Working with innovation, we often talk about critical success factors. Have you considered developing your personal success factors? What should they be? To become successful as an innovation leader and intrapreneur–and as a partner, family member and friend–you can explore these pathways to success:
• Know your values. Often success at work is defined by others, which can cause internal conflict with your inherent values. Even if you haven’t taken time to delineate your values, you will feel stress when you take actions that go against them in an effort to please others. I assure you that knowing your values and living by them will eliminate this unfortunate situation.
• Follow your passion. As you get to know your values you will also discover where your passion is. And you can only become successful in the true meaning of the word if you can live out your passion in the majority of your life. Passion is doing what comes natural to you and with a continued desire to learn and develop within this area. How do you let your passion out? How do you get the kicks that make life great? Why not plan for them?
• Decide on your personal vision. We all know how important it is for a company to set a vision that makes concrete the results the organization aims to achieve over the long term. Similarly, you can define your own personal vision that combines your values and your passion into a brief but meaningful statement of what you desire to achieve in business, in your personal life and as a member of your community.
• Set goals. Once you’ve defined your vision, you can determine what short, mid-range and long-term goals will get you there. Share your vision and goals with the people who are important in your life to help build in accountability to your planning for success. Review your goals on a regular basis, making adjustments as you achieve progress or suffer setbacks. You will learn that working to the goals rather than achieving them is what makes you happy, so be prepared to set new goals when you reach your current ones.
• Understand and respect your stakeholders. Who will help you achieve your goals and personal vision? It’s important to identify and understand your key influencers and what drives them. These are your stakeholders and you must make sure they understand what you bring to the table and also how they can help you achieve success–and how you can help them become successful.
• Work on your T-Shape. Go deep in at least one skill area and have breadth and empathy for other areas. Thus you need to accept that you don’t know everything and have the courage to seek help and advice from others. Gain a broader perspective by learning from those whose experience and views differ from yours. If you have team members on whom you are relying to help you achieve your goals, be sure to share credit with them. Recognize the stakeholders in your personal life who make it possible for you to have the time needed to achieve success on your business goals; thank them for their role in your success.
• Stay current. While you’re working toward your own set of goals, the outside world will not be standing still. Make sure you keep on top of external developments that could impact your ability to achieve your vision.
• Communicate yourself. How do you want other people to look upon you? You might not like this, but it does not really matter much what you think of yourself. What really matters is how other people perceive you. Build and nurture your personal brand and work on your personal messages.
• Manage time. You might think that working hard for 60, 70 or 80 hours each week is what it takes to be successful. You might even think being a workaholic is a badge of honour. I have met many innovation officers and intrapreneurs who think like this. But in the recent years, some of them got reasons to reconsider how to manage and spent their time. One guy had a heart attack. Several people got divorced. Some realized that they went through life without seeing their kids grow up. They got to the other side where they understood they needed to manage their time rather than letting time manage them.