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Monday, November 23, 2015
MCC Partner News from Microsoft: Stickability is the Key
In my time meeting with SMB owners — from Millennials to Boomers — across the country, I've learned that there's no single factor that can guarantee future success. Instead, there are a dizzying array of traits, unique circumstances and opportunities that determine who thrives and who doesn't. There are, however, characteristics found in so many successful people, it's difficult to deny their influence. Greg Reid, a motivational speaker and author of the Think and Grow Rich series, says one such factor is "stickability" — a term he coined to describe the persistence of those who have gone on to become great business leaders. In the below post, Greg shares his perspective on why stickability is the single most important quality to be cultivated in anyone who aspires to be a business owner. I'm thrilled to have Greg contribute a series of content to the SMB blog and think you'll find great insight from his unique approach to achievement and motivation.
One of the greatest single traits shared by men and women who have been successful in business — and in pursuit of their life goals — is persistence. I like to call that quality stickability, which the great Napoleon Hill, the father of the modern philosophy of success, recognized in these words:
"One reason why most men seldom accumulate fortunes until they have passed well beyond the 40-year goal post of life is that they must undergo failures and adversities and overcome sufficient obstacles to develop in them sufficient knowledge to accumulate wealth."
In other words they must — a strong and unmistakable commandment — persist in following their dreams, their most cherished ideas through to the end. Of course, exceptions to every rule abound (think of the twenty-something billionaires of the technology revolution), but it's fascinating to observe how stickability — the ability of the determined leader to stick like glue to a passionately held goal through any and all adversity — works as a powerful tool for all who choose to employ it.
I spoke to Martin Cooper, a visionary and an excellent example of stickability. Credited as the inventor of the modern-day cellular phone, he took advantage when the opportunity presented itself. He didn't procrastinate, but took continued action against doubters and unparalleled obstacles.
Cooper began by developing portable products, including the first hand-held police radios made for the Chicago police department, and citywide pagers, which lead to the invention of the first 800 MHz cellular phone, often called the “Brick" in 1973. You remember those big devices seen on Miami Vice that weighed about 2.5 pounds each?
Sure there were car phones at the time, but nobody thought that having a portable phone would be of any value. Martin, however, saw things differently and envisioned that the phone should be so portable that it could go anywhere.
After countless hours of trial-and-error, and in defiance of skeptics, Cooper eventually became the first person in history to make a public call using what he referred to as a "personal telephone."
By 2006, Martin Cooper and his wife, Arlene Harris (an ingenious innovator in her own right), had founded Great Call, makers of Jitterbug, in cooperation with the Verizon network. They marketed it to the elderly and those specifically looking for simplicity — a true modern example of applying the "Keep It Simple, Stupid" (KISS) formula in a practical and successful manner.
What was the secret behind this success story? The understanding that stickability has to be consistent with flexibility. Balance between persistence and flexibility is crucial. Sometimes you can take stickabilitytoo far. It's important to know the difference between perseverance and stubbornness.
You must be able to adjust if needed. This means, of course, that you first have to be able to identify when adjustments need to be made. You must be fair and open with yourself. Sometimes this includes listening to others' feedback, even when you don't wish to hear it.
According to Cooper, obstacles can do one of two things:
One, they can make you quit.
Or, two, they can reinforce your resolution.
How many creations in our lives would we not have today if the inventors had let obstacles stop them?
What would your life look like if you had quit after the first failed attempt? You would have never learned how to walk, ride a bike or even drive. Do you still have the same level of determination and persistence that you had in your youth to achieve your goals?
When faced with challenges, leaders know that if one process fell short, another one would eventually succeed. This a fact; not something to be hoped for. For every obstacle there is a solution — and the solution is simply never to quit before all options have been exhausted.
Martin Cooper's thoughts are summarized in this powerful message: The key is to listen to your inner voice, and outside counsel, while being willing to adjust along the journey.