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Posted by Joe Antle on February 16, 2019 12:50 PM EST
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While good performance and attaining success are key objectives for all.....

...individuals, teams and organizations.  The ultimate highest order in achievement is something much more enduring and memorable.  And for great performers who have achieved remarkable success, the end goal of leaving a legacy is to reach that pinnacle of success that makes them and their achievements stand apart from others for years to come.  This higher order performance and level of success is SIGNIFICANCE.

I must admit that it has been enjoyable reading the theories of my fellow blog masters who have tried to emulate the model for assessing and improving marketing results, better known as the "Four P's of Marketing".  Chip Block pushed it upstream a bit identifying the Four M's of Performance.  And Thomas Edwards argued a strong case the ultimately good performance is a stepping stone of sorts to a higher goal called success.  He took Chip's lead and made a strong case for the "Three F's (and a P) for sustaining success.

I will try to take their format and make a case for something even higher, perhaps an objective which is the final destination for good performance and sustained success.  So, here is my humble offering for the Five P's of SIGNIFICANCE.


Chip suggests that the word meaning gets at this idea of something grand in one's ultimate pursuit.  Thomas suggests its something larger even than meaning.  I suppose he means that meaning makes the tasks that go into good performance a larger and more important context.  I think that Thomas' suggestion that Purpose is more results-oriented than meaning may be cutting the line thin, but in my view, it's an argument worth supporting.


While doing work or working with others on projects and activities that have meaning is better than simply attempting to achieve good performance in order to receive a reward that is fleeting or selfish is hard to argue against.  Simply having a large and grand purpose without a clear path of what activities and tactics are needed to deliver results is not going to produce the ultimate goal of enduring success that leads to significance.  Developing a plan and making sure that efforts and resources are properly deployed against that plan increases the odds that performance will be good and that success will be achieved and ultimately the purpose will be the fuel that energizes continued good performance and success.


A worthy and grand purpose and a well-constructed plan and execution will help individuals, teams, and organizations achieve good performance and some degree of success.  However, to achieve the highest order of performance and success-significance-there must be a constancy and persistence that allows for flexibility and focus despite external and unforeseen circumstances the present problems.  Winston Churchill's famous seven-word speech at the darkest hour of England's resistance to the Nazi assault during World War II ("We shall never, never, never give up") remains to this day a reminder of the power of persistence, even against all odds.


Inevitably, good performance is a by-product of a great plan that is followed rigorously and adapted to changes in the environment and enhanced by persistence and focus on the key actions in the plan.  However, if the way work is done, or the methods and techniques by which actions are executed are not constantly improved upon then it is likely that environmental changes and competitive actions will one day reduce the opportunity for significance and success on an enduring and sustained scale-significance.  This idea of continuously improving processes is sometimes trumped by the more radical improvement in processes, methods or techniques we call re-engineering.


Finally, we arrive at the most important of the five P's of significance.  There are many notable cases where the great potential of the Internet and world wide web have been realized.  And perhaps there is even greater potential in the power of automation, the theoretical awesome capability of biotechnology, artificial intelligence and the "Internet of things", what makes significance truly the ultimate objective of all endeavors is its impact on people.  And it's the reliance on people and the benefits that significance can bring to people-emotional intelligence notwithstanding the awesome and galvanizing power of people to do good and to help others to do likewise, that makes the motivational pull of legacy and the ultimate goal of performance that achieves success on endeavors which have a great and enduring purpose worth the pursuit.  In deed and indeed, "significance" is the ultimate, true and often elusive measure that helps forge the good to great and creates people, teams and organizations that are built to last.

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