5 Leadership Equations for Success

There are many paths to success in business, but few come with a road map. There are, however, a variety of equations that effective business leaders have developed to guide their progress. These personal formulas can lead you to your intended destination – success in business, life and everything else that matters.

Equation One: Q x A = E

Powerful and simple, this formula and brainchild of Steve Kerr, advisor to legendary General Electric CEO, Jack Welch, states that Quality (Q) multiplied by Acceptance (A) equals Effectiveness (E). Boiled down to its basics it means that even the most brilliant ideas are ineffective if they’re not accepted in the first place. One prime example of this might be the Segway, brilliantly engineered but never accepted as the revolution in personal transport it was hailed to be.

Equation Two: P+C+F+C+L = Success

Ev Williams knows a thing or two about abbreviations. In fact, the co-founder of Twitter has a success formula that is tailor made for the 280-character medium. In long form it means that people, challenges, focus, care and love all must come together before a business can rise to the top. So if you hire good people, take on big challenges, stay focused, take care of yourself, and love those close to you, success will soon follow. (And, yes, it’s okay to tweet about your good fortune.)

Equation Three: (T+C+ECF) x DE = S

John Spence, thought leader and business strategist, has a way with equations. In fact, this one, designed to help business owners manage change in an evolving marketplace boils down to practical elements. Hire good talent (T), develop a positive culture (C) and an extreme customer focus (ECF), and then use disciplined execution (DE) to excel. Without the last factor, “all the rest are nice ideas, but ideas are useless if you can’t turn them into action,” says Spence.

Equation Four: CEO 25% wrong + LT 50% right = 75% right

Alan Ennis, former CEO of Revlon, has a philosophy for success he regularly shares with his leadership team (LT). It states that he’s going to be wrong half the time and his leadership team is going to be right half the time he’s wrong. In the end, the result is a right answer seventy-five percent of the time, which is an enviable percentage for any aspiring company.

Equation Five: A = U x P

This formula developed by the founder of Joie de Vivre boutique hotel chain, Chip Conley, works somewhat in reverse. It helps you decipher negatives, so you can manage away from them. "A" stands for anxiety, which equals uncertainty times powerlessness (U x P).

When employees feel uncertain and powerless, anxiety rises. “The worst possible thing for a CEO to do (in this situation) is hole up in his office and withhold information,” Conley says. Being present, open and transparent gives employees a sense of belonging and solidarity that can overcome most challenges and barriers to success.

Do you have a formula for building a successful business? If not, these noteworthy entrepreneurs and business thought leaders are happy to lend you theirs.

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