"Success orientations" are ways that human beings go about achieving success in life. The word "success" is used to title this model because of all the things human beings want in life, an overall driving force is the need to be successful.
Human beings want to achieve many things, including being successful at the big things in life:
On a shorter time frame, this same drive for success plays out in the hundreds of day-to-day, week-to-week, and month-to-month challenges that face human beings. Such smaller challenges as:
What differs between people is how they go about achieving these large and small successes. This focus on how people actually go about achieving success is crucial in understanding the model. A person is naturally oriented toward one particular orientation or a mix of two different ways of accomplishing things. In rare cases they can do things in 3 different ways equally well. They may want to do something in a certain way, think it is the best way to do it, but may actually do it in a different way. This different way is the result of a natural and powerful orientation that they have toward achieving success.
Relationship - Other people are central to success and happiness of a relationship oriented person. Those who are oriented towards relationships have a default expectation that friendships, associations, and interactions with other people will most often or always be the route to success in life. The first reaction to a significant question or problem faced by a relational person is "Let me call ____. They will know the answer."
Process - Instructions, directions, policies, rules, and steps to follow are needed for success and happiness. Process oriented individuals look for and follow processes that have a high probability of generating a successful outcome. The goal may not be fully understood, but the process is trusted to achieve success. For a process oriented person, university degrees, credentials, and job titles are very important to understanding who another person "is" in social and professional contexts. The unconscious question they are asking is "Where do you fit in the process?"
Goal - The "shining light" in the distance is the singular goal to be focused on with unwavering attention for goal oriented people. Many people focus almost exclusively on goals to be achieved and let nothing get in the way of their success in reaching those goals. They can verbally and visually define their goals with utmost precision and will direct all their personal energy toward achieving extremely specific visions in their minds. When interacting with others, they will likely quickly direct a conversation to past achievements and future goals to be reached. The "What do you do?" question really means "What have you achieved?" in the mind of a goal oriented person.
Success orientations can be useful in many ways, including being a prediction tool for some situations. Examples of how success orientations can be used:
Like any model of human behavior, the success orientations model must not be used prescriptively. This can lead to oversimplifications of situations, mis-interpretations of complex human motivations, unethical and illegal discrimination, and other bad outcomes. The model can be very useful, but is only one tool of many that can be used to help understand human behavior and should be used as such - as just one tool of many to help bring understanding and insights to our thinking.
Want to learn more? Success orientations is an open source model. See the emerging web site that will support the dissemination, research, discussion, and critical analysis of the success orientations model:
A much deeper and more fully explained look at the success orientations model is included in the first applied book on success orientations called "How to Teach International Students", available for purchase through this web site.
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