20 Points For Success – Part Two of Four

We are in the middle of hearing about my “20 Points for Success,” and I addressed the first 5 in my last post.  More will follow in the upcoming weeks, and I hope you find them both interesting and useful as you consider what it most important to you as a professional. Some are reminders, while others can be seen as a call to action for you and your team members.

Here are numbers 6 through 10:

6. Demonstrate Personal Accountability

When you get an action or are given a responsibility – your leaders will rightfully hold you ACCOUNTABLE for it. This is similar to my Follow-up point from the previous blog, but this emphasizes the importance of being held to account for your actions.  There will be times that you will have to depend on others for help or input or other support to complete the action, but you must appreciate that regardless of all that – in the end, you are accountable.  You can’t walk away and point the finger at someone else who failed you – it was yours to do.  So, you will need to muster all your personal and professional skills and use them to get the support you need to be successful.  This is often quite a challenge. Work to be the kind of colleague that others want to support and help succeed.  Help others, and they will, in all likelihood, be there for you.

7. Work Hard

I guess this should go without saying, but here it is anyway.  The work we do is not always a pleasure cruise – sometimes it’s fun and energizing, but sometimes it’s just hard work.  Be grateful when you work in an environment that notices hard work and recognizes when that extra effort is applied. You can’t shy away from hard work – you are compensated for the work you do, so always give it 100% effort, and you will never be faulted. Remember the wise words of the baseball manager in the movie A League of Their Own, “…if it were easy, everyone would do it.”

8. Show a Sense of Urgency

We have to maintain a healthy sense of urgency about our work. This not only keeps the interest high and the adrenaline flowing – it demonstrates our level of concern for the mission at hand.  Nothing is more painful to watch than a staff member “half-stepping” his or her way through the day.  Most people can spot it in a minute, and those who are pumping along will come to resent those who take on work like it was a virus.  Get your work done as quickly as you can and show everyone that you care about the task entrusted to you. That pep in your step is another discriminator that separates you from everyone else.  When you have a mission to accomplish, just do it!

9. Foster Personal Discipline 

Be professional. Be on time, be prompt for meetings, dress properly, be prepared wherever you go and don’t do anything to embarrass yourself or the company and the people you represent.  More and more emphasis is placed on this trait these days, maybe because it seems to be in shorter supply than in the past.  Strive to be the kind of person that others will look up to.  Set the bar high for yourself, and you will never regret the reaction you get from others or the improved results you derive from within.  When you demonstrate a high degree of personal discipline, you can expect to see it in those around you, too.

10. Lead by Example and Follow Well and Faithfully 

You don’t have to be in a leadership position to be a leader. The best leaders lead by example.  Everyone watches everyone, so be certain what you are demonstrating is what you really want to portray – a capable, confident professional who does his job to the best of his ability – all day, every day.  The military has long had an axiom that you are “on parade 24 hours a day.”  Remember that and act accordingly.  Take charge when you must, and do so with confidence – don’t be surprised when others follow you.  They will.  Learn how to be a good follower, too.  Everyone has a boss, and our roles as followers can make or break our leaders and affect the overall success of the entire organization. Good followers tend to grow into good leaders because they understand the other side of the equation.  Followership is more than taking orders and doing what you are told.  It’s adhering to norms, being part of the team, and encouraging others to join in the undertaking to achieve a goal.

Coming up in the next article are points number 11-15.  Stay tuned!

Dave served a full 22-year career as an Army officer and followed that with more than 2 decades as a senior executive in several consulting firms in the Northern Virginia area. He has managed and led thousands of soldiers, Army civilians, and private sector employees in more than 43 years in leadership positions. He speaks and writes about leadership, relationship management, career transition, and keys to success.  READ MORE

David S. Maurer

Lieutenant Colonel, USA (Ret.) , Project Management Professional (PMP)



Books By Dave

Watering Rocks - How to Fail and Succeed as a Leader - Book by David S. Maurer
Leadership Essentials - How to Lead with Passion, Pride and Purpose - Book by David S. Maurer