I started to read the
success and achievement literature because I wanted to be successful. I
wanted to provide value and wanted to feel that I was valuable. But
after awhile I became disenchanted with such guides. I began to notice
contradictory advice, and even where the advise was similar the
priorities were different. What matters most? I came to realize that
if I did it all, I would fail. Take anyone of the popular process
methodologies and do everything it says and you will not have any time
to do the real work. Some writers anticipate this point by saying that
you need to select what is of importance, but that is the advice I was
seeking. So I started asking, “How does the author know this is true?
Is it true?”
There are many opinions
of what is critical for organizational and personal achievement. Can we
get past opinion? I believe we can. Anyone with some science training
knows that opinions have a very high probability of being inaccurate and
often simply wrong. That this must be the case in the "achievement
literature" is obvious since the opinions often contradict each other.
One approach to get beyond mere opinion
would be to rerun a specific situation over and over, changing one
proposed achievement factor each time. We cannot do this in real life
but we can do it in a simulation. Can we create simulations of complex
human systems that are up to this task? Within this text I present the
theory and the tools with which we can create such simulations. I have
elected to present the simulation results before describing either the
theory or the details of the simulations. I leave the theory and the
simulations to the end of this text. Perhaps some stout hearted
readers, or should I say stout headed readers, will get to that part of
I searched through a wide range of
literature to find candidate critical factors. I then built simulations
to test how sensitive outcome was to these candidate factors. I believe
the reader will find some of the factors that survived this test are no
surprise. The simulations put them on a more quantitative foundation,
but they are generally not a surprise. That there are only 5 may be
surprising. What is not in the list 5 may also be surprising, or, at
least, contrary to much that is widely promoted.
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(C) 2005-2014 Wayne M. Angel.
All rights reserved.