In his new book Winners Dream: A Journey From Corner Store to Corner Office, SAP CEO Bill McDermott offers his suggestions for 7 Principles of success.  (The full post is below).

I have my own 7 principles for success.  Let me see how well they align.

My view is success is achieved by various combinations of:

  • Propensity – Talent.
  • Persistence – Not Giving Up.
  • Providence – Luck.
  • Passion – Desire.
  • Perspiration – Hard Work.
  • Perspective – Honesty.
  • Predictability – Trust

McDermotts vew is:

  1. Success means hustling with a will to win backed by a strong work ethic and integrity. I am not sure how integrity fits in to hustling and strong work ethic.  There might be some Christian codes words in there.  But, in general this would align with my Persistence and perspiration principle.  Essentially and fundamentally hard work and persistence are critical to success.  Malcolm T. Gladwell in his book, The Outliers, suggests you have to work 10,000+ hours at something to be good at it.  So, I agree with McDermott on this.
  2. Never let the circumstances of a moment supersede the size of your dreams.  Even though the author of the post says this is one of McDermott’s favorite sayings, I’m not sure I get it.  The author says it means never let anyone stand in your way.  Ok, then I guess this correlates to my Principles of Persistence and Passion.  Clearly you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.  So, I see no reason to not take the shot.  Perhaps you could also link this to my principle of Perspective in that you need to understand the barrier before you in order to tear it down, go around it, or go over it.  Another old saying that might apply here is: “you need to know how you got into the tree before you jump down because the lion may still be there.”
  3. Trust is the ultimate currency.  I don’t have a principle that correlates directly to trust.  Which raises the question; should I?  Perhaps this may correlate to my principle of Perspective.  He talks about Trust as someone that others have in you.  He says people need to trust you.  I agree completely.  In this case what does trust mean?  In auto racing trust means that the other drivers on the track are going to do what you expect them to do.  Perhaps that is the same in life and business.  If someone trusts you, they trust you to do what you said you would do.  So, maybe I should add a new principle call consistency.  You need to be consistent.  And if you combine consistent with honest you become a person people can trust.  This is great.  I think I might add a 7th Principle – “Predictability.”  If people can rely on you to do what they expect, you are predictable and that is a great thing. (This is what is great about dynamic information.  I was able to update my 6 P’s of Success to 7 P’s after reading this.  It took just a few minutes.)
  4.  If you want to succeed, you must know who your customers are and why they buy from you.  This directly aligns with my Perspective principle.  Honest evaluation of the situation is critical.  As I said above, you need to know how you got into the tree before you jump down, because the lion may still be there.  Sometimes being honest hurts.  But, being honest with everything is the best recipe for success.
  5. The simplest way to approach business is by being you.  This is the same to me as #4.  Honest Perspective about you and your situation is critical for success. Lying about your capabilities to others and to yourself creates a situation that will end badly in most cases.
  6. The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.  I don’t think this is any different than #5 above.  So let’s move on.
  7. The audacity of any dream must be paired with the micromanagement of reality.  This could align with my a couple of my principles.  Perhaps a combination of Persistence, Passion, and Perspective.  You have to want it.  You have to work hard at it.  And you need to understand what it is so you can achieve it.

I notice that McDermott leaves off two of my principles Propensity and Providence – Talent and Luck.  Propensity relates to one’s core competencies.  And Providence relates to being in the right place at the right time.  Both of these are mostly out of our control.  However, we can work hard to ensure we find and hone our talents to a competition leading level.  And we can use the other principles of Perspiration and Perspective to be ready when luck provides us the opportunity to succeed; the proverbial “luck is the residual of hard work.”


 Founder & CEO, Brian Moran & Associates

From deli owner at the age of 16 to CEO of the world’s largest business software company, Bill McDermott’s life story offers success lessons for every business owner.

As a teenager, I remember reading several inspiring books on business, leadership and living a purposeful life that had a tremendous influence on me. The guiding principles in two books in particular, The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino and Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl, helped shape the person I became and kept me on the right path during my impressionable years.

That was 30 years ago. Today, millennials have a new book to help guide them. It’s called Winners Dream: A Journey From Corner Store to Corner Office, and it’s the story of Bill McDermott and his incredible journey from a working-class neighborhood on Long Island to his current role as CEO of SAP, the largest business software company in the world.

At least a dozen lessons for business owners and corporate leaders can be found in Winners Dream. McDermott writes at length about the importance of having five key values in business: success, accountability, professionalism, teamwork and passion. He also stresses the importance of having a strong, consistent work ethic and never losing hope, regardless of your situation. I chose seven principles from the book to share with you because of how strongly they resonated with me.

The Magnificent Seven

1. Success means hustling with a will to win backed by a strong work ethic and integrity. The combination of hustle, a strong work ethic and integrity will help you get past many, if not all, the obstacles that stand between you and your goals. McDermott warns that you must never waver in your commitment to each component of success and that you’ll have to hustle twice as much when facing uphill battles.

2. Never let the circumstances of a moment supersede the size of your dreams. This is one of McDermott’s favorite sayings. It reminds me of another saying I once heard: “Face your problems, and mountains become molehills; run away from them, and molehills become mountains.” Don’t let someone or something stand between you and what you want in business or in life.

3. Trust is the ultimate currency. This one truly hit home with me—if someone can’t trust you, how can you expect them to work with you? Trust can take years to develop, but it can be lost in seconds. You’re better off losing a deal or a client than having someone else lose their trust in you. No matter what, always take the high road.

4. If you want to succeed, you must know who your customers are and why they buy from you. In speaking with thousands of entrepreneurs and business owners over the years, it startles me how many of them don’t understand why their customers chose to do business with them over other companies in the marketplace. They say they’re just happy to have the business and don’t want to jeopardize the relationship by asking the client why they won their business. But if you don’t know why customers buy from you, you’ll never know if your unique selling proposition is accurate.

5. The simplest way to approach business is by being you. For many business owners, they, and not their business, are the brand. And that’s absolutely OK. After all, people want to do business with people they like. So be you while delivering exceptional customer service, and people will like and buy from you.

6. “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.” This quote, from mythologist and writer Joseph Campbell, underscores the message in the fifth principle above. The fact is, life is too short to try to be someone else. At times, being you may require you to take the proverbial road less traveled, but if you’re a person of integrity and high standards, you won’t mind the solitude.

7. The audacity of any dream must be paired with the micromanagement of reality. This principle recognizes the critical role that execution plays in making a dream become reality. Success truly is in the details. You can’t just want something to happen; you must will it to happen. Your long-term goals in business and in life are probably outside your comfort zone, and breaking free from the gravitational pull that keeps you in your comfort zone can be daunting. You may fail several or even many times when trying to achieve these goals. But in your struggle to achieve them, you must ask yourself one very important question: “How badly do I want it?”

Winners Dream reaffirms many of the success principles I first read about 30 years ago. Used correctly, these principles can be the road map to help get you from where you are now to where you want to be in business and in life.

Take time to read the book and decide where you want to be in 2020. Create your own road map, and use the principles above to help guide you. Then prepare yourself for your own incredible journey.

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