4 Uncomplicated Habits of Top CEOs

Oh great. Another article on ‘how to be a great CEO.’ It seems like every day I see another article come across my feed or land in my inbox that has the title “Blah, Blah, Blah Habits of Top CEOs.” I’m pretty tired of them and usually ignore them.

What each article says in its unique way can usually be summed up with this:

“Work your tail off and surround yourself with great people. And don’t quit.”

I’ve been fortunate enough to work with some pretty amazing people over the past several years. Here’s my take on what habits you need to make a priority in your life if you want to be a top dog butt-kickin’ CEO.

habits of top ceo's1. Hit One Nail

We are a very distracted bunch of people. Some studies say a goldfish has a longer attention span than an adult. Too much distraction = nothing gets done.

Imagine building a house. You start hitting a nail in and then see another piece of wood across the room that also needs to be nailed in. You stop pounding the first nail and run to the other. This one barely gets started and you’re off to the next. By days end you’re tired and stressed because nothing got done. This is not only inefficient, but it’s stupid.

Pick one nail. Hit it over and over until it’s sunk…then, give it another whack for good measure.

Top CEOs focus and finish.

2. Violently Protect Your Time

I was a guest for a board meeting a few years ago and there was a billionaire at the table. Someone asked him to volunteer one more day for a non-profit organization. It was a well-intended question and seemed harmless to me.

Then the hammer fell.

As soon as the question was asked, the billionaire said “Absolutely not.”

I remember noticing all 12 people at the table kind of ‘perking up a bit’ because it was such a strong response.  Then, he went on to say, “In 2012 there were 272 working days. After my family vacations I had 244 days left to get stuff done. I spent 31 days on this non-profit which equates to 13% of my working time. I don’t have one more day.”

The big lesson learned that day for the MOTORdude?

It doesn’t matter what his answer was…I was impressed by how well he knew where he spent his time.

I call this M. D. T. or Million Dollar Time. Your time is worth a lot. Protect it.

3. Hand out Pink Slips

I’m not talking about going around your company and firing people, event though that may be needed from time to time. Distraction Moment: I once got fired from a church. Impress me and finish this article before you click away…

The pink slips that need to be handed out are the ones you should be giving your fears. We all have fears. Fear messes with our minds and screws up the realization of our dreams.

I rode the short bus as a kid for two years.

This was one thing that led me to believe I was stupid. I did horrible in school and barely finished high school. I tried college and dropped out. Through a series of events and conversations in my 30’s I came to realize I wasn’t stupid. I made some changes and ran toward my fears (quit dead-end jobs, started a business, left a business, began writing, coaching and speaking to certain types of groups, etc).

As CEO of You, Inc. it’s time to pink slip your fears. Fire them. This is Your organization and you get to say who and what stays and who and what goes.

When you attack your fears they don’t exist long enough to grow bigger and stronger. The longer you wait the stronger they get.

What are your fears? Speaking? The math of your business? Asking for the order? Having hard talks with people?

Strong CEO’s have fears and they kick the crap out of them.

4. Build a Strong You

Your organization will only grow as strong as you grow as the leader. It will take on your personality, your strengths and weaknesses.

In order to be strong personally you must make it a priority in your life. That means eating right, lifting your soft ass off the couch and swinging a kettlebell as well as doing things like reading, joining mastermind or coaching groups or hiring a coach.

If you want to be strong you need to do it on purpose. Powerlifters don’t get strong by accident. It takes years of implementing strong habits.

My simple suggestion for building a stronger you (physically & mentally) is to Embrace Resistance. You may click away now if you’d like since we’re so close to the end.

That’s my take on ‘how to be a top CEO’ that makes good things happen. Work on developing these 4 areas and see what happens.


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