Professor of Network Sciences, Albert-Laszlo Barabasi, hypothesizes that hard work and success do not necessarily arrive at the same time, or at all. However, through the analysis of big data, and networks, he is able to highlight the linkages between performance, networks and success. One compelling aspect for leaders to consider, is the asymmetry of success as it relates to teams, and while the success may be broadly recognized, is most often bestowed upon one singular individual. (The following list of Five Laws of Success, with leadership answers is adapted from The Formula: The Universal Laws of Success , by Albert-László Barabási)
The outcomes of success are driven by the functionality of performance. However, if performance cannot be measured (i.e. a watercolor painting), performance is replaced by the functions of networks, which then determine the success outcomes. A leader’s first priority is to determine which functionality drives their success, performance or networks. However, depending upon the scenario, a leader needs to be prepared for the potential to address both functions at the same time, or switch to one versus the other as their business evolves.
At a certain level, performance becomes constricted, however, the related outcomes are virtually limitless. The effect of this asymmetry was highlighted during the 2008 Olympics. In the 100m butterfly, the time difference between the winner, Michael Phelps and the second place finisher, Milorad Cavic, was a minuscule 0.01 seconds. Nevertheless, despite the slimmest of time fractions, the success factors are exponentially different between the two athletes. Leaders must always be conscious of the Law of Diminishing Returns, not as a reason to discontinue performance, but to ensure that variable resources are being optimized at all times.
Future success can be forecast by previous success, multiplied by the subject’s fitness to address external forces. The first law of inertia is that a body in motion tends to stay in motion until met by an opposing force. Much like inertia, success (motion) is multiplied by fitness (mass) propelling performance (networks) toward continued success. Leaders must target fitness as a means of combating complacency.
The success of a team is directly related to diversification, and balance. However, regardless of the team’s success, the accolades and credit will land directly upon one individual. This individual is typically the person that the external network determines is most deserving, or encompasses the most outward credibility related the achievements from the team’s performance. Leaders will most often be the recipient of the team’s credit, therefore, leaders that authentically reroute accolades to the team, while observing opportune promotion, ensure continued success.
Age is not a negative when analyzing success. Comparing success outcomes, and age, the element of persistence is identified as the opposing separator between performance (networks) and success, at any age. The aspect of continually striving suggests that success can arrive at any time, through the adherence to persistence. Effective and successful leadership is not determined by age, but rather continued learning, coupled with the application of the learning. (and humility).