10 Beliefs of Success

My lifelong friend Shawn O’Brien, a successful businessman, shared these 10 beliefs of new P&G CEO Bob McDonald, who throughout his education, military, and business careers has learned these 10 beliefs about success that “deeply drive his behavior everyday.” As a P&G alum, I was inspired by them and hope you will be inspired as well:

1. Everyone wants to succeed.

I have never in all my life, in any career, in any country, at any time, met a person who tries to fail. Everyone I have met wants to succeed. So the job of the leader is to help people succeed.

2. Success is contagious.

A leader’s job is to catch people succeeding, even if the success is a small one, and to use that small success to build a virtuous cycle of ever larger successes. Since success is contagious, one success will always lead to another, and one successful person will always influence another to be successful.

3. Putting people in the right jobs is one of the most important jobs of the leader.

People like to do work that they are good at. Think about your education. What was your favorite class? What was your grade in that class? Chances are that the class you liked the most was also the one in which you received the best grade. Human beings always gravitate to things they do well.

4. Character is the most important trait of a leader.

At West Point I learned that the character of a leader is their most important attribute. Character is defined as always putting the needs of the organization above your own.

5. Choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong.

This powerful line came from the Cadet Prayer at West Point. A leader who lives by their word can be counted on to “choose the harder right,” to put the needs of the organization above their own, to do the unpopular thing when it is right.

6. Ineffective systems and cultures are bigger barriers to achievement than the talents of people.

The role of the leader is to improve the systems and the culture in which their organization operates to improve the consistency and level of success of the results. Any high performance organization must have four components: passionate leadership, sound strategies, robust systems, and a high performance culture.

7. There will be some people in the organization who will not make it on the journey.

Even after taking all of the steps above, there still will be some people in the leader’s organization who will be either unwilling or unable to go on the journey of growth with the leader and the organization.

8. Organizations must renew themselves.

Any organization, as with any organism, which is growing must renew itself. Growth by definition requires change. Change requires renewal.

9. Recruiting is top priority.

There is nothing more important than recruiting. When we recruit we are hiring the future leaders of the Company and also our future friends.

10. The true test of the leader is the performance of the organization when they are absent or after they depart.

The leader’s job is to build sufficient organization capability, including the leadership and individual initiative of the members of the organization as well as the strategies/systems/culture of the organization, so that the leader’s presence or absence would not significantly affect the business results.