A winning formula is each person’s distinctive way of making a difference. Winning formulas have two essential components: what you pay attention to and what you do about it. Some people focus on the unexpressed needs of key players and become the “go-to guy” for solving problems. Others concentrate on what’s missing or flawed in an endeavor and act as the watchdogs for errors or potential train wrecks in their organizations. Still others look for the possibilities in a situation-the new idea or the biggest prize to be pursued-and establish themselves as persuasive advocates for new directions. Some ask themselves, “What’s the goal here?” and then mobilize others to achieve desired outcomes. And so forth. The variations are practically infinite.
A winning formula that works well on the way up can rapidly become less and less useful as one approaches the summit. By that time, it is automatic and subconscious, leading the unwary to do more of the same at a stage when enthusiasm for “the same” is waning.