Understanding Your Success, Really

It's always interesting listening to people in successful companies narrate their success. Each story is filtered through business school and consultant models, spins and theories. Among the most popular, crediting borrowed "best practices" for replicated successes. I've learned to listen to all rationalizations with a mix of curiosity and skepticism. I listen for the unspoken and the under-rated dynamics. Network sciences have taught us to look at the edges rather than cores of networks for clues into why and how change occurs in complex systems like organizations, communities and networks.

It's too easy to think that what causes success is what seems obvious to the majority of critics or what's most cited by the leaders who are supposed to be smarter than everyone else. It's too easy to confuse correlation and causation.

I think an intelligent approach is to include as many diverse perspectives as we can. We listen to experts and pundits, founders and the least heard, people from all disciplines in the organization people from deep within the organization, people in the market and the official institutional storytellers. We suspect that more of us are smarter than any one of us.