Posts Tagged ‘Andy Grove’

Resilience Engineering #24: Thanksgiving and Success

by Gary Monti on November 29, 2011

Thanksgiving has provided a great time to inventory what is good about life. For myself, that included looking at things from a business perspective. One of the line items is project success. This may seem a bit funny since resilience engineering is about accidents, failures, damage, etc. The reality, though, is resilience engineering asks the question:

Why does failure occur when people plan to succeed and work to do just that?

Focus on Sustained Success

In line with Thanksgiving and in its simplest form the resilient engineering frame of mind avoids taking success for granted. Stated another way, it is a proactive approach to failure that is done in a unique way and answers the question:

What does it take to establish and maintain continued success?

One of my favorite people, Andy Groves, co-founder of Intel, to this day has a piercing focus regarding this question. He is a professional paranoid regarding success. Does that mean he has a negative attitude? Quite the contrary. He is just aware that while success can be quite powerful it is also paradoxically frail. Forces both within and without the project or organization need to be constantly monitored and managed to keep the project or even the entire organization on a balanced footing.

Part of Thanksgiving is appreciation of a powerful sponsor who avoids reacting to someone yelling, “squirrel!” and, instead, stays close to the project, practices governance, and avoids micromanagement.

This brings us to another line item regarding Thanksgiving, having subject matter expert who take full responsibility for their work. This not only includes doing the work but also addressing the associated quality and risk management PLUS being aware of the ripple effect behaviors have on other parts of the project.

When these things occur we all have something to be thankful for, can genuinely be at peace, and are free of the need for the tryptophan that comes from eating too much turkey.

What can Entrepreneurs learn from Ants?

by Vijay Peduru on July 31, 2009

Hard-Work-Ant

Yes, ants are tiny enough indeed to go unnoticed. However, if we pay close attention and watch them, we find that they possess numerous habits that successful entrepreneurs display. Here are three of them:

#1: Never Quit:

When you place an obstacle in their path, ants will always find another way. They will climb up, down or around to get to where they want to go. This is what an entrepreneur does, as well, when faced with an obstacle. Throughout the startup journey and especially when things do not go well, an entrepreneur overcomes the obstacles and finds a way to keep on going… even if it means redefining the problem, sometimes!  For example, PayPal changed its business model half a dozen times, before the current model became successful. Another example is Flickr, which started as a multiplayer game and ended up as a photo sharing site.

#2: Always look ahead:

Ants gather food in the summer and store for the cold winter months – They plan for known contingencies and are “looking ahead”. Similarly, an entrepreneur’s journey is strewn with problems that they can anticipate ahead of time. Successful entrepreneurs learn to anticipate what can go wrong in the future and prepare for these situations

#3: Do all you can:

Ants never cease to work. They work tirelessly to gather as much food as they can. They are absolutely focused and dedicated to achieving their goals. Entrepreneurs are not very different. They work tirelessly to give shape to their dream. Of course, it’s simply not possible to know the future; the best one can do is do their best and perhaps switch to something else… and do your best at that, if the original one does not work!

This quote from Andy grove, founder of Intel, sums it up well:
“I think it is very important for you to do two things: act on your temporary conviction as if it was a real conviction; and when you realize that you are wrong, correct course very quickly.” —Andy Grove

Special thanks to Jim Rohn, whose teachings inspired me to write this article.

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