MARK S A SMITH
Seven Critical Executive Skills for Consistent Success
L eadership isn’t just the ability to attract and direct good people. It’s the intention and skills required to operate a sustainable, scalable, profitable operation. “85% of your financial success is due to your personality and ability to communicate, negotiate, and lead. Shock- ingly, only 15% is due to technical knowledge,” wrote Charles Riborg Mann in 1918. This observation is still true today. While knowledge is a component of success, it’s not enough. Lots of smart people work well below their cognitive capacity. In working with executives over the past three decades, I’ve identified seven skills required for sustainable success. When one skill is weak or missing, organizational trouble will follow.But these skills can be developed and improved, so assess what you need to expand. Presence Presence is that certain something that attracts people, commands their attention, and permits leaders to engage. It is the ultimate in first impressions.Without it, you won’t get a chance to lead, even with a position of authority. Presence is a combination of emotional intelligence (EQ) and integrity, creating charismatic leadership. According to EQ researchers, 70% of your executive success is due to your EQ and 30% to your mental capacity (IQ). EQ is the ability to balance your awareness and management of yourself, others, and things. Narcissists are unaware of others. Minimalists are unaware of things. Altruists are unaware of themselves. A successful executive balances broad awareness.
Another way of considering self-awareness versus aware- ness of others is the concept of humility (not humiliation). “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is think- ing of yourself less,” wrote C.S. Lewis in Mere Christian- ity.Without integrity, you’re doomed. Once others discover you’re not of your word, the game is over. How do you balance your awareness? Which awareness requires attention? Discipline Being free spirits, unbound by convention and routine, doesn’t work for executives. Discipline requires personal and professional routines. Within that structure, we can focus on the variables that we manage and direct. Steve Jobs wore a uniform of black mock turtleneck, blue jeans, and sneakers, one less thing to think about. Meditation also kept him centered and effective. Without a personal routine, you’ll skip meals, not get enough sleep, and not get the exercise you need, all of which contribute to your most valuable resource, your cognitive capacity. Without an executive routine, you’ll fight fires all day and never attend to critical strategy, prioritization, and culture maintenance. Does your daily routine support your resourcefulness? Does your executive routine ensure that every aspect of your business gets attention, especially strategy and culture alignment? Foresight If you haven’t examined your vision within the past thirty days, you may face a looming disaster. Why? As Scott
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