Success: Operating in a Changing Environment

Here are some of my thoughts on the process of achieving success derived from my observations of professional football. As I am located in England, my observations concern the English Premiership, but I would be surprised if the same principles did not apply to other leagues and indeed other sports that operate a competitive league system.

Let me start by asking you a hypothetical question: if the current Manchester United team were able to travel back in time to 1964 and a match was set up between the 1964/5 champions and the current team, who do you think would win? Before you answer, let me remind you that the 1964/5 team was the one that had Booby Charlton, Dennis Law and George Best as the forward line.

As you are probably aware, George Best was considered by many people to have been the best player in the world at that time. Dennis Law was an amazingly prolific goal-scorer and Bobby Charlton, who continues to be one of my heroes, is one of the few English players to have ever been named European Footballer of the Year which, of course, he achieved the following year (1966).

Well, my answer to the question is that the current Manchester United side would win the game. I appreciate that you may not agree with my assessment, but the fact is that standards have changed over the years. As Bobby himself has said, the pace of the modern game is ‘so much faster’ than when he graced the field.

There is no doubt in my mind, whatsoever, that if any of these three people were born today, they would again rise to the very top of the game. That is not the point I am making. What I am saying is that the game has changed and therefore what it takes to succeed today is completely different to what it took forty years ago. Sure some requirements don’t change, such as having the desire, belief and ability. That’s why these three players would still do exceptionally well today. But they would need to be fitter and faster.

Now if you will bear with me for a little longer, I want to stay with the football analogy for a while. In today’s Premiership, none of the teams are standing still. The real contenders for the title – Man Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man City, (Arsenal?) – are all furiously working at improving their teams. So, in principle, the bar is continually being raised. That’s why the modern United side would beat the old (and great) sixties team, in my opinion.

Now what has all of this got to do with us and the process of achieving success? Well, if you run an internet business, I think it is extremely relevant. Because, if you are making measureable progress i.e. you can measure more traffic, increased natural linking activity and/or revenue, then you are succeeding against your competitors and this does not just mean that you are getting better at what you do, it means that you are getting better at competing against an ever-increasing standard.

So remember to keep track of your results. Measure your success against your competition and if you are moving upward, you should be extremely pleased with yourself, even if you are not yet at the level you want to be, because what it takes to succeed online is constantly changing. As long as your direction of travel is upward, there will come a moment when you will reach the tipping point, at which time your natural linking will explode which will lead to better search engine placement and of course, significant increase in the bottom line.

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