I recently held a workshop for a group of owners who are members of the Entrepreneurs Organization.

While these people have all experienced a high level of success in their lives, despite their successes, they were concerned that they were not achieving enough of their goals. As a result, they asked me to create a custom program that would help them achieve more of their goals.

Part of my program development process is to learn about the participants. Although these owners’ businesses are based outside the U.S., it was obvious that their challenges were no different from those faced by most successful U.S. executives I know. It also was clear to me that they needed to develop some common habits that would help them feel and be more successful if they made them part of their daily regimen.

This article summarizes those habits for greater success.

Change Your Attitudes. Belief systems lead to actions which cause results. If you or your people behave in ways that are counter-productive, or do not support your primary goals, then it is imperative that you identify the belief systems that cause that behavior. For example, let’s say you decide you want to exercise 3 days a week to achieve your goal of better health. However, your primary belief system is that exercise is boring and painful. What do you think the chances are that “exercise 3 days a week” will happen? In order to cause the behavior, you will need to replace your primary belief system with something that will have you excited with going to do the exercise.

Commit To Your Decisions. Many executives are good at making decisions but not so good at making commitments. The problem is that most goals/decisions are the equivalent of “I will try,” and that typically spells death to the likelihood of everyone doing whatever it takes to achieve them. If you were to make every goal/decision in your company mandatory, how would behavior change? How would your decision process change? Make the shift to mandatory, and see how behavior and, more importantly, results change.

Give and Keep Your Word. To keep your word, you have to give it. People who keep their word consistently create power and focus in their lives. Together, power and focus provide the ability to be more effective in shaping events and circumstances. Effectiveness, in turn, enhances our feelings of well-being. The better we feel, the more successful we become.

Many times it is better to say “no” to a request than to say “I’ll try” or “I’ll think about it” in order not to hurt someone else’s feelings. The “maybe” answer causes the other person to keep coming back for more false hopes. Neither party feels comfortable in the long term. Similarly, people say “yes” because they want to please others, yet they are not in a position to deliver properly on their yes. In both these instances, all the players feel bad. This in turn has a long-term effect on success achievement.

Know Where Your Time Goes. As careers progress, many of us have found that we control less and less of our own time. After meeting our various business and family “must-do” responsibilities, we are lucky if we actually have 20% of our time left to our own devices. This is the time we have left for value-added activities to truly contribute to our business organizations, for personal travel, community activities, extended family interaction, and “me-time” that make us feel productive and happy.

In an average week, a highly productive person typically has 119 waking hours, of which they control only 23 hours or 3 per day (personal and work). So we have two choices: try to increase the amount of time we control, or make the 3 hours per day more productive. Before we can do either, we must find out where the time is going now. At least once every six months, executives should track their time to see where it goes. If you want to get the most out of this exercise, contact me about the form I have for my clients to use and the things I have them look for.

Plan Your Time. Time has many of the attributes of money. If used wisely it can bring you much satisfaction, or it can be wasted away. Unlike money, time is finite – once you lose it, you cannot get it back. Moreover, it appears that there is always more to do than time in which to do it. This makes time precious. Just like money, the better we plan its use, the more likely we are to use it wisely and to maximize our returns on investment.

Those who plan time use get more of the right things done and have a greater sense of satisfaction. This happens because they have a greater sense of what they should be doing, make sure they do it, and are able to know where their gaps are. Those who do not plan have excess stress because they never quite figure out if they spent their time well or not.

Focus on Energy vs. Hours. In the Power of Full Engagement, Jim Loehr and Tony Schwartz remind that there are certain times of the day when each of us is more productive. Some of us are “early birds” and some “night owls.” We each have our own cycles. We also have to give ourselves breaks and eat at regular intervals to keep ourselves at peak production. Failure to do so causes us to not produce our best work and can cause executives to burn-out unnecessarily.

There are a lot of great habits to implement in this article and hopefully you practice some of them. I recommend that you pick at least one a month to work on perfecting. Follow my blog on http://activategroupinc.wordpress.com as I will be expanding on each of these.

Howard Shore is a business growth expert that works with companies and people that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving motivation. To learn more about him or his firm please contact Howard Shore at (305) 722-7213 or [email protected].

Executive Coaching, Time Management

About Howard M. Shore

Howard M. Shore is a Certified Gazelles Coach, Certified Public Accountant Certified Executive Coach, Certified Behavioral Analyst, Certified Values Analyst, and Certified Attributes Index Analyst. He has earned Bachelor and MBA degrees from Florida International University, and completed advanced executive programs at Harvard Law School and the University of Chicago.