Leaders come in many forms, but if you’re a leader that sustains excellence, especially in this intensely competitive world we now live in, you probably have these three traits.
You’re not focused on matching and beating competitors. You have the ability and confidence to have an independent point of view and to challenge the assumptions underlying the world around you. You don’t think, just because everyone else is doing something, you should do it too. A lot of people tend to look at the competition, they worry about what everyone else is doing; they are reactive to what everyone does. Not you. You’re driven to create your own space in life. You focus on creating a quantum leap in value for buyers, and let the competition worry about you.
When you talk to people, you’re keenly focused on what you can learn, not on proving you’re right, or showing the person they’re wrong. You zoom in on, and seek to extract, the one piece of information you’re going to walk away with that will make you smarter, better, wiser. You have an insatiable desire to learn – to the point that you will get a notepad out and start taking notes. Some people who have done fairly well in life will think others are there to learn from them, which they often are. But you’re always looking for what you can learn. You lean into the conversation.
Finally, you have an enormous propensity for hard work. You don’t think greatness comes easily. You don’t take the longer road if there’s a smarter, shorter one, but you’re not necessarily looking for shortcuts. You know greatness comes at a price and you know you’re going to have to work for it.
Take Jeff Bezos. He has built a culture that aims to deliver overwhelming value and eliminate customers’ pain points when doing business with Amazon. Bezos is known, even today, to listen to customer complaints. He emphasizes the hard work that is needed day in and day out to build a great company. He’s been known to sweep the floors if necessary. He sits in on customer call centers to discover customers’ pain points and to make sure Amazon sets up processes to eliminate them. And his personal email is accessible so customers can voice their concerns directly to him.
In short, you’re prepared to work from the ground up and feel the heat.
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