Where Future Success Comes From

Many otherwise successful companies have failed because they made one fatal mistake. They believed that their future was merely an extension of their past. 

 

They assumed that because they had always been successful they would continue to be successful. They convinced themselves that whatever they had done to achieve their success today would be the same thing they needed to do to maintain their success tomorrow. 

 

That may have almost been true decades and decades ago but it gets less true every year. Everything changes and one of the changes is that those changes are happening faster than ever before.

 

To assume that what got you to where you are will also keep you there is the kiss of death in business today. As most people who read this blog consistently know, I’m not always the biggest fan of change but I am a realist.

 

That’s why I am a huge fan of leaders who are visionaries. 

 

In 1968 the Swiss controlled virtually all of the wristwatch market around the world. They had an enormous percentage of the market share. They were as the saying goes, “on top of the world” when it came to making and selling watches. 

 

Then quartz watches were invented…by a couple of Swiss engineers. They showed it to company after company all across Switzerland and couldn’t find one interested buyer. No Swiss watch maker was interested, they didn’t need to be, they already “owned” the market. 

 

I guess you could say the leaders who ran those Swiss watch companies back then were not exactly visionary. I’d just say they made the fatal mistake of believing that their future was just an extension of their past. 

 

Funny thing is, these engineers were kind of persistent and they took their invention to some sort of watch convention to show it off. (I guess nobody told the engineers about that whole patent thing) Well a couple of Japanese watch makers came by and the rest is history… as was the Swiss dominance of the watch market. 

 

Today the Swiss have just a sliver of the world’s watch market, they still make perhaps the best watches but they make far far fewer of them. 

 

Visionary Leaders never, never stop looking for what’s next, they are relentless innovators. They have an almost insatiable need to constantly improve. A Visionary Leader doesn’t just say good enough is not good enough, they live it…and they lead it. 

 

Visionary Leaders reimagine what is until it becomes what’s next. While other people are enjoying the fruits of their labor Visionary Leaders are planting the seeds of tomorrow’s success. 

 

Your future doesn’t come from past accomplishments. What you’ve accomplished to date is just a starting point for what you need to accomplish to remain successful. 


Your future success will come from what you do today and tomorrow. The moment you think you’re where you need to be, you’re not there anymore. Never stop looking ahead because when you do you’re almost certain to fall behind. 

6 thoughts on “Where Future Success Comes From

  1. Liz Mahoney says:

    Dear Michael, Thought you might like this article. I am always very proud to work with you and the James Free team. You lead us to learn from the past but always to have forward thinking for the future.

    Thank you,

    Respectfully yours,

    Liz

    >

  2. Joe Lareau says:

    Great post! I kept thinking of the recent Amazon acquisition of Whole Foods & Jeff Bezos as a visionary leader.

    • Thank Joe! I’d agree with Mr. Bezos being a visionary leader. So much so in fact that if I were a grocery retailer I’d be having a bunch of sleepless nights right about now. 🙂

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