Why don't successful people and organizations automatically become very successful? One important explanation is due to what I call "the clarity paradox," which can be summed up in four predictable phases:
Phase 1: When we really have clarity of purpose, it leads to success.
Phase 2: When we have success, it leads to more options and opportunities.
Phase 3: When we have increased options and opportunities, it leads to diffused efforts.
Phase 4: Diffused efforts undermine the very clarity that led to our success in the first place.
Curiously, and overstating the point in order to make it, success is a catalyst for failure.
From the Harvard Business Review:
This illustrates a challenge within Olympic sports. When they achieve some success, and therefore gain access to more resources, this doesn't necessarily lead to further success. With careful management, more resources and more opportunities won't lead to a loss of focus, however that's not often the case. Instead we see diffussed and confused efforts. In sports this often takes shape as an expanded multidisiplnary model with sports science and sports medicine staff growing at great cost, beyond the capacity to make use of these resources, and comparitively little investment in the fundamentals of success - world class coaches, and access to preparation and competition opportunities for athletes.
ask "What is essential?" and eliminate the rest.
Be careful what you wish for. Lean, mean and hungry wins.
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