Using Your Own Road To Success To Create Value
You probably don’t think you have much in common with The Beatles. But here’s how you might…
Have you ever considered what sequence of opportunities in your life enabled you to become who you are? What combination of events enabled you to become an expert in your chosen field? It’s probably a combination of your intelligence, inherent abilities, cultural background, and unique opportunities presented to you along the way.
In his newest book, “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell, the author explores the paths that highly successful people took to determine what enabled them to succeed when others did not. His books identify socially accepted beliefs that we know to be true through our own life experience, then find real life examples or repeated patterns that support and explain why this is so. And he entertainingly tells intriguing stories about people to prove his points.
He explores birth order, IQ, demographics, culture and family backgrounds as predeterminers of success. One of his premises is that given you possess the intellectual capability, the “10,000 Hour Rule” applies, which asserts that everyone has to work at least 10,000 hours in their area of expertise before they are considered “subject matter experts.” He offers The Beatles’ life stories as examples. And further asserts that there has to be a sequence of extraordinary opportunities that provided them with a path to succeed unlike others.
The Beatles first started playing together in 1957; they came to America in 1964. In 1960, when they were still a struggling high school band they were invited to play in Hamburg, Germany in strip clubs. They played in a club that offered a nonstop show, hour after hour, meaning that they played eight hours a day, seven days a week.
They kept going back because they got a lot of free alcohol and sex. But it paid off in other ways as well: they gained confidence, experience and stamina and had to write lots of new material including both jazz and rock ‘n roll. They ended up traveling to Hamburg five times between 1960 and 1962, performing 270 nights in about a year and one-half. By the time they had their first “success” in America, they had performed live an estimated 1200 times!
….”in fact they (Outliers) are invariably the beneficiaries of hidden advantages and extraordinary opportunities and cultural legacies that allow them to learn and work hard and make sense of the work in ways others cannot. The culture we belong to and the legacies passed down by our forbears shape the patterns of our achievement in ways we cannot begin to imagine…It’s only by asking where they are from that we can unravel the logic behind who succeeds and who doesn’t. “(page 19 excerpt).
David Brooks wrote an op-ed piece on the book in The New York Times stating that Gladwell slights the “individual’s character and creativity” by focusing so much on the unique opportunities and “deep patterns” granted to highly successful individuals. Gladwell responds in his blog by referring to his chapter on lawyers and “meaningful work” stating that “…there is complexity, autonomy, and a relationship between effort and reward in doing creative work, and that’s worth more to most of us than money.”
In my own background, I had numerous opportunities that have led me to become a compensation expert. Here’s the short version: The first was when I worked as a consultant for a California State Professor who had a consulting practice that conducted classification & pay studies for public sector clients. The second was when I worked for Citibank and obtained my CCP certification from World at Work. The third was when I obtained my M.A. in HR. And the last was when I set up my own shingle in consulting and learned that my compensation knowledge and skills were in the greatest demand from clients.
Acknowledging that sequence of events enabled me to focus and develop the expertise that would provide the greatest value and service for my clients. Specialized knowledge is always in greater demand than generalized knowledge. What’s your story?
Evaluate your own background and steps to success to determine how you too can build your focus, motivate and/or create value for your employees or clients. Everyone has they own level of “outlier” status to achieve; use lessons learned in this book to create and offer others such so-called “unique opportunities.” Indulge yourself in an afternoon of great reading: kick off your shoes, put your legs up on your desk, and pick up a copy of “Outliers” to read while listening to “Abbey Road.”Tags: Business Value, Creating Business Value, Creating Value in Business, Value in Business