The Art of Predicting Success


E78 Staff

E78 Staff

Learn More

Thousands of studies have been conducted, millions of books have been written and it’s still a huge question on our minds. Can you accurately predict success? Is there a science to it? Some say absolutely. Here at E78, we think it may be more of an art than a science.

Whether or not a new hire is successful largely depends on how your organization defines success. Have you established benchmarks to gauge progress? Do you have specific development goals? How do you prioritize things like culture, emotional intelligence (EQ) and personal growth?  We’ve broken down several “tried-and-true” success predictors for you to consider.

The ability to delay gratification

Have you ever heard of the “marshmallow experiment” from the 1970s? The premise was simple: Children could have one marshmallow immediately, OR if they were able to wait for a short period, they would get two marshmallows. Delayed gratification. Analysis on the children tested has continued for decades and the results are fascinating. Those who were able to wait for the two marshmallows were found to better manage stress later in life, have lower levels of obesity, score higher on standardized exams and function better socially.

How this translates or how we measure this in real time can be difficult but basically this is the act of NOT doing something. For example, writers who don’t attend to every phone notification will finish the novel. Athletes who fight and train through an injury instead of looking for a quick fix will ultimately finish the marathon. And employees who show patience and thought will likely be more successful.


Good old-fashioned mental toughness. This kind of persistence or perseverance boils down to someone’s relentless pursuit of…well, anything. Someone with grit won’t sit back and wait for something to happen “to” them. They do what it takes to make something happen, sometimes despite putting themselves in an uncomfortable situation or circumstance.

Passion for cultivating a diverse network

Those who immerse themselves in an “open network” will be surrounded by different types of people. They’ll see their own beliefs challenged and their comfort zones stretched, however they will benefit from that diversity of opinion and learn something they may not have considered from their closed network.


Benjamin Franklin reminded us “Out of adversity comes opportunity.” A person with a high adversity quotient manages challenges well and is motivated to push themselves outside of their current circumstances. Those who are comfortable and content, may not push to be more or see more.

Growth mindset

A growth outlook speaks to someone’s belief that people can always improve, can always learn. Avid readers often operate in this mindset and are constantly digesting new information and new ideas. This is a strong indicator of someone willing AND able to learn to do better and be better.


Conscientious people are crazy organized and responsible. They take themselves seriously, plan ahead, and exercise great impulse control. These behaviors have outrageously high correlation rates with success. 

High EQ

Not unlike the above, people with a high EQ are fantastic self-managers. They are extremely empathetic and have a keen social awareness. They take time to get to know their teams. They recognize other’s talents and limits. They celebrate wins – and they win a lot.

Past success

No doubt, you’ve heard that past behavior is the best indicator of future behavior. Well, the same can be said for success. Success begets success. The confidence boosts that come from big (and small) victories can be the momentum needed to propel people forward.

While there’s no “perfect” combination of predictors, our consultants at E78 are experts at identifying talent and predicting success. Let us put our network to work for you.


Ready to learn more about how our solutions can help your business?

Meet the Author

E78 Staff
Read Bio

“Join us for the Actionable M&A Integration Practices to Accelerate Deal Value
June 20th at 2pm EST / 11am PST