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Key Habits for Success

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Several years ago, a newsletter called Early to Rise summarized six key habits for success in the business world:

  • Showing up on time
  • Paying close attention to assignments
  • Doing more than the required minimum
  • Struggling with difficult tasks
  • Organizing tasks by priorities


These habits are equally necessary today.  Customers and businesses need reliable workers who will be available at the agreed time. Here are my experiences with some of these key habits.

1.     Timeliness.

For many years, arriving on time has been a significant issue with me, partly because it measures commitment.  When someone walks in five minutes after the starting time, there is no debate whether the person failed to keep their commitment. Tardiness leaves no wiggle room. 

Once I was looking for a printer cartridge and didn’t want to drive another 20 minutes to a store that carried them.  Instead I stopped at a place that only sold cartridges. However, I found the store closed ten minutes early after I rushed to get there before 5:30.  The next morning I went back to the store only to find the owner unlocking the door 15 minutes after the announced opening time. While I bought a cartridge there, the owner probably had no idea why I never returned.

2.     Follow instructions.

How many times have we given detailed instructions to a builder or employee only to have them do something different? I asked someone to prepare a PowerPoint for me and gave detailed instructions about what I wanted on the slides. When I received the work back, the slides were different.  When I asked “Ken” what happened, he told me that he thought his ideas were better.  According to him, he made some changes to help.  While I’m open to discussion about a project, I don’t like my assignments altered without my agreement.  In this instance I had to have the work redone.

3.     Give above the minimum.

Also, most of us like workers who do more than the absolute minimum. When I see workers arrive early and are willing to stay later, this is a clear indication to me they’re willing to do more than the minimum. 

In our businesses I believe it is important to delight our customers rather than just satisfy them with the minimum. For example, I have an interest in a damage restoration business.  Currently, we are receiving all five-star reviews. I believe this is partly because we endeavor to do more than the minimum expected.  We strive to delight our customers.

4.     Persevere

We all struggle with difficult tasks that we stick with and work through. A few months ago, I was struggling to solve a problem that I couldn’t seem to fix. I kept going back to the challenge several times.  Finally, I found a reasonable solution. I could have easily placed it on the back burner and walked away. Unfortunately, that strategy doesn’t work very well.  After a while, back-burner problems boil over and cause more trouble in your business. Likewise, our customers expect us to stick with challenges, so they will be delighted.

Our businesses need our best.  Make it a priority in your business to practice these habits for success and see your business grow.

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