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Success at work – being lucky or having a talent?

Have you ever seen a person who worked hard, yet didn’t succeed – didn’t get promoted and received little financial reward? It would seem that hard work, while admirable, does not guarantee business success. Even though it might appear otherwise, the successful employee or manager is also not the result of luck, who they know or a fat inheritance. Even if a young man’s father owns a successful dealership of exotic cars, the son won’t make it on his own just by luck, his father’s connections or even the inherited business.

Being successful at one’s job does depend on a few key factors.

The first factor is the ability to face one’s work with joy, not horror. One should find interest and enjoyment in their work and not be doing it solely for the paycheck. Increased skill and productivity, the measurable elements of success, are rarely motivated by money for any extended period of time. For example, take a young man who’s been discharged from the army and wants to go traveling around the world. His target is a trip to India and he needs for this destination a certain amount of money. He goes to work picking fruit in the orchard, learns the job and forces himself to get up in the morning and go pick fruit. He comes back exhausted at the end of the day. His only interest is in getting the check at the end of the month. After five months he finally manages to pull together the money he needs for his trip. At that moment he makes a call to his foreman to quit. The money was the only thing that drove him to keep his job. While he may have been succeeded at financing his trip, it’s unlikely that he would consider himself successful at this job.

One must be trained in the knowledge of the field in which he or she operates. This includes practical application and real life experience with the subject of their profession. The pilot must know the theory of flight and put in their flying time, the carpenter must know his tools and be skilled in making them work, and a florist must know the the different types of flowers and the art of arrangement. Untrained, unexperienced people are rarely successful.

Ability and intelligence alone will not guarantee success. Anyone working with other people, directly or indirectly, must be able to interact well with them. It’s not just the ability to control their own work tools, they also need the ability to manage other people, to direct their actions towards the coordinated efforts of the task at hand. Similarly, one should be willing and able to be controlled by other people.

Effective managers have good communication skills, can easily gain agreement and tend to raise the overall morale of the people they work with. They can communicate easily and freely with the person standing in front of them as if that person were the only one in the world. With focused attention they listen intently. They can express their ideas in a relaxed and smooth way, even if they’re displeased with the other person. This is a very precious skill in a manager. Their ability to communicate and reason invites the participation of others and makes it easy for people to agree with them. It is simple, sensible and a pleasure to receive orders and to carry them out. These are great managers, effective team leaders and project managers who are competent at what they do.

These are the factors of success – finding interest and joy in what one does, have knowledge and experience in one’s area of expertise, having good control and a willingness to be controlled and having good communication skills that bring about agreement and improved morale. None of these are inherent abilities – all can be developed with proper training.


Good luck to us all,
Elad Hadar, CEO
Success Group Business Consulting

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