The Winning Business Success Formula: C x V x A x L = R(unlimited)

Regardless of what you are doing in business: running a company, leading a critical project, managing a team, or facilitating organizational culture change, there is a formula for success that transcends the specific work you are doing. What I mean is that, no matter what business challenge you are tackling, if you apply this formula, it is guaranteed that you will be on the road to success!


What is this formula for success?

Collaboration x Vision x Action x Learning = Results (unlimited)


Collaboration: Nothing great ever happens in a business without people – they are the foundation of success. To achieve your desired business results, everyone inside (and outside) your organization must be engaged, involved, committed, and connected. Focused communication, meaningful two-way dialogue amongst leaders, employees, customers, stakeholders, and partners, and direct collaboration on vision and strategy, what it takes to successfully implement it, and how to improve it, makes the work you are doing, and what you are working on, PERSONAL for all involved. This commitment is critical for breakthrough performance and the sustained success of whatever you are working on. This is why collaboration is part of the formula for success.


Vision: What will your business or the project you are working on look like when the work is done? How will your customers feel? What will their experience be? What ultimate value will the thing you are working on provide: To customers? To stakeholders? To employees? To your company? These are just some of the things that go into defining the vision of the future for your business or project. As an organizational leader, it is a critical part of your role to ensure that a strong vision is created. An exciting, understandable, and actionable vision, paired with an inspiring mission, paints a picture of the future that everyone can clearly see and work towards – together. This sets the stage for business success.   


Action: Once your vision for the future has been defined, a roadmap or execution plan, outlining the required actions and assigning accountabilities, will ensure that your vision is successfully achieved. However, since it is foolish to try to execute all parts of a comprehensive action plan at the same time, it is important to prioritize it. This prioritization helps employees make better work effort decisions when resources are constrained. With a good plan in place, all parts of your organization, including the processes, projects, resources, and your people, must then align with it. Also, any silos in your organization must be broken down. This is because great things can’t happen in an organization when its parts work in isolation. Organizational bridges, integration, and synergy multiply the ability of your organization to execute your prioritized plan successfully. Finally, developing people’s capabilities strategically will allow your organization to have the right people with the right skills doing the right job in the right place at the right time – critical to the successful execution of your business strategy or the implementation of your project.


Learning: Staying on course requires an ability to measure and manage progress of your business or project towards mission and vision achievement. Measurement also allows you to learn and improve what you are working on – strategically. A set of objective-based performance indicators lets you do that but measurement alone isn’t enough – your organization must use the results data to focus on the relentless pursuit of the truth in every situation. You must then implement meaningful improvements based on what your REAL root cause issues are. This capacity to learn is also important because your organization’s internal and external environments are changing on a constant basis. These kinds of changes could threaten the success of your organization or project UNLESS you are dedicated to strategic learning, are flexible, and are quick to change when required. Organizations that develop these skills will thrive, grow, and achieve sustainable success in their business and projects.


Now, you might argue that a variety of other factors contribute to business success and I would agree with you. However, when you strip it down to the bare essentials, I would suggest that these are THE critical four elements for success. In fact,  organizations that faithfully follow this formula routinely achieve greater success than predicted. This is because the combination of these four elements isn’t additive – there’s actually a multiplying effect! However, though the winning business success formula is simple, only as few as 10% of companies put all of the elements in the equation into action.


You can begin changing this result for your business and/or project today.


Your winning formula for business success?

Just remember: C x V x A x L = R(unlimited)


  1. Andrei Stamate
    Aug 21, 2010

    Nice point of view!

  2. Tricia Wilcox Almas
    Aug 21, 2010

    This is a great article! Your formula is bound to provide measureable results. As a BI practitioner, I can attest to the value of each component of your formula, but I never thought about designing implementation programs with such a clear agenda. Thank you for the inspiration!
    Tricia Wilcox Almas

  3. Sandy Richardson
    Aug 21, 2010

    Hi Andrei:
    glad you liked the ideas included in this post!

  4. Sandy Richardson
    Aug 21, 2010

    Hi Tricia:
    I’m so glad that this simple concept resonated with you! I really wanted to strip it down to its essentials, and, in my experience, these are truly the critical elements that, when executed and managed well, translate into measureable success!

  5. Samantha Kilpatrick
    Aug 27, 2010

    As always, Sandy, you are clear and to the point…this is a formula that I can draw on not only with the organizational teams that I am working with, but I can see its use in a family/personal context as well!

  6. Sandy Richardson
    Aug 30, 2010

    Hi Sam:
    I’m glad that the formula speaks to you and am thrilled that you can see extensions into your everyday life! Sandy