Traits of Success!

Traits of success – what do successful people credit for why they have achieved success?

successSuccessful people – when asked, “What has helped you achieve success?” Or ”What are the traits you have nurtured to get where you are?” – will respond with a variety of nouns and descriptive phrases. Some of the most common are detailed below. Take a look at these and check off those that you possess… and add the others to your personal “to do” list.

Do the same for your subordinates and develop a coaching program for each of them so they too can begin to check off as “got it” these desired traits of successful people.

  1. Great and positive attitude. The glass is – at least outwardly – ALWAYS half full. Be “up”…smile…portray that problems and obstacles are to be tackled and resolved. Having a great positive attitude is the first step to being a “Go To” person – a desired state of being for anyone! Have a personal methodology to get and keep your attitude positive, especially when things go wrong. Check the websites and thoughts of Tim Connor  (www.timeconnor.com) , David Rich (www.contagioustalk.com) and Angelo Agrafiotis (www.aaimlifecoaching.com) when you need a mental shot in the arm.
  2. Stay on message. To do otherwise confuses people as to what is important and what the mission is. Repeat the message over and over again… otherwise, people will forget and stray off message. Like the parlor game of telephone where a verbal message is passed down the line and emerges bearing no resemblance to the original message… only by repeating the message will it get to all and be retained in its original form. One memo… one presentation…one speech will never get it done… tenacity is critical.
  3. Be upfront, straightforward and honest…at all times. Simple and direct avoids confusion. No obfuscation…no “blowin’ smoke” about “what’s going on”. Your subordinates and those you work with need to be able to predict how your think and how you make decisions in order to be in sync with you. Being upfront and straightforward leads to predictability. When you use facts and figures – be sure you are right on; getting them wrong leads people to conclude you were playing fast and fancy with the facts.
  4. Be curious. Curiosity leads you and your co-workers to explore new and better ways to do things. It counters the brain “stagnation” that can set in within an organization. Cultivate “environmental awareness” – what is going on around you and – and consider how it all fits in. Read, learn and ponder the “what-ifs” regarding your organization, department or job!
  5. Be a very good listener. When you are talking with someone – give it 100% of your attention. It is just rude to listen and also multi-task on your PDA or let your eyes wander around the room. If you are going to listen to someone, you have two objectives: a. Hear and understand what he or she has to say; and, b. Have him or her leave the conversation feeling they had your total and complete attention.. .the impact is for the person to feel that they were the most important person in the room.
  6. Intensity of focus. Be very, very serious about achieving excellence in your realm of responsibility. Never accept second-best … and if it happens regardless, have a plan to fix it. Remember the parable of the farmer’s cow in the ditch. The three-step process is:

a. First – get the cow out of the ditch.

b. Second – Figure out how the cow got in the ditch.

c. Third – Create and implement a plan so it can never happen again.

Most people do #1…and maybe #2. People that are serious about excellence take the time to do all three!

OK – these are six characteristics of successful people in their own words. See if you agree…and to what degree do you possess and practice them!

Follow me on twitter – www.twitter.com/robbmulberger

Want to be a Great Leader?

Success comes to those that learn and grow. Preparing yourself for the next step in your career is critical to achieving not only that next job… but the one after that.

This involves thinking and learning. If you desire to be a good leader of people – even a great leader of people – you need to really understand what leadership is all about. The libraries are full of books on leadership and new ones are hitting the street regularly. Yet, the basic principles remain the same. A brief self-analysis on your part will be helpful to gauge where you are on the leadership path.

george-hw-bush-pictureThe following is a re-print (with permission from NRI, Inc.) of one of the essays I wrote for NRI’s “Managing for Excellence” series. To what extent can you grade yourself B+ or better on the following six aspects of leadership?

Want to be a Great Leader?

A Leader Whose People Will Always Deliver the Goods?

The principles are simple and easy. Mastering them and then living them to a high degree is not so easy. Successful people have a healthy degree of humility and self-doubt that keeps them doing tough self-evaluations. As Mitch Fromstein – the late CEO of Manpower –  used to say: “great managers sweat the small stuff”. Sooner or later you’ll make enough mistakes to really learn what follows. The key is to learn them before the mistakes become job-ending ones.

1. Be an expert delegator. Understand that to delegate effectively you need to be specific about what the expectations are… the desired results. You need to be confident that whomever you have delegated to do a task or project has the capability to do so… and the tools and resources to do so. And once delegated – don’t meddle. Get progress reports, but don’t tell staff “how to do it” unless it is clearly going poorly.

2. Make sure your expectations are clear to all. And those expectations are two-fold: yours as a boss and those of the organization. Remember that “he who aims at nothing is likely to hit it!” All who look to you as a leader need to know what is expected of them and how it all fits together to achieve the organization’s objectives. Re-state those expectations periodically; they will fade from staff’s memory if not re-stated in the right context.

3. Never take credit for success – give it to others. Remember the words of President George H.W. Bush –  “mother would lecture us – “give the other guy credit. Nobody likes a braggadocio, George. Don’t talk about yourself all the time.” Wise words for us all. Recognize immediately and publically when people rise to the occasion. Recognize incremental success; not everyone will hit a home run every time… and there are times when effort also counts and also needs to be recognized.

4. It is indeed true that honesty is the best policy. Managers and leaders are judged daily by what they do and say. Straight talk and being forthcoming is critical for people to trust you. Trust lost is virtually impossible to regain. That is not to say that there isn’t a time for ambiguity – there is…but never downright dishonesty.

Hellmans Mayo Lid5. Don’t come unglued. Keeping your cool is critical to being a great boss and leader. Remember the directions on a jar of Hellman’s mayonnaise …. “keep cool – but do not freeze”!  Keep your eye on the target…the big picture….and remember that people are looking at youand to you for guidance. No one has confidence in a boss who gets rattled when the going gets tough.

6. Have a sense of humor. Gotta be able to laugh at yourself…. gotta be able to see the irony in things… gotta “lighten up” when it is called for – but never at someone else’s expense. Humor is a universal ice-breaker.

Learn these lessons… put them in practice… coach your subordinates to do the same. Develop a healthy degree of humility and master the process of evaluating how close to the ideal you are in thesesix dynamics. It takes time and discipline to develop the skills to be a great leader so work on it diligently.

Ray Wylie’s Words of Inspiration

ray wylie hubbard

Ray Wylie Hubbard is a great C&W singer songwriter – his best known song – “Up Against the Wall Red Neck Mother” – has been recorded by many, many others, but his song I like the best…and the one with a great personal message is “Mother Blues.

You can find versions of it on YouTube galore… it is well worth watching in concert….and it is definitely NOT mainstream country, but the last few lines are:

“And the days I keep my gratitude higher than my expectations, well – those are pretty good days”.

Words of wisdom for us all….