At SEI our Vision is to work with our employees to help them achieve their personal, professional and financial goals. That means we’re invested in making sure that our people succeed.
Success isn’t a characteristic that people are born with.
Successful people have broken bad habits and are intentional about building the right ones.
Through the years we’ve learned a few things about what works and what doesn’t.
Here are 7 characteristics of successful people.
1. Write Down Goals
A goal without a plan is nothing more than a wish.
Countless studies have shown that written goals are an important ingredient for success. There’s no right or wrong way to do this. Whether you write them down on a notecard or type them up on a computer. The act of writing down your goals causes you to clarify, organize and prioritize what it is that you want to accomplish.
At SEI we’ve created a process in which employees write their short and long term goals down and then have Vision talks with their managers on a regular basis. These meetings help managers remove road blocks for employees. In order to do that, goals must be written and communicated with clarity.
2. Measure Progress
Successful people define their goals and then measure their progress to completion. Performance measurement helps to ensure that the things we’re investing our time and energy on are producing the right results and are moving us in the right direction.
At SEI we use Scorecards and ROIs to measure our progress. It ensures that we’re keeping the first things first.
The greatest test of leadership often comes when we’re faced with an obstacle that we don’t have a solution to. I’ve been there.
During these times it can be easy to get into the trap of “analysis paralysis.”
SEI’s founder, Mike McCullough often said “just do something.” Often, when we step out and begin to take action, the answers come.
Successful people don’t wait for inspiration, and they don’t have all the answers, in order to act.
4. Do the Right Things
Too many people focus on doing things right when they should first make sure that they’re doing the right things.
If we aren’t intentional about planning which projects will account for our time, someone else will. When that happens, it’s easy to end the work day feeling as if we’ve done so much but have not accomplished anything.
We can begin by writing our goals down and then measuring progress. It clarifies whether or not the things we’re working on are having the right impact.
5. Fail Forward
Thomas Edison once said about inventing the lightbulb, ” I never failed once, it just happened to be a 2,000 step process.” In other words, every little failure was a necessary step that brought him a little closer to success.
Success often means taking 2 steps forward and then 1 step back. The key is to make sure that we take the next 2 steps.
In football, success is rarely achieved in 80 yard increments. Typically it’s 10 yards and then some pain and a close up view of turf. Victory belongs to those who pick themselves up, dust themselves off and prepare for the next play.
6. Embrace the Suck
One of the greatest predictors of success is a willingness to push through the difficult times.
The road to success is not always easy or fun. Whether you’re a Navy Seal pushing through Hell Week or a young leader in business trying to find answers to problems that no one else is willing to touch, I’ve found that the best way out of the suck is through it.
7. Invest in Others
Success can be lonely if we’re the only one standing on the summit, but not if we’ve helped someone else to get there.
The biggest difference between a leader and a manager is that leaders invest in people. They communicate Vision and inspire action. They understand that winning is not an individual sport, it’s intended to be a team effort.
These are 7 things that I’ve identified that successful people do. Is there an 8th that you would add?