivation to act happens when the vision of what we want to achieve is different than our current reality.
2. Don’t forget your integrity. There are two types of people: those who deliver consistent results without sacrificing their integrity and those who don’t.
True integrity goes beyond personal character and becomes an issue of long-term viability. The best performers care about long-term results so much that they are unwilling to violate their integrity and suffer the potential impact of their decision.
3. Show the courage of accountability. The professional and Olympic athletes with whom I’ve spoken over the years all say the same thing—you can look in the faces of teammates and competitors when success and failure are on the line and tell who wants to accept responsibility and who doesn’t.
Personal accountability usually comes into question when we don’t want to do something out of fear or disinterest. Fear plays a role when failure has a personal impact. Disinterest, intentional or inadvertent, enables the status quo. Either way, the result is a lack of execution.
There’s a line from the often-quoted “Unknown” that applies here, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way; if you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.”