Career Success -- What Are the Basic Factors?

At the beginning of May, Barry A. Franklin published a very interesting book -- entitled GPS for Success: Skills, Strategies, and Secrets of Superachievers -- which analyzes and highlights the foundational factors underlying future career success. Throughout the book, Barry provides specific examples and inspirational stories highlighting 10 critical behavioral skills for success. 

When I spoke with Barry just this past week, I asked him: “What are the basic factors that underly career success? Why do most people miss them?” Here is his complete answer:

After 10 years of undergraduate and graduate education, ultimately culminating in a Ph.D., it seemed somewhat paradoxical to me that virtually no college course had prepared me for the world of work. Accordingly, I began reading everything I could find on achieving career success and learned how ill-prepared I really was!

The critical knowledge and experiential perspectives I lacked included: understanding the power of relationships, positive associations, and collaboration; essential people skills; goal setting; the “boomerang effect” of serving others; dealing with setbacks; the virtues of patience and persistence; the potency of preparedness; writing and speaking expertise; understanding the laws of attraction and sow and reap; the dividends of organizational membership; and, the #1 success strategy -- taking action.

My research identified four foundational factors underlying overwhelming career success. These included: love what you do; realize that to a large extent, you make your own luck; take 100 percent responsibility for your setbacks and achievements in life; and admirably serve others.

Finally, why do most people miss them? Unfortunately, these underappreciated “soft skills” are seldom even touched on in college curricula that equip students with broad life and career proficiencies that empower them to contribute meaningfully to their communities and the workplace.

Perhaps the late professor Randy Pausch, author of  The Last Lecture, summed it up best when he said, “It’s not about how to achieve your dreams, it’s how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, the karma will take care of itself, and the dreams will come to you.” In so many ways, GPS for Success was written to fulfill this objective, to enable the dreams of others and provide guidance about how to live your life.

What do you think of Barry's perspective? Did you his recommendations for future career success accurate and inspiring? Are there any factors missing? What would you add?