I’ve been honored to meet, work with, and speak to some extremely successful people. True leaders in their industries.
Whenever I get the opportunity, I like to ask these individuals what they attribute their success to. When I first started asking this question I expected to hear things like “the ability to conduct in depth financial analysis or, build highly complex strategies”.
Surprisingly, what I discovered is that literally none of these leaders peg their fortunes on their technical ability. Rather, they’ve all mastered the emotional and human elements of their field.
About 10 years ago, I began keeping a log of these skills. Below are the top 4 traits that all great business leaders have in common.
They Are Solution Oriented
A few years ago I attended a conference where I met the CEO of a large tech company. At lunch, I asked her to name the most important thing she does every day. Her reply, “Make sure my organization has the tools to solve the problems we encounter each day”.
Successful business leaders understand and even expect things to go wrong. However, unlike less successful individuals, they don’t panic, get upset, yell or blame others. Rather, they focus on solutions.
They are Perpetually Optimistic
One thing that strikes me is how incredibly optimistic successful executives are. No matter what happens, they truly believe things will ultimately work out. Failure isn’t even a remote possibility.
I once spoke to a senior airline executive. He took over the carrier when it was on the verge of bankruptcy. I asked him if he was ever worried about the company going out of business. His answer was: “No, I always knew we would save it. I just wanted to make sure we didn’t run out of money because that would have made things a little harder”.
They Are Masters Of Their Time
Unsuccessful people constantly complain about how they don’t have enough time.
Highly successful business leaders master their time. They rise early, meticulously plan their day, and only focus on their highest priorities. As a result, they are highly productive. Sure they take time for their favorite TV show or Facebook, but it’s all part of their daily plan.
Sound too ridged? Consider that despite the incredible amount of responsibility these people have, I always find them to be considerably less stressed than others.
They Play Offense
Highly accomplished executives charge into the day. They play offense by pushing themselves and their organizations to accomplish new goals and explore new opportunities. They’re always moving forward.
Do they make mistakes? Absolutely. Lots of them. One leader once told me: “If I had a dollar for every time I screwed up, I would have retired a long time ago”.
The difference is they realize mistakes are part of the learning process. When things go wrong, they take what they’ve learned and charge ahead.
Learn from the best and pull away from the rest
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I’ve spent my entire life in the Fortune 500, and I want to share everything I wish I knew when I was younger in the hopes that you can find success far faster than I did.
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