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10 Things Every CEO Needs to Do to Become a Success

10 Things Every CEO Needs to Do to Become a Success

What separates an über-successful CEO from an average one? It isn’t being super bottom-line focused or being a great salesperson (although those things don’t hurt). What elevates CEOs from so-so to stellar are the things you do to not just boost your own success but help your team grow, too.

When you commit to being a CEO who envisions and upholds a holistic growth plan for your company, employees, and yourself, it leads to success personally and professionally for everyone who touches the business.

How can you be a CEO who ups the game when it comes to creating this holistic-success mindset?

1. You must be mission-driven

A clear vision is critical to business success, but is your entire team on-board with that mission? And does that mission align with their own personal missions? It’s not as simple as saying ‘Here is what we need to do, now go do it.’ You must also define the why behind the action AND ensure that each individual employee has their personal ‘why’ defined as well. If they aren’t invested in where the company is going, they will stall and drag performance down with them.

ACTION STEP: Hold a Mission Workshop with your team to outline company vision and map out each invidual’s mission as well.

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2. You should create a culture

As a CEO, one of your jobs is to create and uphold a culture that differentiates your company. A culture is more than just a cool office, flexible work hours, and beer at 4:00 on Fridays. A culture is defined by the inherent values, energy, and actions that drive you and every team member to do their best work. It’s a comprehensive spectrum of factors including goals, benefits, environment, rewards, tasks, respect,and personality traits that create a culture. Each employee must fit into and value these elements or they will hold you back.

ACTION STEP: Do a comprehensive assessment of your company culture to identify where you are now, where you want to be and the gaps you need to close to get there—then implement them.

3. You need to be realistic

Many CEOs come on board with guns blazing, ready to rock the boat and change the game. However, with change comes stress. With change comes shifts in workload. With change comes different ideas on how to make it happen. This can create chaos in an organization. If you want to be a great CEO you will set realistic and achievable expectations that don’t burn out, frustrate, or overwork your team to ensure they are fully functioning and happy.

ACTION STEP: While you want to be strategic and vision-focused, you must also be aware of what is happening in the trenches. You were there once too. Care for your employees and they will give you massive returns.

4. You must manage stress

When you or your team are stressed out, it leads to sick days, reduced productivity, relationship problems, moodiness, and many other issues. Stress isn’t something to be taken lightly. It impacts health-insurance costs, innovation, employee turnover, and general engagement and happiness with your job. Successful CEOs know that not only do they have to manage their own stress at work and at home, but they MUST implement structured training, resources, and benefits for their employees, too. There is no one-size-fits-all stress solution so you need to customize resources for each employee.

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ACTION STEP: Work with a wellness coach or consultant (or identify someone within the company) to create a comprehensive stress-management program that is customizable to your team members.

5. You should customize benefits

As a smart CEO, you know benefits can’t fit every individual. Some people value pay and rewards while others value flexibility and freedom. Smart CEOs get to know their employees on a personal level to ensure they are offering benefits, rewards, and incentives that maximize what each person needs and wants in order to do a great job and bring their best to work every day.

ACTION STEP: Do a survey to really get to know what your team wants in terms of benefits. Then get creative in offering unique things to meet those needs.

6. You need to be flexible.

We don’t all work best in the same ways or at the same times. And while you do want to recruit and develop employees who fit the culture you envision for your company, you must also honor their individual work styles and needs. Some enjoy teamwork and others are more independent. Some are early risers while others are night owls. Like benefits or stress tools, creating a workplace that is flexible also requires customizing to each individual employees’ needs.

ACTION STEP: Instill in your management team the belief in flexibility so they can work with their employees to create schedules that work for them.

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7. You must set the right goals

CEOs are always setting and measuring goals. There is nothing worse than setting goals and having them stagnate and cause stress because you’re not making progress. When this happens it is usually because they weren’t set with the right guidelines in mind. A great goal should be gut-checked, obtainable, actionable, life-oriented, small, and supported. This goes for both personal and professional goals.

ACTION STEP: Work with an expert or coach who can help you create goals that fit your needs and hold you accountable along the way.

8. You should communicate clearly

A team in the dark is a team that can turn on you. When employees feel left behind, out of the loop, or out of control, they get stressed. Stress leads to lack of productivity, worry over job security, and even sabotage if they feel so much anxiety that they blame the company. As CEO, you must ensure you have a clear way of communicating changes, ideas, and company news that everyone can access. Plus be sure that your team has a way to communicate back to you.

ACTION STEP: Work with your HR or employee-relations team to create an open communication environment for your company.

9. You must listen well

When tough times hit a company, it’s not usually a blindside. Signs and indications were there long before it went bad. Listen to your team. Open your eyes to what is happening on the front lines. Have open dialogue with employees. Use what you learn to drive goals, actions, and changes for the success of the company, the team, and you.

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ACTION STEP: Be around. Don’t isolate yourself in meetings or your office all day. Hang out with your team to hear what is happening.

10. Don’t be a jerk

This should go without saying, but really, being a jerk never helped anyone. Many believe that being a success means being aggressive and plowing forward with your vision no matter who gets hurt in the process. But it is possible to lead well AND be nice at the same time. You don’t have to be too nice. You still need to hire and fire and discipline and create growth, but that doesn’t mean you have to be the CEO everyone hates or avoids.

ACTION STEP: Get in touch with your own goals and personality. Be honest with who you are and how people relate to you. Work on the areas in which you need improvement and your team will see you as even more of a role model.

Now it’s up to you to implement the above tips into your leadership strategy. This holistic way of approaching your business will not only create momentum in your own success but will help your team and company grow too.

Featured photo credit: Businessman looking at city via shutterstock.com

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Last Updated on January 13, 2020

50 Motivational Quotes for Work to Inspire Success

50 Motivational Quotes for Work to Inspire Success

Let’s face it – no matter how excited you are about a new project or priority in your life, there will always be days when your motivation lags. Days when – despite all the progress you’ve made in the past – it just sounds easier to sit on the couch playing video games than to buckle down and crank out the work needed to meet your goals.

In order to be successful, you must be able to motivate yourself past these humps. Whenever you feel your drive and determination lagging, turn to these motivational quotes for work to provide the extra spark of passion needed to keep you on track.

Quotes about Goal Setting

Whether you’re still in the planning phases of your business or whether you’re plotting a plan of attack to bring about your long-range vision, setting good goals is a critical part of succeeding in business.

Check out these quotes for extra inspiration on how to turn your dreams into reality:

quote-Benjamin-E.-Mays-the-tragedy-in-life-doesnt-lie-in-106113

    “The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.”– Benjamin Mays


    “By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands — your own.”–Mark Victor Hansen


    “Give yourself an even greater challenge than the one you are trying to master and you will develop the powers necessary to overcome the original difficulty.”–William J. Bennett – The Book of Virtues


    “The entrepreneur is essentially a visualizer and actualizer… He can visualize something, and when he visualizes it he sees exactly how to make it happen.”–Robert L. Schwartz

    Quotes about Achieving Excellence in Work

    Once you’ve got your goals together, you’ll need to put in 110% of your effort in order to transform these visions into reality. To increase your motivation to work at a consistently high level, take a look at the following words of wisdom:

    “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”–Aristotle


    “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”–Charles R. Swindoll

    Desire is the key to motivation

      “Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal — a commitment to excellence — that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”–Mario Andretti


      “The secret of joy in work is contained in one word – excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.”–Pearl Buck


      “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”–Vince Lombardi

      Quotes about Determination and Persistence

      Since every business or other endeavor is bound to hit some rough patches, it’s often a person’s level of determination and patience that brings about either success or failure. These positive quotes give you an extra boost of encouragement:

      “Enter every activity without giving mental recognition to the possibility of defeat. Concentrate on your strengths, instead of your weaknesses… on your powers, instead of your problems.”–Paul J. Meyer


      “Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.”–Hal Borland


      “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”–Calvin Coolidge

      quote-Thomas-Fuller-an-invincible-determination-can-accomplish-almost-anything-92190

        “An invincible determination can accomplish almost anything and in this lies the great distinction between great men and little men.”–Thomas Fuller

        Quotes about Leadership

        Whether you use it to engage your employees, to encourage teamwork or motivate others to follow your unique way of thinking, leadership is crucial. Take your leadership cues from these renowned leaders’ famous sayings:

        “The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born — that there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.” –Warren G. Bennis


        “All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.”–John Kenneth Galbraith

        Leadership is not magnetic personality

          “Leadership is not magnetic personality — that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not ‘making friends and influencing people’ — that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”–Peter F. Drucker


          “The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.”–John Buchan


          “High sentiments always win in the end. The leaders who offer blood, toil, tears and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.”–George Orwell

          Quotes for Success

          Think of success as a holistic process – one which results from the combination of goal-setting, excellence, patience, determination and leadership you prioritize throughout your career. These highly successful people provide you with an excellent source of motivation:

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          “Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.”–Stephen Covey


          “Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”–Norman Vincent Peale

          Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

            “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”–Winston Churchill


            “Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.”–John Maxwell


            “Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.”– Thomas J. Watson


            “The great successful men of the world have used their imagination.  They think ahead and create their mental picture in all its details, filling in here, adding a little there, altering this a bit and that a bit, but steadily building – steadily building.”–Robert Collier


            “It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it.”–Arnold Toynbee

            Sports Quotes for Athletes

            You don’t need to be a Michael Jordan-caliber athlete to draw inspiration from the following quotes. Even if you’re just a recreational player or someone who’s using sports as a means to get back in shape after long periods of inactivity, the following motivational sports quotes will encourage you:

            “My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.”–Michael Jordan


            “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”–Lance Armstrong

            Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths.

              “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”–Arnold Schwarzenegger


              “I know what I have to do, and I’m going to do whatever it takes. If I do it, I’ll come out a winner, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else does.”–Florence Griffith Joyner


              “Every time you stay out late; every time you sleep in; every time you miss a workout; every time you don’t give 100% – You make it that much easier for me to beat you.”–Unknown


              “If you are hurt, whether in mind or body, don’t nurse your bruises. Get up and light-heartedly, courageously, good temperedly get ready for the next encounter. This is the only way to take life – this is also ‘playing’ the game!”–Emily Post


              “We must train from the inside out. Using our strengths to attack and nullify any weaknesses. It’s not about denying a weakness may exist but about denying its right to persist.”–Vince McConnell

              Quotes to Motivate Learning

              Committing yourself to pursuing knowledge in a single area is a tremendous endeavor – one that often seems overwhelming given the depth and breadth of information that’s available today. Keep the following motivational quotes in mind if you’re learning:

              “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.”–George Washington Carver

              quote-William-Arthur-Ward-if-you-can-imagine-it-you-can-36189

                “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.”–William Arthur Ward


                “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”– Aristotle


                “Success is not the key to happiness.Happiness is the key to success.If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”–Albert Schweitzer


                “Wear your learning, like your watch, in a private pocket: and do not pull it out and strike it, merely to show that you have one.”–Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield


                “He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.”–Chinese Proverb


                “Study while others are sleeping; work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing; and dream while others are wishing.”–William Arthur Ward


                “Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled ‘This could change your life’.”–Helen Exley


                “A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.”–Chinese Proverb

                All-Time Favorite Positive Quotes

                Finally, whatever your goals are in life, you can’t go wrong by taking the advice of the following famous motivational quotes:

                “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”–Norman Vincent Peale


                “Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drowned your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”–Steve Jobs


                “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”–Maria Robinson


                “Out of clutter, find Simplicity. From discord, find Harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies Opportunity.”–Albert Einstein


                “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”–Lyndon Johnson

                If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.

                  “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.”–Thomas Edison


                  “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”–Wayne Gretzky


                  “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”–Winston Churchill


                  “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”–Ralph Waldo Emerson

                  Final Thoughts

                  To use these motivational quotes effectively, find the one that speaks to you. Although all of the phrases listed above can be considered “motivational,” only you can decide which one resonates with you most directly.

                  Next, take the quote you’ve settled on and copy it onto small index cards or other pieces of paper that can be stored around your home and workspace.

                  If you’re creative, you can create inspiration boards, signs or other decorative displays featuring your favorite motivational quotes – really, though, the most important thing is that your chosen phrase be accessible in a variety of different places. This will make it easy to access and review whenever you feel your motivation slipping away.

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                  Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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