My client-count meter is rapidly heading to 6,000 now. As I reflect on my working with this pool of clients I have learned much from this experience. Not all my clients succeed in their endeavors, but they often emerge more effective in what they do as a result of following what I suggest to them as a course of action, behaviors, and habits. New learning results in changed behaviors, repeated practice of changed behaviors results in habits. Acquiring good habits require discipline, commitment, and learning to make adjustments to your routines. Change is at the heart of this process.
Some of clients manage to make the change only during the time they are engaged with me and once they achieve their objectives revert back to their old ways. But, many see the merit of long-term commitment to change and are able to translate their learning into habits that serve them throughout their professional life to make them effective at what they do. I purposely do not use the word “successful” in this context, primarily because it is often a personal and highly subjective assessment of the outcome. However, being effective is less so. In this blog I am listing my observations about clients whom I consider to have become effective in their pursuits:
- Clarity of objectives: Those who are able to reduce their objectives to clear statements of purpose are able to develop a course of action that makes it possible for them to achieve their goals more often than those who are not. A clearly articulated purpose statement reduces all the clutter and confusion around a course of action needed to get there.
- Taking a systems approach: Effective professionals understand the whole system in which they need to operate. They identify the various levels of “components” in their system and their interplay. They also understand the points of leverage (“fulcrum”) and how to wield their influence at the right points to effect the change they want to trigger.
- Shift of focus: Those who are after specific objectives often shift their focus from “me” to “them.” What this means is that whenever they are after someone to get help or champion their cause they first find why this person must accept their request and help them in the way they desire. This shift of focus requires a deep understanding of human nature and a commensurately high EQ (emotional intelligence). It also requires a high level of PQ (political intelligence).
- Attention to details: Over the years what I find is that those who succeed in achieving their objective often pay a high level of attention to detail to all their actions, e.g., writing effective emails, learning to communicate concisely and unambiguously, and not leaving anything to chance.
- Gratitude: This is yet another trait that I find in people who go on to achieving success in life. They show their gratitude to others that have given them help in a personal and specific way, even when such help is a paid professional service. This expression of gratitude redounds in their getting even more help that they otherwise would not get, making them even more effective in their endeavors.
This is just a partial list of habits that I observe in clients that go on to achieve great things in life. Anyone can adopt these practices and make them their habits. All it requires is having a mindset of a person who wants to become effective in their endeavors.