In his book, “How the Mighty Fall,” Jim Collins references the Anna Karenina Principle. The principle comes from Leo Tolstoy’s book Anna Karenina which begins: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”
Collins makes the point from the quote that there are more ways to fall than there are to become great. The next couple of days we will look at both sides of this idea.
First, there are many ways to fall. Let me suggest four.
1 – Forget what got you here. There are certain disciplines and practices that helped you to achieve the success you have. Taking your eye off of those things will eventually bring you down. Those who are ruthless in their discipline are the ones who remain successful. If you find yourself struggling, maybe now would be a good time to go back to doing what you used to do when you were in a growth mode.
2 – Forget where you are going. Why are you in business? What is your mission? Those are questions that need to be asked often. They should shape your decision making, resources, and your alignment as an organization. If you stop focusing on why you exist, you are headed for a fall.
3 – Forget who helped you along the way. All leaders need to remember that many people have invested to help them get to where they are. Be grateful and make sure you express your thanks to the appropriate people.
4 – Forget who you are trying to help. Just as someone invested in you, you should in turn invest in someone else. The point of your leadership is not to create a better life for yourself, rather to leverage your influence to bless others. The happiest people I know are more others focused than they are self centered.
Tomorrow we will look at what it takes to be great.