To achieve success in anything, including corporate leadership, you must have a clear sense of yourself and what is important to you. When I have struggled, it was because I veered from my internal compass. When I rebounded, it was because I regained perspective and listened to that still, small voice inside. Here are a few things that I heard:
- GET THE BASICS RIGHT. Don’t fall prey to the latest trend without understanding the fundamentals behind it: customer value proposition, cost/benefit implications, technical soundness and ethical principles. In recent years we’ve seen examples of fallen industries, companies and individuals that have neglected this principle.
- NEVER STOP LEARNING. Keep the technical skills of your trade sharp and continuously develop your leadership skills. Leadership is part gift and part acquired skill.
- TREAT YOUR EMPLOYEES WELL and hold them accountable. If you don’t deal with the problem performance issues, your best employees will be the ones most demoralized.
- DON’T TRY TO DO IT ALL YOURSELF—you can’t! Remember, you’re only human. You don’t have to be perfect—no one else is! Things get done through teams of people. Value your employees. When you need resources, ask for them. When you’re faced with a challenge, consult others who have had a similar experience. When you’re facing a down moment, surround yourself with your cheerleaders. Always have people in your life who care enough to cheer you when you’re down and put you on the right path when you veer off course.
- FIND A WAY OF LIVING YOUR PHILOSOPHY within your work. If your work is aligned with your values, you’ll find it satisfying. If it’s not, it will drain your energy. Work for a company whose corporate values align with yours. Part of the purpose of my company is to provide much-needed energy to the world. We are serving the communities in which we do business in a multitude of ways. We do so with a strong set of business principles and values, among which are integrity and respect for people. I feel good about working in an environment where diversity is respected and inclusiveness is a way of working.
- GIVE BACK. There have no doubt been people who have helped you (or will) along your career path. Return that help. Mentor and coach others—inside and outside of your own organization.