One of my recent columns discussed how establishing a business culture based on the human factor contribution (HFC) can differentiate your club in the market. HFC is a special combination of managerial beliefs, practices and tools that focus on building a healthy organizational culture that drives performance, efficiency, effectiveness and morale.
The traits that go into HFC (listed here) are what set successful people apart from others and are developed through attitude, habit and discipline.
1. Passionate curiosity. Although CEOs are supposed to project confidence, they must also have a curious nature. They must ask big-picture questions. Successful CEOs wonder why things work the way they do and whether those things can be improved upon. It is this relentless questioning that leads entrepreneurs to spot new opportunities and helps managers understand the people who work for them, and how to get them to work together effectively.
CEOs are often the best students. They recognize that they can’t have the answer to everything, but they can push their company in new directions and harness the collective energy of their employees by asking the right questions.
2. Battle-hardened confidence. This is the ability to handle adversity, embrace it and overcome it. The best predictor of behavior is past performance. That is why it is important when interviewing job candidates to ask about how they dealt with failure in the past. You want to know whether that person takes ownership of challenges or looks for excuses.
Many successful businesspeople are driven by a strong work ethic forged in adversity. As they moved up in organizations, the attitude remained the same: this is my job, and I’m going to own it. That attitude is rewarded with more challenges and promotions.
People’s outlooks about what leads to success and failure in their lives carry over to their work performance. Do they tend to blame failures on factors they cannot control, or do they believe in their ability to shape circumstances by making the most of what they can control? People who have this trait will take ownership of any assignment thrown their way.
3. Team smarts. The most effective executives understand how teams work and how to get the most out of the group. One key indicator of team smarts is having good peripheral vision for sensing how people react to one another and noticing when the team is really listening and engaged. Leaders have the ability to recognize the players that the team needs most and how to bring them together around a common goal. The people who truly succeed in business are the ones who know how to mobilize people who are not their direct reports.
4. A focused mindset. If you ask most people to give you a 10-word summary of the idea they are presenting, you’ll find that few of them can do it. The ability to synthesize information and to connect the dots in new ways shows true focus, which can lead to untapped opportunities. Developing this ability is directly linked with one of the first traits I described: the tendency to ask simple, smart questions.
5. Fearlessness. Taking smart risks is a quality that often is associated with entrepreneurs, but it is one that many CEOs do not possess or encourage in others.
With the business world in seemingly endless turmoil, maintaining the status quo—even when things seem to be working well—will only put you behind the competition. Successful CEOs look for calculated and informed risk-taking, but mostly, they want to work with people who do things rather than those who wait around to be told what to do.
Fearlessness is an attitude, and because their own attitude is one of the few things everyone can control, fearlessness is a character trait that can be developed. It can be fostered with a simple approach to taking more risks.
Developing and honing these five qualities will make you a better manager and leader. They will make you stand out and will help you make your employees stand out. Ultimately, they will help create a more productive work environment that will get better results.
Ed Tock is a partner with REX Roundtables, a global organization that runs roundtables for business owners and chief executives. As a consultant, he has worked with more than 1,000 clubs since 1983. He can be reached at 845-736-0307 or at Eddie@eddietock.com.