The New Definition of Success

The world is in an acute state of disruption. Old structures are crumbling. Why? To make way for new ones. Business is experiencing cataclysmic change. Former ways of doing things just don’t work anymore. Clinging to the past is inviting disaster. The very definition of success is now different. Fundamentally different.

One of the biggest ways success in business and life will be defined under the new world order will be through leadership. More than ever, leadership at all levels of your organization will be your core competitive advantage. And leadership (without a title) will be the defining trait of successful communities, nations – and human lives.

I’ve been evangelizing this simple message at corporate conferences and events across the planet for years and it comes down to this: Only those companies willing to grow leaders at ALL levels and only those people committed to leading without a title will win. Period. The others will fail. They won’t get through the transition in a way that leaves their market position intact. They won’t have what it takes to be remarkable and extraordinary and superb in all they do. Leadership is now mission-critical. And to repeat: you don’t need a title to do it.

I just met a man who gets it. He’s not a CEO. He’s not a VP. He’s not famous. He’s an ordinary man. I met him in the lobby of our offices at Sharma Leadership International Inc. He’s laying our new carpet. And he made me think. Deeply.

I complimented him for his excellent work. He smiled. Told me he’s been laying carpet for 55 years. Told me he’s from Northern Ireland. Told me there’s few things as important as feeling pride on a job well done.

He worked quickly – for hours – pausing only to have a fast sip of tea from a scratched up old kettle. He sang while he worked. He innovated by adding a border to the carpet that I’d never seen anyone add before. And he worked with excellence-leaving no detail missed. Isn’t that what leadership is all about?

I asked him if he’s open to me interviewing him via video. His reply: ‘if it’ll help people” (or something pretty close to that). Guess what, you’ll get to see him soon as we launch my new vLog right here on our site. And if you will be attending any of my corporate or public sessions on Leadership Without a Title on my upcoming tour of Mumbai, Dubai, Abu Dhabi, JoBurg and Capetown, you’ll probably get to see him on the big screen. I hope you do. Because he’s an inspiration. And the kind of leader that we need to see more of in this messy world.

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28 Responses to “The New Definition of Success”

  1. Harshi says:

    That was a great example. Thank you Robin. I really, really look forward to his interview! What a teriffic thing to do. I find interviews very inspiring.

  2. Ulric says:

    Thank you for your wise words! I have also, for a very long time, thought that so many things in life would have been so much better if we all would have the courage to leave old thinking structures for new ones. When we say that something is impossible, that something just can0‡00…7t get better, can0‡00…7t be saved, we are wearing our inherited, worn out glasses. Our lesson should be to learn how to question the old “truths” and “laws”, and by holding our inner children0‡00…7s creative hands find alternative ways of dealing with the issues of today. It0‡00…7s really quite crazy to meet new problems with old solutions.

    The titles. Yes. A person who only is willing to lead WITH a title, is actually not willing to lead at all. He or she might believe so, but in fact he or she is just a victim of a mental trap due to a weak self-esteem. And a victim is not a good leader.

    Thank you for your books. I just read “Discover Your Destiny With The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”, and today I ordered “The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari”. The wrong order, I first thought, but then I said to myself that it could be fruitful to have the guts to rebell against the old chronological order. What do you think?

    By the way, I0‡00…7m in the middle of a big change in my life, and look upon every new day as a chapter in an adventure novel. Since I0‡00…7m a writing man, I now try to capture the insights that made me take the necessary life steps in words. And… books like yours fill me up with the right kind of fuel for taking more steps on the path of my very own.

    I wish you all good!

  3. A.Dyuti says:

    Clinging to the past is inviting disaster – that’s a really valuable piece of advice. Will keep it in mind. Or no, I’ll spread it out by my bed to see the first thing every morning! (Beside another thought-provoking statement of yours, of course!) Thanks

  4. Linda says:

    Hi All, I also think part of being a leader in changing times involves not only the transition into something new, but also the transition of responsibilities from one person (or people) to another (or others). It may be the end for you, but just the beginning for someone else. And it is often in the details 0‰9¢ã¡° you don0‰9¢ã6¾4t want to leave any loose ends so that those that may come after you feel like they are ready to take up where you left off. Sometimes things don0‰9¢ã6¾4t always go as planned, and the details seem to multiply, but if you can try to make the best of the situation and see the bright side, knowing that it will be over soon, it helps tremendously.

  5. DF says:

    To acknowledge and celebrate another life is awesome and powerful. Congratulations.However one must caution against ‘throwing out the baby with the bath water’ re:lessons from the past.

  6. Robin , i personally 100% agree with you , leadership require in each walk of life , i have a good live experience , last sunday evening a went to sweet shop to buy an indian dish dahi bhalla (indian dish), the sales man told me while packing ,” at what time you want to consume the dish , i asked why, he told me if you want to consume within 1 hour of packing then i add salt in it , if want to consume with 3-4 hours , then i packed it without salt. then my reply was “why”. he told me ,”mixing the salt will change the taste of dish if packed remain for longer time means , if not consumed with in an hour. ” it shows how remarkable man he is , he cares for his customer’s taste , he cares for his customer’s money .means overall customer service first .
    we also can use this Customer first in our day to day life ,whether we are working in a company or running our own business .
    it’s purely example of leadership without title .
    again , i thanks to robin for a positive chnge in my life .

    thanks & regard,

  7. Venkat says:

    Fantastic Robin, it was a thought provoking defenition of leadership. Every day and night there is always a scope to learn and perform leadership.

  8. Amit Sharma says:

    Adopting is the next course of action. In these times, when every one wishes to be leader and be like that over night, taking the ideology of leadership in a different way. One should be open to learn and be receptive.

  9. Its good to know that you are coming to India for the event. However your upcoming events page does not mention your India tour date and other details. Other venues are mentioned there though. Also came across an advertisement in yesterday’s Economic Times about your Leadership event however it mentions 23 Sep as the date. I am assuming the correct date is 23rd Oct as 23rd Sep is already history.

  10. Anamaria says:

    Completely agree.

  11. Anamaria says:

    Robin When are you coming to Central America?. You will love it!!

  12. HANIF HASHMI says:


  13. Juliette says:

    Dear Robin!
    It comletely agree with your outlook. Under other circumstances,probably,such books would be written by me as I reflect for a long time over a life, its form and content. By the 40 years I also have realised that all time pretendede to be conflicting to myself,therefore and the life became sad. I have taken essential steps on correction of it. But the only thing what I cannot consult – it money. Money became my damnation and prison. It is easy to be free, if you one. But with three children with whom you should dress and feed-you the slave and beggar.
    neithe my intelligence, no my moral tops cannot help me with it, I am constant in monetary prison,in slavery.
    Your herois initially rich, he did not think that will receive riches.
    And I do not know, when I will receive not riches, and pity to 30-40 thousand Russion roubles wich will simply allow my children not be beggars. That`s all I toothe lawyer? the lawyer from birth. The help to children-any was my prime target always. In practic it would look as the help to children from the bad families,thrown?the patient,struggle against pedophiles and an overloard at schools. There is no day when I would forget about this children`s dream.
    But absence of money for the maintenance of own children does me insignificant. It is essential that I in Russia where has historically developed htat beggars rich with spirit, but from it am not becomes easier. I am glad htat you have written the grant for rich, may be, after them Peris Hilton can not sew brilliants on clothes to the doggies. I doubt that she will read something.
    I read always, but thus I do not get a material eguivalent to the inner word. It is untair and while I do not see an exit from this deadlock.
    As you understand, speech does not go about necessity to me to help. It is a guestion that in Russia, India and many other countries millions the decent people chained in a chain of poverty.
    What can You tell to me?
    My English completely not such made – I have taken advantage of the electronic translator.
    Yours faithfully Juliette
    from Russia.

  14. JB says:

    Robin, I am so thrilled on your upcoming visit to Muscat. Though I will not be able to attend it, because of financial reasons. I am losing a great opportunity of meeting you. Nonetheless, I wish you best of luck. Hope many people in oman would benefit from you.

    With respect,
    JB (+96899214230)

  15. Jayashree Reddy says:

    Hello Robin,

    I am a regular reader of your blogs, books and listener of your podcasts. I love your Monk book and “who will cry when you die”. I have noticed that you use “she” rather than “he” in your writings. I feel as though you are addressing me. I just love your work. I wish to meet you once if you happen to visit Bangalore or mysore. Both are lovely places and please try to come.
    Robin, I wish you all the best and god bless you for your wonderfull work. I felt Monk who sold his ferrari is the ultimate. I have also introduced my friends to your site and books. Please reply..

    Lots of respect and wishes to you,
    Happy Deepavali,

  16. mithun says:

    Bossy what you told about the carpenter is really true. Your way of telling things is simple and believable.No exaggerations.These days the guy who take work pressure to his home wont succeed. Proper enjoyment is required.Please try to include success stories of people who never earn like corporate warriors.These people are to be elevated. Normally people believe that these people wont add any sort of value to the society.Let the carpenters, mechanics and the tea shop guy also enjoy their life….. Let their success story motivate others also.

  17. Prasanna says:

    Hi Robin… I find this blog very inspiring and it made me feel… there are many Leaders who are left unnoticed!!

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