4 Good Habits of Successful People that Make Great Leaders – and Great Business

 In Barbara's Blog

The world often judges business by “the bottom line” – but often the bottom line is dramatically affected by human behavior. Years ago, Dan Sullivan, founder of The Strategic Coach Program, introduced me to four habits of successful people which he calls the “Four Referability Habits.” They are simple behaviors that any business owner can utilize to make it easy for people to recommend their services to others. He pointed out that many businesses spent millions of dollars on mission statements, while implementing these four practices would put us ahead of 80% of other businesses.

  1. Show up on time.
  2. Do what you say you will do.
  3. Finish what you start.
  4. Say “please” and “thank you.”

Like many ideas that could be classified as “simple,” they are not “easy!” But would anyone argue that doing those four things can do wonders for improving any business? Yet, how few individuals – let alone entire businesses — adhere to them!

I realize that I’m taking a risk talking about this – since there are certainly times when I have failed on all four fronts, but I’m dedicated to continuing to improve. Every day I’m getting better, and thankfully, productivity is about progress, not perfectionism! Let’s take a look at each one:

  1. Show up on time. All of us know people that are perpetually late, and what I’ve never understood, is that some of them seem proud of it. The unspoken implication is that the time of the person who is late is more important that the time of the person who is waiting. Growing up on the farm in NE, my mother used to keep the kitchen clock five minutes fast. I never understood how that helped, since it seemed natural to just look at the clock and say, but that’s five minutes fast. Nonetheless, it instilled in me the importance of being on time, and I use a variety of techniques to ensure that I am. For example, I always carry something with me that I want to do, so if I’m early, I’m not bored waiting! Inevitably things happen to make us late which are out of our control. A simple phone call to alert people of the situation can salvage the situation.
  2. Do what you say you are going to do. Based on my observations, the biggest challenge here for many of us is that we commit to more things than are humanly possible. Recently, I’ve observed that happening in my own business and life, and the situation has challenged me to revisit my business plan, and narrow my target market. It’s an eye opening experience!
  3. Finish what you start. This is an ongoing challenge for me! Many, perhaps even most, entrepreneurs struggle in that area. After all, we are idea people – and for us, it’s often much more fun to think of ideas than it is to implement them. This means it is essential to ask ourselves whether or not we should start something at all – or make sure we are surrounded by people who will run with the ideas.
  4. Say “please” and “thank you.” I remember reading an article many years ago by Tom Peters, author of The Pursuit of WOW, in which he described how much extra effort he had taken to fly across the country, on short notice, to complete a consulting contract for a client. Not one of the many people for whom he had made the effort ever said “Thank you.” How many thank you notes have you written lately? It’s one of the best ways I know to be memorable in the eyes of your client and loved by your family.

So here’s my challenge for you: Observe which of these four habits you would do well to improve. Like anything worthwhile, habits require discipline, so keep on practicing, and live in a way that inspires those around you to do the same.

If you need help changing a habit, consider working with someone who will help keep you accountable to yourself.   All great leaders recognize that “Together We Are Better!” If you’d like to explore working together with me, I’d love to schedule a complimentary 30-minute Discovery Session: www.vcita.com/v/barbarahemphill

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