Learning From The Masters


Article by: Tony L. Callahan

What are the intangible, but omnipresent characteristics that define the modern captains of industry? What is it that put them on top, standing head and shoulders over the crowd? Why is Jack Welch the CEO of General Electric or Michael Eisner the ex-head of Disney while John Q. Public still working away, invisible in their organizations?

By studying the common traits of the people at the top, I believe that you can improve your chances of success. In this article, I outline what I believe to be the top ten traits necessary to make your way to the top.

1. Never Stop Learning
The most important success trait, the basis for many of the others, is never stop learning. Each person is responsible for developing, improving and expanding their skills. Success is only achieved through a real commitment to life long learning.

2. Be Self Confident
This trait builds on the first. As you progress through your career, you should be amassing a collection of skills. It is this collection that should serve as the basis for true self confidence.

3. Originality of Thought
It is critical to success to be able to think "outside the box". Innovation is the key here, but don't try to go to far too fast. It is human nature to resist change. If new ideas are too radical, there will be resistance. Think your ideas through, present them clearly and completely. Anticipate the questions and concerns that the new ideas will inevitably bring up. Be prepared to answer objections.

4. Be Strait Forward
Being straightforward in speech indicates that you are action oriented and honest. People will be more receptive to new ideas if they do not feel there is a hidden agenda behind them. Being straightforward eliminates the need to couch ideas in too many words. The clearest ideas are ideas explained in simple terms.

5. Be Willing To Take Risks
The willingness to take risks is one of the main traits that separates the leaders from the rest of the pack. You must be willing to move outside the range of the comfortable and the expected. Taking risks, even early in your career, can help distinguish you as a person with leadership potential.

6. Be In Control
Being in control does not mean dominating every situation. Control means that you have done your homework. You are prepared for the possibilities and have a plan to manage them.

7. Admit Mistakes, but Don't Apologize
Everyone makes mistakes, this is how people learn. The important thing here is to make sure that the correct lesson is learned. Evaluate mistakes, do not waste time laying blame. Once the evaluation is complete, take steps to make sure the mistake doesn't happen again. Do this and apologies become unnecessary as each mistake is an opportunity to learn.

8. Be Competitive and Committed
The competition here is with yourself, not with others. Set tangible goals and push yourself to accomplish them. This is where the commitment comes in. If the goals are worthy ones, it will require commitment on your part to achieve them.

9. Be Flexible
There is a fine line between commitment and inflexibility. To achieve success, you must be committed to a plan. Success is achieved when you are able to adapt your plan in response to the constantly changing needs of business.

10. Be Generous
Business success is rarely a solo effort, most success comes as a result of a group effort. Generosity is one of the key signs of a good leader. Recognize, in meaningful ways, those who have contributed to the success.

Remember to keep things fun and interesting. If you do not find your career path stimulating and enjoyable, why would you want to reach the top in that area? However, if you enjoy what you are doing, incorporating these traits will improve your chances of success and make the success you achieve more gratifying.

Copyright 1999, 2002 Tony L. Callahan All Rights Reserved

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Tony L. Callahan, is a successful Internet Promotions Consultant with more than twenty years of industry experience and is president of his own Internet marketing company, Link-Promote. He also publishes Web-Links Monthly, a newsletter full of tips, tricks, tools and techniques for successful web site promotions. To subscribe, send e-mail to: Web-Links-subscribe@topica.com.

Want to use this article? You may freely reproduce this article for use on the internet or for your training materials as long as credit is given to the author and the above author description and contact information (including links or web addresses) are included.


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