Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Do you have what it takes to succeed as an Association CEO?

If you are an association professional seeking to move up to become the CEO or association executive director, what characteristics and habits do you need to follow to get there and to be successful?

While I could probably provide a laundry list for you, I’m not going to.

Rather, I want to share some insights (and links) to two recent articles that share valuable points and stories on becoming successful.

In Fail Your way to SuccessScott Adams (creator of Dilbert) shared excerpts of his new book with Wall Street Journal readers.

Here are some key points I gleaned from the article:

  • Let me start with some tips on what not to do. Beware of advice about successful people and their methods. For starters, no two situations are alike. Your dreams of creating a dry-cleaning empire won't be helped by knowing that Thomas Edison liked to take naps. Secondly, biographers never have access to the internal thoughts of successful people. If a biographer says Henry Ford invented the assembly line to impress women, that's probably a guess.
  • But the most dangerous case of all is when successful people directly give advice. For example, you often hear them say that you should "follow your passion." That sounds perfectly reasonable the first time you hear it. Passion will presumably give you high energy, high resistance to rejection and high determination. Passionate people are more persuasive, too. Those are all good things, right? ... You want the grinder, not the guy who loves his job.
  • But objectively, my passion level moved with my success. Success caused passion more than passion caused success.
  • So forget about passion. And while you're at it, forget about goals, too.
  • He offered me some career advice. He said that every time he got a new job, he immediately started looking for a better one. For him, job seeking was not something one did when necessary. It was a continuing process. The way he explained it is that your job is not your job; your job is to find a better job.
  • Goal-oriented people exist in a state of nearly continuous failure that they hope will be temporary.
  • If you drill down on any success story, you always discover that luck was a huge part of it. You can't control luck, but you can move from a game with bad odds to one with better odds. You can make it easier for luck to find you.
  • I've long seen failure as a tool, not an outcome.
  • I do want my failures to make me stronger, of course, but I also want to become smarter, more talented, better networked, healthier and more energized.
  • Failure is a resource that can be managed.
  • Success is entirely accessible, even if you happen to be a huge screw-up 95% of the time.
Shortly after reading the Adams’ piece in the Wall Street Journal, I found Alex Banayan’s LinkedIn article headlined 

The 5 Traits of Wildly Successful People.

Here are his five traits along with the person who used it:
  1. Chase the School Bus ... Boxing champion Sugar Ray Leonard
  2. Stray From the Pack ... Tim Ferriss, bestselling author of The 4-Hour Workweek
  3. Create Corkboards ... Peter Guber, former CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment
  4. Get on "Qi Time" ... Qi Lu, president of Online Services at Microsoft
  5. Play the People Game ... Movie mogul Steven Spielberg 
One final quote from a commentator on Banavan’s post:
  • Success is something personal and by no means universal, do it your way and enjoy.

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