Have you stopped by the airport newsstand recently? The section with advice books on leadership and self-help for entrepreneurs is overflowing. If the funny picture or the catchy title doesn't do it for you, how do you know whose advice to listen to?
With a million management books out there, how do you know which one will give you million-dollar advice?
Earlier this month I was with a group of global experts who regularly consult with the most successful entrepreneurs and leaders both in small growing businesses and Fortune 500 companies. We were preparing for the Million Dollar Consulting Convention, hosted by the rockstar of consulting himself, Alan Weiss, and I realized I had to ask everyone for their No. 1 piece of advice so that I could share it here.
Here is their collective wisdom on leadership actions that determine exceptional results:
1. Run through the tape.
"Remarkable leaders create acceleration and urgency among others that results in people who reach the finish line fast and then keep running. How fast are you running?"
--Alan Weiss, President, Summit Consulting Group
2. Take action! Underplan and overexecute.
"The most successful people start a lot. Stop trying to make it perfect. You'll never make it perfect. Rather, make it helpful, and send it out to your customers and prospects."
--Alex L. Goldfayn, CEO, Evangelist Marketing Institute
3. Follow me.
"Growing up in Israel and serving in the Israeli military, I learned that the most powerful leaders' mindset is that of having others follow them. Lead by example."
--Chad Barr, President, Chad Barr Consulting
4. Talk the walk.
"The finest leaders I've encountered know when to tell (direct) and when to ask (explore). They not only 'walk the talk,' they consistently talk the walk. Their communications inspire and create dominant organizations."
--Kim Wilkerson, Owner, Wilkerson Consulting Group
5. Know where you stand.
"The best leaders are more like Archimedes than Sisyphus. They make the most important decision--where must I stand for maximum leverage?"
--Constance Dierickx, President, CD Consulting Group
6. Get rid of your average.
"Top-performing leaders manage their teams to ensure 80 percent or more are hitting targets and poor performers are coached up or out quickly. To do this, they get rid of their average, not merely their underachieving. Their tolerance level is far below what most companies will endure. I call this 'Finding the best, removing the rest.'"
--Colleen Francis, President, Engage Selling Solutions
7. Stand out.
"They live their brand with passion and on purpose, whether it's popular or not. They are not afraid, and they consistently project their story."
--Karen Post, President, Brain Tattoo Branding
8. Full speed ahead.
"The best leaders are focused on speed so that they can pursue quick results in a series of sprints. They keep their people focused on short-term goals that are not only visible but exciting and valuable for both the business and its customers."
--Phil Symchych, President, SYMCO & CO
9. Challenge the ordinary.
"Great leaders make exceptional decisions and insist others do too."
--Linda Henman, President, Henman Performance Group
10. Be thoughtfully ruthless.
"Remarkable leaders know how to be ruthless, in a thoughtful way with their time, their energy, and their resources to generate energy and extra capacity, and to catapult their growth."
--Val Wright, President, Val Wright Consulting
Did you read through the list and nod your head? Or perhaps wince as you realized a shortcoming? We know many of these ideas in theory; it is easy to know what to do. The challenge is to get on and do it. Start by rating yourself against all 10 traits using the following criteria:
- Superpower: It comes naturally.
- Energy Zapper: I can do it, but it takes effort and deliberate attention.
- Danger Zone: Others do this much better.
Take credit for your superpowers, develop a plan to practice your energy zappers, and spend more time and attention to correct your danger zone areas. Outstanding leaders also are brilliant at demonstrating their brilliance: all 10 of these experts will be sharing their collective wisdom with 200 attendees at the Million Dollar Consulting Convention hosted by Alan Weiss. Where do you go to be inspired by top leaders in your field? Maybe the next Inc. GrowCo conference?