Peter Drucker, author of some 60 management books, says executives worth their pay do not predict trends. Instead, they sense and see trends that are not yet fully capitalized on and make use of them.

Executives can be brilliant, imaginative and informed, and yet still be ineffective. Effective executives are systematic. They work hard in the right areas and their results define them. They are knowledge workers who help the organization achieve its goals. They look beyond mere management tasks and try to perceive important trends that will affect their organizations.

Every leader, club owner and manager faces tough times — and that's when leaders distinguish themselves and show who they really are. Leading others can be difficult and can take great courage. Every change, every challenge and every crisis requires a tough call, and the way those are handled is what separates leaders from everyone else. The choices we make in critical moments help to form us and to inform others about who we are.

Good leadership always makes a difference. It can turn organizations around and positively affect the lives of thousands of individuals. Leadership is not easy to learn and is both demanding and complex. By learning more about leadership, you will make a difference in yourself and in the lives of others. These moments will define who you are as a person and as a leader.

You can teach yourself to become effective. You cannot manage others if you cannot manage yourself. The toughest person to lead is always you. To be successful in any endeavor, you need to learn how to get out of your own way. If you want to lead, you have to learn. If you want to continue to lead, you must continue to learn. Successful people continue to exhibit an excitement, a curiosity, a sense of wonder and a desire to learn.

Effective executives prioritize, make plans, take responsibility, communicate, seek opportunities, hold productive meetings and contribute to their organizations. To do so, Drucker says you must master five specific habits:

  • Control your time and understand how you use it

  • Focus on what you can contribute to your organization

  • Build on your strengths and your company's strengths

  • Prioritize your objectives and work on them one by one

  • Standardize decision-making where possible

The simplest way to enable a small business owner to make better decisions, implement better and get the necessary support to take action during tough times is to rely on a group of peers. Because they come from the same industry, they understand at least half of your business without even knowing you. A group like this can provide ability, integrity and benevolence to overcome small business's largest pitfalls.

If you meet with a group like this for 60 to 100 hours per year over a number of years in a structured setting with active interaction rather than a seminar setting, you will create an extraordinarily powerful resource that will enable your business to excel and enable you to have a better life.

The best groups share data, goals and problems. Participants support and challenge one another to work their way through these areas, so they receive the benefit of wise counsel from the group but can still make their own decisions. As this group deepens and grows over the years, it develops a power that executive teams and boards of the largest businesses rarely, if ever, attain.

Success is knowing your purpose in life, growing to your maximum potential and sowing seeds that benefit others. If you are able to do those three things, then you are successful.

Ed Tock, a club sales and marketing consultant, specializes in performance/profitability programs. He also is a partner in REX Roundtables. He can be reached at 845-736-0307 or eddie@eddietock.com.