Today’s corporate environment calls for strong, integrity-driven leadership from all executives, regardless of their ethnicity or gender. I believe that focusing on the following four factors helps to build a better business climate, thereby increasing the odds of success for all.

Ability determines what you can do; motivation determines what you will do; but attitude determines how well you will do it. In the classroom, ability and motivation generally are enough; but in business, the social impact you have on others is a key differentiator. A positive, can-do attitude not only helps overcome obstacles, but it also motivates others to help.

To persevere means to persist in or remain constant to a purpose, idea or task in the face of obstacles or discouragement. We all face obstacles; we all get discouraged; we all make mistakes. The key is to learn from everything and move forward. Every one of my mistakes has provided a valuable lesson—as long as I did not dwell on my error. The same is true for troubling work situations. Rather than letting them consume me, I think them through, decide what to do, and do it—even if it means ignoring it. The important thing is to deal with it and move on. Finally, the harder the task, the greater the accomplishment. Don’t use difficulty as an excuse to drop something. Dive in and do—then savor your achievement.

As they say, “You don’t know what you don’t know.” What counts in college is learning how to learn; in life it’s applying that learning skill to the vast array of opportunities that lie before us. A different project, a new job, a change in geography—all of these offer a chance to expand our field of vision. Training doesn’t stop at college. Electrical engineers with four years of schooling may be obsolete in five, unless they keep on learning.

There comes a time when all the attitude, perseverance and vision you have are not enough to solve the problems that land in your lap. But if you have practiced these three things, you will find others who have been drawn to your light. It is those people who will carry you over the line. It has happened to me more times than I deserve.