in hacks, Leadership

No straight line to success. The one surprising hack to get what you want, faster.

Do you want to get to the top? Do you want to get there, fast?

What do you think it takes to get up the ladder?

Most of us have been told to:
– work hard
– put in the hours
– pay our dues
– listen to experience, follow in their footsteps
– stick to what you do well
– stay with it

I know this to be the truth that has been preached to me.

Some of these principles certainly apply. However, recent research shows that some of the world’s fastest rising individuals have deployed an unusual hack that runs contrary to our traditional rules for success.

What is the hack to get you to the top, faster?

Contrary to what most believe, many of these rising stars have done one thing different from everyone else?

They’ve zig-zagged when everyone else has followed the (usual) straight line.

What is Zig-zagging?

You can think of zig-zagging as jumping laterally and vertically at the same time, instead of only aiming for a vertical approach.

The zig-zagging principle is based on leveraging and continuously building on top of ones strengths to move higher up the food chain.

Examples of zig-zagging and possible outcomes

Here are some examples of zig-zagging:
– The Fortune 100 corporate Sales Leader jumping ship to Found a startup. If he succeeds he may likely get acquired by a Fortune 100 company that will ask him to lead the unit for which he’s been acquired.
– The Business, Entertainment or Military Leader that rises to take political office and wins in his first shot vs. the typical road of career politicians. Many of our Presidents have taken this road to the White House.
– The Engineer on his way to make Head Of Department, instead of turning to sales and rising to the top, then catapulting to a Business Leadership role. This is something I’ve seen in the corporate world.


Zig-zagging can be risky. It is the road less traveled. You will likely get a lot of criticism and doubt, which for many will mean giving up.

If you have the appetite, thick skin and a willingness to consider and demonstrate how your skills are transferable across domains, then zig-zagging may indeed be for you.

Good luck. See you at the top!