What Does Success Mean?

Most companies, including Versique, my own, put extensive time and energy into general planning, client relationships, and results strategy, all the while keeping a close eye on operations and service/product offerings and, of course, finances. Over the past 10 years, I have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of great companies, and I have seen many put so much energy into the strategic planning process only to fall short because they forget one key item – they fail to define what success means to their organization.

Success can mean different things to different people, so which definition is right?

If we look to general sources, Wikipedia defines success as: “An achievement of a goal, the opposite of failure.” Merriam-Webster states: “The fact of getting or achieving wealth, respect, or fame.”

The problem I see with these definitions is their lack of clarity for success in business.

If we listen to Henry Ford, one of the most successful businessmen of his time, we would see success as a team effort. He states, “Coming together is a beginning, keeping together is progress; working together is success.”

Winston Churchill argues that, “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

One of my personal favorites, Vince Lombardi, said,  “The difference between a successful person (team) and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.”

Investment guru Robert Kiyosaki says, “The size of your success is measured on the strength of your desire.”

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Lastly, John Wooden, who not only built the pyramid of success, but coached his team to 10 national championships, defines success as “peace of mind, attained only through self-satisfaction and knowing you made the effort to do the best that you are capable of.”

Each and every one of these people has had tremendous achievements in their lives, all with different views on success. So here is a new definition of success based on the words of the greats.

“Success is building a hardworking, capable team of people that will work together with enthusiasm in the toughest of times with the desire and will to achieve a common goal.”

Simple right? It can be. Expert businessman, John Collins, author of Good to Great, simplifies it for us: “Get the right people in the right seats.”

Steve Yakesh, is EVP of Versique, a top executive search and consulting firm based in Minneapolis. He brings nine years of search experience to the industry. Prior to Versique, Steve gained noted sales and marketing leadership experiences inside both a global 50 and a Fortune 500 company. These leadership opportunities have given him great insight into one of Versique’s core values: Collaboration. Borrowing a quote from Vince Lombardi, “The achievements of an organization are the results of the combined effort of each individual.” Outside of work, Steve volunteers his time on two non-profit boards and enjoys spending time with his wife and two children. Steve is a graduate of Southwest Minnesota State University with a degree in Business Administration.


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