Possibly the best book I have read in the past year (not just in 2015) is The Success Matrix by Gerry Langeler. Langeler is a highly successful venture capitalist and entrepreneur who credits this concept to his success. The Success Matrix puts forth a very straightforward concept: Success needs a combination of vision, process and output. Langeler primarily uses this idea to suggest how to build and lead a successful team. Rather than trying to find people who excel at all three variables, since very few exist, great companies combine people so that the company can excel at all three elements.
The three elements of success
- Vision. Vision represents a broadly understood sense of direction that encompasses competitive leadership in your industry over time.
You should ask whether you or your employee has the vision of where you need to go and what you need to do over time. This vision should be sensible, focused and well grounded with a sense of direction. As Langeler writes, “this is different than any specific task, product plans or targets. It means precisely what it says. If you are headed in a direction, you know roughly where you are going, even if you don’t know exactly where you’ll end up.”
- Process. Process is the structures, methods and procedures to produce repeatedly timely, high-quality products or services, independent of changes in people. You can determine if you have strong process whether profitable products and services are
being produced with predictable regularity.
- Output. Langeler defines as output as profitable products and services are being produced with predictable regularity. “Profitable products and services” is the key driver for output. It identifies if costs are in line value is recognized in the marketplace. Any Output short of profitable is wasted effort. “Predictable” regularity speaks to whether the Output is both sustained and sustainable. Short bursts of excellence are not enough.
Evaluate your team
Very few people are strong at all three components (vision, process and output) of the success matrix. If you look at vision, process and output as binaries (people are either good at them or not), there are nine possible combinations to classify everyone (e.g., good at vision and output, not process; good at process and output, not vision). Langeler actually puts labels on each of the nine possible combinations but that is the one element of his work I do not like; I feel that the labels are loaded and create unnecessary value judgments. Continue reading “Success = Vision + Process + Output”