The Success Formula, continued.
Step 1: Building Your Ideal Future State
by Richard Monette B.Sc., B.Ed., M.A.,
My last article, The Success Formula
(Success = Results Delivered x Fulfillment Lived)
a lot of interest, especially around the suggestion that to achieve
true success, it is necessary to “make the abstract components
of success tangible and definable.” Many readers asked me
how to achieve this task. To respond, my next few articles in Richard’s
Views will address four steps to overcoming the challenges of understanding
both variables in the Success Formula.
Step 1. Building Your Ideal Future State
Step 2. Identifying the Factors and Behaviours Critical to Your
Step 3. Keeping Score
Step 4. The InnerWarrior Cycle™ – Being systematically
purposeful in your quest for success
Beginning with the end
Many wise leaders in business, sport and life follow Steven Covey’s*
advice and start with their desired end in mind. To this effect,
I suggest you begin your quest for success by building an Ideal
Future State, or IFS. Building an IFS requires "pragmatic visioning",
where an individual or organization clearly states the RESULTS they
want to deliver (the tangible, obvious components of success) as
well as the nature of the FULFILLMENT (the intangible, not-so-obvious
components of success) their quest for success will bring. Building
an IFS is an exercise in PRAGMATIC CREATIVITY: it requires CONSCIOUSLY
creating a REALITY that yet doesn’t exist.
* The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People
(Simon and Schuster, 2000)
Success = Self-Transformation
The only predictable aspect of the quest for success is that it
will involve change. To seek improvement (or to become more successful)
is to change: it is a conscious and purposeful process of transforming
yourself or your organization into something different. The true
challenge lies in deciding HOW to change. The quality and the quantity
of success achieved is always an outcome of the individual’s
or organization’s ability to consistently make the right decisions
on HOW to change next. For example, a company implements an innovative
strategy and captures market shares. Does it continue on the same
path, based on its current success, or does it continue to innovate?
The answer to this will dictate the success it ultimately achieves.
Once built, a solid IFS becomes a reliable frame of reference for
HOW the individual or organization should change. It acts as a powerful
beacon, guiding the ongoing decision-making process.
The steps to building your Ideal Future State:
Building an Ideal Future is simple: there are only three steps to
implement. The quality of the Ideal Future State is directly related
to the reflection invested in completing these three steps. The
time and effort invested at the onset will greatly enhance and clarify
every stage of your quest for success.
a. Gather your data. Identify and compile as many of the components
of the success you want to deliver by reflecting upon and answering
the questions about Results and Fulfillment listed below. Be sure
to complete all the necessary research and inquiries, referring
to books, the Internet, people, specialists etc. The questions I’ve
listed are generic: adapt them to your specific situation (individual,
athlete, organization, etc.).
b. Based on your answers to the questions, write an initial ONE-PAGE
statement that describes the COMPLETE STATE of SUCCESS you want
to deliver. This will be the first draft of your Ideal Future State.
Restrict yourself to one page or about 650 words – the ultimate
goal is to carve out the true core of the success you want to deliver.
c. Re-visit your Ideal Future State five or six times over a period
of a couple of weeks. Try to make it more complete and specific
each time. Within an organization, involve all key players in this
Before you begin, remember that the questions presented are meant
as a framework for building your Ideal Future State. Feel free to
add any relevant information and/or content.
Some Questions about the “Results” Variable
of the Success Formula:
What specific results do you want to deliver?
- Organization: revenue, sales, membership, market shares, etc.
- Individual: level of performance achieved, rewards, recognition,
promotions, awards, etc.
When will you deliver these results and level of performance?
- Date, timeline, year, quarter, century, etc.
A note about timeline: In my experience, I have realized that
the scope of any quest for success should be a very personal decision.
It should be dictated by the nature of the endeavor and what you
are comfortable with. Some people and organizations are comfortable
thinking in very long terms while others prefer short term goals.
Often the urgency of the situation and the context will dictate
What practical, technical, organizational or mechanical weaknesses
must you improve upon in order to deliver this level of performance
- Specific skills, techniques, abilities, competencies, etc.
What practical, technical, organizational or mechanical strengths
can you build upon to deliver such level of performance and results?
- Specific skills, techniques, abilities, competencies, strengths,
Can you identify a model that displays the kind of skills you want
- Organization: A business or organizational model to duplicate.
The Canadian airline WestJet successfully adapting the Southwest
Airlines business model, for example.
- Individual: A role model: Wise like Gandhi; Innovative like Edison;
Well-coiffed like Trump; etc.
- Athletes: Courageous like Ali; Classy like Gretzky; Confident
like Woods, etc.
Any other wishes you have regarding the results and level of performance
you want to deliver?
Some Questions about the “Fulfillment” Variable
of the Success Formula:
People are greatly affected by their physical environment. From
that perspective, describe the physical surroundings, the settings
you will create when you deliver your Ideal Future State. What will
be special and enjoyable about your environment? What kind of atmosphere
and context will you create?
- For athletes, imagine yourself at the Olympics, parading around
the stadium with your shoulders draped in your country’s flag.
For a hockey player, imagine yourself skating with the cup above
your head. If your IFS is to play university sport, imagine what
it would feel like to live on the campus of your chosen university,
playing in front of 80,000 cheering fans.
- For organizations, describe an environment that will represent
your objectives and your values. For example, when we built our
own Ideal Future State at InnerWarrior Consulting, we described
our future offices as bright, colourful and open-spaced, where people
engage in purposeful, pragmatic and creative endeavours. A space
in which people will be able to work and live with great flexibility.
- For the individual, imagine where you will live your success:
a new house, a different country, a better climate, a vineyard in
the south of France, etc.
What must change within yourself through your quest for success?
- Values, attitudes, and mental competencies. Some examples include
leadership, courage, focus, motivation, honesty, etc.
As you strive to deliver your IFS, how would you like to:
- Feel about yourself and/or your organization (confident, in control,
creative, determined, etc.)?
- Relate to and communicate with others? With each other?
- Present yourself?
- Grow as a person? Grow as an organization? Grow as a team?
- Motivate yourself? Motivate others? Motivate each other?
- Other wishes?
What new behaviour or shift(s) in behaviour would you like to observe
in yourself? In your organization? In your team?
- Improved/new mental qualities and competencies?
- Improved/new state of mind?
- Improved/new perspectives, outlook and mindset?
- Other wishes?
What’s your purpose?
- What's in it for you?
- What’s in it for your organization?
- What's in it for your community? (Local, national, global)
What will be the fringe benefits for you? For your organization?
For your stakeholders?
- Doors opened, opportunities presented, people met, places travelled,
experience garnered, relationships improved, etc.
Other wishes regarding the fulfillment you and/or your organization
will live in the process of delivering results?
The next step
Your Ideal Future State will be the focal point of your quest for
change. It is an end result that will be a reference for how you
will improve and change. In my next article, I will discuss Step
2. Identifying the Factors and Behaviours Critical to Your Success,
focusing on HOW to direct your energy in order raise your level
of performance and fulfillment in all of your activities and how
to implement more effective behaviours day-to-day.
Download the PDF
version of The Success Formula, Part 2