3 January, 2023

Resilient Success in 2023

On the first business day of 2023, wishing Everyone much success, through decisive actions, an agile mindset and responsible performance habits and business cultures that enable us, collectively, to make a sustainable contribution to the "bigger picture".

Waking up this morning to the sad news of motorsport driver Ken Block's death in a snowmobile accident, NFL star Damar Hamlin's freak on-field collapse due to a cardiac arrest, football icon Pele's funeral in Brazil and today, almost a decade after his tragic ski accident and far from F1, acknowledging Schumi's birthday, I was reminded that, irrespective of our stature - physical, personal, professional, corporate or reputational, we are all vulnerable to Life's upsides and downsides. For me, the inspiration comes from knowing that these GOATS and rising stars loved their work. They expressed their Passion daily, which fueled extraordinary performance and softened the sacrifices that any success story demands. This is the sweet spot for resilience. In Hamlin's case, he has a long career ahead of him.

"Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do." -Pele, Football

In business and in Life, we run and chase our goals, targets and responsibilities to achieve, to succeed, to serve, to be recognised. These responsive actions are necessary for progress. In the New Normal, we are compelled to dig deeper and plough in the extra effort to survive. The response triggers are amplified.

A healthy dose of stress is motivating. Pressure makes us even more determined. But constant challenges, reactive behaviour, the pushes and the pulls of competition become addictive and distracts from Purpose. We burn out. The concept of Thrive seems idealistic.

In strategy, it is no different. We get side-tracked from the Vision; our execution focus is disrupted by emerging risks, opportunities and sudden events. We lose sight of the end-goal; clarity gives way to uncertainty. Too much information pulls the wool over our eyes. The business model fails; stakeholders lose confidence. Risk management is about damage control.

"The road conditions are so variable here, there is ice, snow and everything in between. But a podium finish is a definite possibility if we stay smooth and adjust to the slippery conditions." -Ken Block, Motorsport Rally

At the end of 2022, many felt they were running and chasing on a hamster wheel. Far and fast, long and hard but repeating cyclical patterns. There was a general sense of exhaustion. Crossing the year-end finish line, despite the odds, lacked joy.

When chasing Purpose - the vision and passion will energise sustainable effort and action - stay on the path and support the eco-system. Chasing for Performance only is unsustainable - stop and reset because topping the stats alone will deliver short-term gratification and gradually build frustration.

"I didn't have statistics in my mind when I was racing. It was always a consequence - a nice consequence. I enjoyed it, but it wasn't the reason I was racing." -Michael Schumacher, Formula One

Perhaps in 2023 we can aim to become GOATS in our own small fields of play, by being more intentional around our daily actions.

"Extremely Blessed. Extremely Grateful. Chasing Greatness." -Damar Hamlin, NFL

Make time to pause and reflect regularly as individuals, in teams or in leadership circles to ask:

  1. Have the applied actions helped to progress the Purpose or Vision?
  2. Has the execution approach been optimal, under circumstances?
  3. Am I/are we comfortable to take accountability for what was done, how it was done and the results?
  4. Are the outcomes a fair reflection of effort, contribution, shared values and performance culture?
  5. Is the current motivation tank loaded to keep going long and consistently strong?

Resilient performance is a consequence of consistent daily habits. Small, intentional steps will generate the big, strategic results. Consistency counts. Purpose-driven leadership matters - of the strategic goals, of the related game plan and of the performance culture.

Article written by Roshni Gajjar