June 22, 2015

From Success to Significance


I’d like to offer a paradigm shift for the way we conduct ourselves professionally. Rather than thinking about how to make ourselves and our teams the most successful in the business, let’s go for how to make a positive impact for our clients, colleagues and team culture. Focusing on significance, rather than success, oftentimes takes us from a place of selfish desires to selfless acts. Going from wanting to produce results to making things happen — from emotion to motion — will take us where we want to go faster and multiply the outcomes of our efforts.

Take your list of goals that will make you more successful, and turn these goals into action items that will create more significance. Here’s an example:

Goals for Success:

  1. Profitability – increase revenue and land three new accounts.
  2. Customer Service – improve response time and hire more staff.
  3. Retention – improve bonus and incentive programs to reduce turnover.
  4. Efficiency – increase productivity by challenging employees.
  5. Growth – open three more offices within the next five years.

Goals for Significance:

  1. Reach – provide services to many people who will benefit from them.
  2. Impact – improve the lives of clients, customers and service recipients.
  3. Purpose – work on projects that matter with colleagues who care.
  4. Positivity – build respectful, trusting relationships with optimistic people.
  5. Innovation – create opportunities by pursuing ideals and passions.

When we search for success, we hope to make a profit. When we strive for significance, we hope to make a difference. When we search for success, we focus on developing business. When we strive for significance, we focus on developing relationships. When we search for success, we look for unwanted problems to solve. When we strive for significance, we look for enterprising programs to create.

And when we strive for significance, we find success.

Lee Broekman is an author, professor, trainer and coach. Her company Organic Communication, brings interactive, never boring, always edifying presentations and programs — focused on communication, collaboration and innovation — to your firm or organization.