10 Tips for Becoming a Successful Executive

10 Tips for Becoming a Successful Executive

Here is your problem.

You are an executive. You have worked hard and know you deserve to be in your current executive position. But your teams are failing and you are not sure why.

You need some quick tips to turn things. These 10 tips help you become a successful executive.

Be sure to commit to performing these tasks on a daily basis!

10. Check emails once a day

Engagement in emails leads to more and more engagement.

Stop the madness before you get caught answering emails, starting a chain reaction that leads to 0% productivity, 

Check your emails once a day either when you first arrive or the hour before lunch.

9. Stop using the word “but” in communications

Oddly, one of the very first lessons taught in Disney’s guest service training program is, “Never say ‘but’ because it indicates a negative statement.”

Now, as an executive, that advice is still relevant for an additional reason. Read this next sentence and see if you can tell why:

  • “So far, we have come a long way as a team, but there is still more we can do to succeed.”

Even though the sentence is trying to communicate something positive, usage of the word “but” negates the first half of the sentence. Try this instead:

  • “So far, we have come a long way and we still can do more to succeed.”

The two sentences have two dynamics all because of one word.

8. Set busy time on your calendar

You need time to get things done.

If meetings are leaving you too tired to be productive, watch what happens to you when you make time for yourself to get work done. Set busy time in your calendar.

You start to learn quickly what meetings are important and when they should be scheduled or canceled.

7. Be nice

It sounds so simple, yet so many leaders struggle with how to be nice and when. Try these guidelines:

  • Kindness
  • Humility
  • Fairness
  • Praise success
  • Express compassion when addressing a failure

We live in a different world. Cruel leadership can come under serious scrutiny in social media, leading to costly public relations issues and “apology tours”.

Avoid all that mess. Be nice.  

6. Take time to see the bigger picture

Get your hands dirty once in a while. Do not be a toxic “absentee leader” that presents orders and disappears.

Getting yourself involved in everyone’s work for a time builds trust in your organization.

As an executive, it also gives you a sense of the bigger picture ie. who and how your decisions affect everyone and the business.

5. Create contingency plans

Business plans are based on using past and present data to make future plans.

Making one plan is putting all your eggs in one basket.

Instead, make several plans for the best of times and the worst of times.  

Consider what happens if you have a great month and consider what happens if you have a terrible month. Investigate and analyze what drives your business and what does not.

4. Maintain a regimen of proper health and personal care

Many years ago, my stepmom worked as a senior executive for the global financial services firm, Lehman Brothers.

Monday through Friday, she left work at 6 am every day. She came home by 6 pm. She ate dinner, watched her favorite TV show, and went to bed at 8:30 pm.

On Saturdays, she had a spa appointment at 11 am and got her hair and nails done. On Sunday, she played golf and went to church in the afternoon.  

She did this for nearly 25 years and was able to retire at age 57 in good health.

And she worked her tail off in the process. She never would have been able to work as hard as she did, if her work regimen was unhealthy.

3. Create pre-work ritual

Jumping from the car into the office chair is unsettling. It never gives you the time to disconnect from your commute.

Your day seems longer because you never stopped to collect your thoughts before working.

Your work day should not feel like a triathlon that started with your commute and ended when you got home.

When you get to the office, get some water, think about how the day should go, and relax until start time.

2. Never work while in bed

Connectivity is great, but not at the expense of productivity.

Using your phone in bed to do work steals time from your sleep.

It also leads to poor decision-making.

1. Create and nurture positive relationships and let go of negative relationships

Waking up every day with that attitude of, “I will conquer the world!” requires nurturing relationships that help you feel powerful.

Unfortunately, many hold onto negative relationships in the hopes they can one day fix them. But if a negative relationship is stealing from your positive relationships or attitude, cut it loose.

Do not fall into the relationship trap of forgiving negativity one day because tomorrow it will be positive again. These relationships are roller coaster rides that distract from progress and mental health.

Some relationships continue for far too long because we forget why they are bad over the weekend.

Instead, nurture the full-time positive relationships by putting your energy and dedication into relationships that progress with career growth.

Above all, remember not all relationships are meant to last a lifetime. There are times when people simply outgrow each other. The relationship started with a purpose and that purpose is now finished.

You can stay connected. Just stop trying to revive a positive energy that has clearly ended.

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