Successful Leaders - 27 Truths Critical To Success

by Andrew Cox - Date: 2007-04-26 - Word Count: 894 Share This!

The 27 Truths are a compilation of beliefs, best practices and practical advice we have gained from work with many successful leaders. We offer them as a tool as you go about the business of building your career, and helping others build theirs.

· In a new position, three things you must do right away: 1 - get to know your boss and his expectations; 2 - take action on an issue that you inherited and fix it; 3 - identify the universe of people and processes that impact you and your people's work, and get to know and respect that universe.

·Regardless how hard you try, people will not see things the same way you do. Get over it and look for the common ground and understanding that always exists.

· The ability to separate your emotions while evaluating the actions of others, and not take those actions personally, is absolutely critical to effective decision - making.

·The only security any of us have is the security provided by our accomplishments. Being open to change maximizes the opportunities for accomplishments.

·Seek out mentors and keep seeking them out throughout your career. And then become a mentor yourself.

·Learn to understand how your behavior impacts others and is seen and judged by others. The better you understand yourself the better you can understand and work with others.

· Listening skills are essential to understanding and effective communication. Listen at least 70 % of the time. No one ever learned very much while they were speaking!

·The ability of an organization's people to support and embrace change is the biggest single source of competitive advantage in any organization.

·Behavior change is the most challenging and the highest leverage form of change in any organization. ·The middle 80 to 90% of the people in any organization represent the biggest single opportunity for increased competitive advantage - and the most challenging opportunity as well.

·90 to 95 % of the answers to any organization's issues lie within the people in the organization - getting that "collective genius" to work is both a challenge and a source of huge competitive advantage.

·Replacing assumptions with expectations is critical to success - and it is done through the establishment of goals that align individual and group effort with organizational goals.

· In successful organizations, every selection - be it a hire, a promotion, a transfer or a team assignment, is seen as an opportunity to improve the organization.

·Clear goals, a plan for reaching them complete with a timetable, and action are the essential ingredients to achieving success. While the goals must be your own, they must also align with the goals of your employer.

·Small changes lead to big changes. Identify the big change demands - then start with incremental change. The important thing is to ACT!

·Creating and maintaining positive relationships with people is the most important behavior in determining your success. The development of Personal Skills so that you have the competency to work effectively with people is absolutely necessary, regardless of your career.

·In answer to the question " If you could go back in your career and do more of something, what would it be?" - every leader says "FOCUS".

·30% of the population thinks in terms of opportunities: 70% thinks in terms of consequences. Opportunity people and consequence people can have a really hard time dealing with each other - yet both are absolutely essential to any enterprise. Creating synergy between their behaviors creates competitive advantage.

· Communicating high expectations and then working to meet them is the single most motivating thing that can be done for people. Low expectations are the cause of low performance. There is nothing more devastating to people than to have their leader communicate by his/her actions that not too much is expected from them.

·Assumptions are the enemies of trust. Whenever possible, replace assumptions with clear expectations and goals. In doing so you will create the path to trust.

·Time is a variable - based on the level of trust you have with your boss and your organization and your "universe " of people. The higher the level of trust you have with your universe the more freedom you have to use your time for the important, high leverage things that will move your career ahead.

· Trust comes from meeting and exceeding your commitments, expectations and goals, and keeping your word - there are no other ways to get and keep trust.

·Hard work is absolutely necessary - nothing can replace it. But remember to measure the effect of your effort in results, not in time spent. Some of the most effective people are those who spend the most time at work, and some of the most ineffective people are the ones that spend the most time at work!

·Associate with successful people. Learn from the people who have succeeded. Define success in your own terms.

·Energy is a developable resource - physical condition, passion, a positive attitude, good personal habits and success will all positively influence your level of energy.

·Make up your mind that doing a few things very well and completely is better than doing a lot of things average - pick out your passions and pursue them, but not too many passions at any one time.

And Truth Number 27 - Three behaviors absolutely fatal to any career are: procrastination, passive-aggressiveness, and confusing intentions with results.

Use these 27 Truths to examine your own behavior - use them to discuss the behavior and performance and expectations of others. They can be a powerful tool for you and for your universe of people.

Related Tags: career, goals, beliefs, best practices, leaders, career success, successful leaders, personal skills

Andy Cox is President of Cox Consulting Group LLC. The focus of his work is on helping organizations and their people increase their success in the hiring, developing and enhancing the performance of leaders and emerging leaders. Cox Consulting Group LLC was started in 1995, and has worked with a wide range of organizations, managers and leaders - helping them define success, achieve success and make the ability to change a competitive advantage. He can be reached at

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