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Everyone wants to be successful in business; it is the nature of the beast. Although there are plenty of business books, blogs and resources available on the topic, sometimes we miss the key points to achieving success.

Look closely and you will find we can learn a lot from some of our favorite monsters from the wonderful Pixar movie, Monsters, Inc.  And the great thing is that their guidelines work for not only for business success, but personal life success as well. Let’s see what Monsters Inc teaches us about success.

Sulley

We begin with Sully, the #1 scarer for Monsters, Inc. Sully is a natural, but never takes his gifts for granted. He trains every day, because excellence is his only goal. He knows that although he is at the top today, the only way to stay there is to constantly hone his skills and improve. He is also humble about his position, gives credit to the rest of the team and is genuinely kind to his fans.

Sully teaches us that even if we are “at the top” today, that might not always be the case.  Be gracious and generous to your teammates and always value your fans; they are the most important part of your network.  No one ever achieves a worthy goal alone, there is always a support network (often working behind the scenes). And just like with Sully’s strongest supporter  Mike, you never know when the roles will be reversed.

Monster Mike

Next is Mike – Sully’s work assistant, coach, roommate, best friend and biggest fan. Mike always has big dreams, but also is content to be part of Sully’s success in a supporting role. In almost every circumstance, Mike looks at the bright side of things. As we often say around our house, “He’s just glad to be on the show!”

Mike teaches us that whatever aspect of your job (or business) you are currently working on, you should do your very best. Just because your role isn’t front and center doesn’t mean that it isn’t important. Mike also reminds us that attitude really makes a HUGE difference in our results. Big dreams are great to have, but don’t be so focused on them that you miss celebrating all the great accomplishments along the journey. And just when you are least expecting it, often when it is darkest, everything you were hoping to achieve and all the goals you have set will come to fruition!

Roz from Monsters, Inc.

Roz is the quintessential “paper-pusher”. She has no tolerance for procedures not being adhered to down to their last detail. She is not really friendly, but ultimately is the grease that keeps the machine running. And much to everyone’s surprise, she is also an under-cover agent.

Roz’s two-fold responsibilities provide us a number of lessons. First, if you are working with any type of administrative support, remember they can make your life easier or harder; it is all up to you and how you treat them. Next, Roz reminds us that procedures are key to making sure nothing important gets missed. But at the same time, she also knows that sometimes the rules need to “broken” or at least “bent” for the sake of getting the job done. Lastly, she reminds us that you never know who might be in charge in the future. So it is just easier, wiser and better to treat everyone with respect.

Boo from Monsters, Inc.

Although not a monster by our standards, Boo is very scary to our friends at Monsters, Inc. Boo “escapes” from our world into the monster world only cause unending havoc which ultimately reveals the evil plans of the bad guys.

The most important lesson we can learn from Boo is to not give in to our fears. Once we face those fears head-on, often we discover that either they are unfounded or we have allies willing to help us conquer them. In addition, Boo teaches us that creativity and a willingness to deal with the chaos that inevitably pops up from time to time can often lead to unexpected and wonderful results.

Randall from Monsters, Inc.

Ultimately, Randall is the bad guy. Try as he might to take Sully’s position at the top, he never quite makes it. His desire for “fame and glory” are so all-encompassing, he resorts to unethical behaviors to try and reach his goal. Randall is also a chameleon, trying to blend in and go unnoticed when it benefits him, but ultimately showing his true colors in the end.

Randall is what we call a negative role model — a role model of what NOT to do. Randall teaches us that the ends rarely justify the means. And putting on a “good face” for the powers that be will almost never win you long-term success. Instead, do your very best and be true to yourself. Make your goals and ambitions worthy of your efforts. In the end, you will find your success and probably along the way sleep better at night (no monsters in your closet).

What are your key guidelines for business success?