High impact leaders focus on doing the right things well and consistently live up to their commitments especially when it is hard. You don’t ever have to worry about their personal behavior or professional discipline.
Most of us will start the New Year with a list of goals we would like to achieve over the course of the next year. Making New Years’ Resolutions has become an American pastime. Unfortunately, a majority of us will end up falling far below our initial expectations. For some reason we either lose interest, become distracted by other things, or find the goals end up requiring more than we are willing to give to get there. Over the years I’ve observed a much smaller number of people who actually achieve what they set out to do. From this experience, I’ve developed the following tips to help you become one of these lucky few:
Never settle for mediocrity in others or yourself. Greatness is a choice although sometimes it can also choose you. Far too many businesses limp along or merely survive rather than thrive. Far too many people are dissatisfied with the outcomes in their life. To achieve anything of significance requires passion, diligence, hard work, commitment and raising your expectations of what’s possible. As I watched Bruce Springsteen perform last night in front of a packed house for nearly 3 hours at age 62, I couldn’t help but think that besides his obvious talent, what still makes him great is that he cares so much, loves what he is doing and gives it everything he’s got.
When you lead people it is important to be true to who you are as a person. Employees will quickly pick up on it if you try to be something you are not. There is no perfect personality profile of a leader despite what many books of the topic would like to portray. I’ve seen all types of individuals thrive under the mantle of leadership. I’ve also seen others who look impressive on paper struggle when they attempt to step up and lead. When you are true to yourself you are more likely to be effective in whatever you do.
The most successful people I know do what they say they are going to do when they say they are going to do it. They are also good at being “present” in the moment and fully engaged in whatever they are doing. They avoid distractions and abhor excuses. High performance isn’t optional but instead a way of life. To them, hyper-performance and multi-tasking is for amateurs.
I’ve long believed that success is incremental rather than something that happens all at once. It’s the little things that take place every day that make the difference.
It’s easy to have a new idea. It’s much more difficult to see an existing initiative through to completion. People get bored. Results take longer than expected and cost more money than planned. Unforeseen obstacles are strewn in your path. Execution can be tedious work. Employees may want clear direction but often struggle with managing multiple responsibilities and deadlines. As a result, most organizations end up using an ad hoc management style of putting out fires and responding to external events or internal pressures as needed. They take very little control of their own destiny.
In life most people quit before they reach the summit. They find themselves on the brink of achieving everything they’ve worked for but give up because they just don’t have the personal resolve to see it through. Achieving any significant level of success is usually hard work and often tests your physical and emotional capacities.
Focus and discipline will beat IQ points every time. It’s not the most intelligent person who typically wins in business, but instead the individual who stays focused on and committed to their objectives despite the inevitable obstacles and other distractions that will appear.