Six Words for Leadership and Business Success

goal setting workshopSuccess

A whole industry has sprung up around helping leaders and businesses get things done, make it happen, and be more successful. It is possible to spend thousands, even millions, of dollars getting advice from these consulting firms, gurus, and experts.

Much of this advice is complex and difficult to understand. While this might help the consulting firm polish its reputation as a thought leader, it does little to help us put the advice into action today, tomorrow, and the day after.

It is only by boiling down all the talk, the lectures, the PowerPoint presentations, the white papers, and the psycho – babble to the following six words that we can become more successful. By keeping these six words front of mind each and every day through all of our meetings, conversations, projects, directives, and E-Mails, we can change what we do each and every day.

And we can get things done, make it happen and be more successful.


The Six Words (we need to keep front of mind):


 1. Simple: Business is overwhelmed with complexity. As leaders, we must streamline that complexity down into a few, simple points and tasks that can then be easily understood and completed. What is the absolutely simplest and easiest way that my team and I can get the job done well? As General Colin Powell said:

Great leaders are almost always great simplifiers, who can cut through argument, debate and doubt to offer a solution everybody can understand.


2. Clear: Likewise, business leaders are assaulted by confusing, abstract, and vague communications. As leaders, we need to be sure that what we say or do is clear, concrete and straightforward. As Marcus Buckingham said:

Effective leaders don’t have to be passionate. They don’t have to be charming. They don’t have to be brilliant. They don’t have to be great speakers. What they must be is clear.


3. Important: Business leaders are bombarded by messages, information and distraction. We need to cut through all the noise and hype and focus ourselves relentlessly on the most important task.  What’s Important Now?  To keep the focus on the important, the military speaks of Commander’s Intent:

Commander’s Intent is the one most important thing that if accomplished will make today a successful day.


4. Actionable: Thoughts and words are all well and good. But, nothing happens until someone takes action and does something. So, we need to look at everything that we do, every call that we are on, and every E-Mail that we receive, and think about the action that we need to take to complete what needs to be completed. As productivity guru, David Allen, suggests, we need to constantly think and be focused on…

What’s the next action?


5. Speed: As in most sports, nothing replaces speed. Whatever needs to be done, we need to get it done now; get it finished (even if it is not perfect); get it off of our plate; and move on the next task. Immediate and fast action and avoiding all procrastination is good for our success (while helping to reduce our stress and anxiety from procrastination). As the Facebook motto says:

Done is better than perfect.


6. Consistent: Finally, and most importantly, we need to be consistent in focusing on simple, clear, important, actionable, and speed. Success is not won in one day, one week, or one month. Success comes from being consistent in moving forward, getting the right things done, and improving our business each and every day. To quote that well-known philosopher, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson:

Success isn’t always about ‘greatness’, it’s about consistency. Consistent, hard work gains success. Greatness will come… Success isn’t overnight. It’s when every day you get a little better than the day before. It all adds up.


So, please, let’s go ahead, engrain these six words in our heads and use them in everything that we do. And good luck to us in becoming successful.



About David Shedd

David has been a President - CEO - COO of an up to $350M group of manufacturing, distribution, specialty retail and services companies, having led 22 different businesses from turnarounds to start-ups to fast growth companies.
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