The Advisor

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Tips from the Top: 7 things great CEOs do to drive success

By Jess Chapman, ethree Consulting Inc.



As business leaders, we need to take time out to reflect on how we might be helping or hindering the success of our business. Fortunately, we can learn from many leaders who have gone before us! So here are some thoughts from some amazing CEOs that might help you develop habits that support success.

  1. Believe. From Henry Ford, who said “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right,” to Mary Kay Ash, who said “What you believe . . . you can achieve,” self-belief is critical to leading a business. Whatever you need to do to conquer doubts and be confident, do it. No one ever won a race by imagining coming second.

  2. Champion your vision. If you want success, build a vision. As Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, said, “Chase the vision, not the money; the money will end up following you.” Take the time to set your vision and bang your drum. As Emily Bland, CEO of SucSeed and Satchu prize winner, reminds us, “You have to be the biggest champion of your vision, if you don’t believe in what you are doing you can’t expect anyone else to.”

  3. Wear the right hats, not the “like” hats. There are many hats to wear as a business owner. Michael Dell, CEO of Dell Computers, has a great reminder: “I like to do things that cause the company to succeed. I don’t spend a lot of time doing my favourite activities.” Being a successful CEO means doing what is right for the business, not just what you like. Where are you spending your time and why?

  4. Get a grip on your numbers. For many of us, dealing with the numbers is challenging, but as Bob Parsons, founder of GoDaddy says, “Anything that is measured and watched, improves.” Identify your main success measures, including financials, and report on them regularly so you know how your business is doing.

  5. Own it . . . If you’re at the top, then the buck stops with you. Great CEOs know that if things aren’t working, then they look first in the mirror and make changes where needed: “A man must be big enough to admit his mistakes, smart enough to profit from them, and strong enough to correct them” (John C. Maxwell, CEO of The John Maxwell Company).

  6. . . . And then grow from it. Some of the greatest businesses were built on the back of mistakes. As Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group, says, “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing and falling over.” The trick is to recognize failures quickly so you can adapt. Asking what you learned from a mistake or failure is key.

  7. Never stop learning. Growth doesn’t come when you’re comfortable. As Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, said, “I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that’s how you grow.” Telelink co-CEO Cindy Roma agrees: “We spend a tremendous amount of time educating ourselves. It is a huge part of our budget. You expose yourself to new opportunities. It’s about having a mindset that is curious.” What’s the one step out of your comfort zone that you can take to grow

Great tips from the top! Which one can you focus on to build a habit for success? It takes 52 days to build a habit, so pick one and focus on it for the next couple of months and see what you achieve in your business!


For more support and coaching on growing your business, connect with us at contact@ethree.ca.


Jess Chapman, ethree Consulting Inc.

At ethree we believe that successful business is all about people and relationships, and so the better you and your people perform, the better your business performs. We help organizations build their people and handle the “tough people stuff” so that they can drive profitable growth and create amazing work environments where people are engaged, enabled, and empowered (hence our name!). We provide training, coaching, and advisory services to organizations of all shapes and sizes, from solopreneurs looking to grow their businesses to multinational corporations driving large-scale change. We pride ourselves on the breadth and depth of our expertise and our collaborative approach. Our clients will tell you that we are their trusted go-to experts and we feel like part of their team. Get in touch to see how we can help you.