Most people think that while building a successful business is hard, maintaining it is even harder. Chinese has a saying that “富不过三代 Wealth does not last over 3 generations”. Not sure has anyone done a study of how many successful corporations did not survive even the 1st generation.There are many reasons for successful businesses to go bust: internal fight, lack of skills, disrupted by the market or technology, economic crisis, war and so forth. External factors are beyond our control and we can only ensure our response is correct. Because in any crisis, while most will loose but some will gain. Internal factors are those that we could control or at least influence. We must know how to handle such internal factors and the changes brought about by our success.
The secrets of building success upon success can be found in I-Ching Hexagram#11泰 Vibrant Flow. (For an introductory understanding of I-Ching, see I-Ching in One Minute for Abundant Life.
The details of Hexagram #11 can be found in Learning from I-Ching Part 16 11泰 Great-Vibrant Flow in Harmony(subscription needed to view the details).
But the summary is reproduced below with my additional comments:
Summary of Hexagram#11 泰 Vibrant Flow:
- This Vibrant Harmonious Flow of success is a great state to arrived at. It is overflowing with abundance and joy.
- You got the multiplier effect into play so that small investment and little effort bring forth large gains. Success breeds further success. You have the economy of scale, the leadership, the customers, the channels, the know-how to amplify your innovations.
- The corporate mission is shared and all from top to bottom co-operate to achieve it.
- The culture and practices are fair and right. Bad practices and bad people are kept out. You don’t get to where you are now without the right cultures to enhance the good to better and rid the bad out of the system.
- Inside is strong and the external is gentle. Your success does not make you proud and arrogance. Instead, you use your strength with great gentleness. It is easy for people to do business with you and to like you.
- The public does not perceive you as the aggressor but a good corporation.
- There is only BIG CATCH – It is there for you loose it. Hence, watch out for the danger that success brings.
Further wisdom from the six stage lines are:
- United and Move out to Expand Quickly.
- It is so easy to stay put and enjoy the present success. But the world continue to change and you cannot afford not to change. You must plan to change and take the lead. You need to continue to take calculated risks. There is no reason why you should not since you are now able to handle more risks and failures.
- Get the Best of the Global Resources. Develop the untrained talents.
- You need to continue to get talents and resources from outside.
- However, you need to train them up and make sure they adapt and adopt your culture that bring you the success.
- Bringing talents in the corporation but share not your values and cultures will just create infighting.
- Keeping Fair. Having no favorites is ever more important.
- The need for integrity, fairness, transparency and trust increases with the size of the corporation. It is not less. The bigger you are, the greater the tendency for misunderstanding and infighting.
- If you want to move fast with size, you can afford a lot of rules and complexity. You need trust, communications and clear values to move ahead.
- Big yet Still Friendly. Easy in making Friends with integrity.
- While you may be large, yet you acted and interact with your customers as if you are small. You remain in touch with your customers. You are flexible and you listen to them. They perceive your size as trustworthiness and capability to deliver your promises. They believe in you.
- Relationships with Royalties (Stakeholders, customers, partners, staff with powerful influence).
- Your size and friendliness enables the influential people in government, business, and community to want to work with you. You have tremendous leverage with them.
- Stay connected in touch with such power like you do with the little people in stage-4. All these allow you to invest little and yet gain big rewards. The new start-up cannot match you at all.
- Watch out for the danger that success brings – blind to change, not responsive, infighting, and corruption that bring the walls down.
- This is the only catch you need to always remember. Don’t let success goes into your head and heart and you think you are above and beyond everything. The next Hexagram after Vibrant Flow is Hexagram #12 Stagnation. If you are not careful, you may go into it and then the decline. You don’t want to be forced into Hex#18蠱 Worm – Removing Disorderliness that require you to do major restructuring.
- You want to lead the change, not be forced to change, and build success upon success. You must follow the teaching of this hexagram.
Lim Liat copyrighted April 2011