Success & Failure Attributes In People – Part I


We’ve organized a list of five critical attributes we have seen demonstrated and repeated among the top achievers and leaders that we have been able to work with over these many years. These are the traits that reoccur consistently in people that succeed. These are the traits leaders should look for when building or adding to their teams.

We strongly recommend that you review these and consider them, as we have. For next week’s blog we’ll review another five-item list of some characteristics we have found that severely limit people. These are some of the attributes that will very likely make a person a liability on your team. You have seen them all before, but they are worth reviewing.

Here are some of the attributes shared among the top performers we have had the opportunity to know and learn from. You know the kinds of people I am talking about—those people who constantly transcend their positions to influence the rest of us. The performers who can always focus, can always “will” the proper outcome and who always seem to land on their feet. These people make up a critical minority in any company, and we all benefit from their effort and example.

It’s important to have role models in any organization. They help the rest of us to see ourselves crashing through the same walls and leaping the same tall buildings. Businesses need heroes too!


Five attributes of top business performers:

1. They are results-oriented. They consider performance a part of their personality. These people are infatuated with what works. Most top achievers spend a little time discovering what will allow them to succeed and lots of time doing those things, rather than the other way around. They love how reliable the fundamentals are in business. They love being surrounded by other people who know how to make success easy by paying attention to what works. They want to be recognized as reliable performers and respond positively to challenges.

2. They are tough. For some reason, “toughness” does not get mentioned much when success characteristics are discussed. Make no mistake; achievers are tough as nails. Top performers must work through and around their circumstances. Their lives have the same challenges as anybody else’s; they are just driven more by their mission than by their mood. One of the things from which I benefited when I started in business was a total lack of self-deception. My manager went out of his way to explain that success in business (and especially in direct sales where I started) is not easy and certainly not for the weak of resolve. He was right.

3. They have a long-term perspective. Top performers do not judge their success or failure with short-term measurements. Short-term metrics are just not reliable for making important decision or key adjustments. They know that they can become very successful by becoming truly excellent at a few disciplines. The great news is that the disciplines you must learn to be successful in a business environment are the very same disciplines (goal setting, ethical behavior, active listening, mental toughness, continued self-improvement, hard work, results orientation, etc.) which will help them in all the other aspects of their lives as well.

4. They have an entrepreneurial approach to their work. They are in business for themselves, but not by themselves. They really are their own brand. They realize that in order to have a positive impact on their organizations they must often be able to motivate themselves and operate independent of others. Top performers are essentially running their own personal service corporations. Most very successful people have this kind of entrepreneurial mindset even if they are not actually entrepreneurs. They know what they want to be known for and strive to live up to their own unique expectations.

5. They have decided to make a difference through their work. They put a heavy value on their personal brand. They don’t just work through the week to get to the weekend. These people clearly feel they have a mission (regardless of their position) and understand where their individual success fits into the overall company’s success. Representing a quality organization and doing quality work gives them a wonderful opportunity to serve.

Stay tuned for the 2nd part of this post next week! 


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