Legendary 49ers football coach Bill Walsh coined the term Success Disease to describe the overconfidence and arrogance that often follow an initial level of personal and organizational achievement. Walsh described it as a sense that, “We’ve mastered it; we’ve figured it out; we’re golden.”
“But the gold can tarnish quickly,” he added. “Mastery requires endless remastery. In fact, I don’t believe there is ever-true mastery. It is a process, not a destination.”
Walsh learned this firsthand in 1982 as his team only won a third of its games after being crowned Super Bowl Champions just one year earlier.
Businesses face the same challenge. Prevailing wisdom says Success Disease can be battled by setting and managing the right goals. While goals can provide direction and short-term motivation, they have much less to do with our results than the habits and systems we follow.