Consider This

Robert Stevenson’s Thoughts on the Pursuit of Excellence

Success Is Rented

February 22, 2020

by Robert Stevenson

The largest retailer in the United States in the 1950’s was Sears. In May of 1950 Sam Walton founded Walmart and Sears was not concerned. Today Walmart is ranked #29 on the Forbes Global 2000 (Companies) List based on revenues, profits, assets and market value … and Sears declared bankruptcy, October of 2018.

July of 1994 Amazon was founded, and Walmart was not concerned. Today Walmart is no longer the largest retailer in the United States; that title now goes to Amazon. They are #28 on the Forbes Global 2000. It only took 26 years for Amazon to make that happen. Now, Walmart still has double the revenues of Amazon and employs 4-times as many people … but things are changing rapidly. Profits for Amazon last year were $10 billion ... where Walmart posted profits of $6.7 billion.

One of my favorite quotes about business is from Rory Vaden:
“Success is never owned, success is rented, and the rent is due every day.”

The average lifespan of a S&P 500 company in 1964 was 33 years. Today it less than 18 years and is forecasted to shrink to just 12 years by 2027. Consulting firm, McKinsey, believes that by 2027, 75% of the companies currently on the S&P 500 will have disappeared.

Employees need to know these statistics so they can understand they are in a battle for survival. One of the most important points I try to make when I do a speaking engagement is NOTHING IS PERMANENT – EXCEPT CHANGE. Success is definitely not permanent – it is a temporary state. Uber is booking 40 million rides per month, which has greatly affected the taxi business. Airbnb is booking over 100 million room-nights per year, which is hurting the hotel industry. What we all need to understand is the business is still out there, it is just evolving. People still need rides and rooms … but the way they get them has changed.

I don’t see any of this as gloom & doom. I see it as opportunity, but with a different mindset. What worked yesterday, might not work tomorrow, so we have got to keep a pulse on our customers.
Billionaire, Bill Gates, looks at survival this way:

  1. Move Fast and Keep Innovating - The most important speed issue is often not technical but cultural. It’s convincing everyone that the company’s survival depends on moving as fast as possible.
  2. Think Ahead of the Times - In order to stay one step ahead of the competition, you need to predict the future and prepare for it in advance.
  3. Your Time Is Valuable - No matter how much money you have, you can’t buy more time. Identify the biggest time-wasting activities in your schedule and cut them down.
  4. Learn from Your Mistakes - Its fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure.
  5. Persistence and Perseverance - Nothing happens overnight; hammer away until you got there.
  6. Take Risks - If you want to win big, you sometimes have to take big risks.
  7. Never Give Up - You should have a never say die attitude if you want to succeed.
  8. Focus on Unhappy Customers - Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.

You can look at it as Good News or Bad News – but NOTHING is permanent.

"Your only true security in life
is your ability to perform."

About the Author

Robert Stevenson is an expert at building a high-performance business culture, improving efficiency, and accelerating growth. He is one of the most widely sought-after speakers in the world today, as well as a best-selling author. He has owned five companies, sold internationally in over 20 countries. Robert has spoken to over 2,500 companies throughout the world and his research in the area of corporate and entrepreneurial success is extensive. Over 2 million people have benefitted from his powerful, practical, and thought-provoking programs. He is a true master at blending facts, inspiration, conviction, and humor into all his programs.

Companies like FedEx, Prudential, Lockheed Martin, Anheuser-Busch, Chevron, American Express, and Berkshire Hathaway continue to rely on him for a fresh, unique perspective on businesses’ most crucial issues. To learn more about Robert and what he can do for your team visit his website at

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