Do You Have A “Success” Agreement At Work?

Chartered Management Institute  study of 1,684 managers in the U.K. that explored the same question as the title of this post. Here’s a snapshot of the results:

  • “Nearly half of the managers polled said they judged success by the extent to which they developed their teams, yet only slightly more than a third believed their organizations felt the same way.
  • 25% thought that ‘achieving a flexible lifestyle’ was an indicator of professional success. Only six per cent thought that their employers shared the same view.


  • Just 13 per cent said they were concerned with ‘ensuring the organization is market leader’ – yet nearly two thirds thought their employers made this a priority.
  • A similarly small percentage – 16 per cent – of managers believed securing ‘sustainability’ was important, yet more than half felt their organizations perceived this as a priority.
  • Worryingly, fewer than half of the managers polled believed they had actually achieved their true potential.
  • More optimistically, many planned to take action to change this, with more than a third planning to undertake development or further education courses during the coming 12 months.”

Finally, a quote from a marketing and corporate affairs director:

“Managers should voice professional needs so their definition of success is known while the organization needs to create a clear understanding of its corporate objectives to ensure employees and future employees feel an alignment to the corporate culture.”

Let’s Analyze This

1. The statements talk about what the managers think the gap is between them and their employers.

2. It would be helpful to know how the “employers” responded to the same questions. We have no way of knowing what the actual gap is.

3. Is it unusual for any living human being to believe that he or she has achieved one’s potential? The very definition of potential points toward possibilities.

4. Will managers expressing their definitions of success change the purpose and goals of an organization?

5. Will “feeling” an alignment to the corporate culture change one’s personal definition of success?

The very best that I can glean from this is that managers don’t think there is a lot of alignment with their employers on issues of personal importance. Drawing any other conclusions would really be a stretch.

What can we do with this?

Senior executives who see this study could use it as a starting point for a real conversation with their managers about what’s important to organizational success; what’s important to the managers; and how they can achieve as much of both as possible.

What else are you seeing? 

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Steve has designed and delivered leadership and communication programs for some of the world's largest organizations, and has more than 30 years in training, development, and high-level executive coaching. His Roesler Group has created and delivered leadership and talent development internationally for corporations such as Pfizer, Minerals Technologies, Johnson & Johnson, NordCarb Oy Ab, and Specialty Minerals--Europe. Steve is currently involved in the latest update of his Presenting With Impact program, a cross-cultural presentations workshop that has been delivered on five continents to more than 1,000 participants representing nearly 60 nationalities.


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