At Vistage, these leadership laws guide our organization’s members and leaders. As a CEO, you are in the business of making decisions and it’s the outcome of those decisions that define your success. So how do you rise to the challenge day after day, year over year?
This leadership path has been traveled by 100,000+ top performing business leaders for more than 65 years. It requires a daily climb, constant rigor and a lifelong commitment. But the journey is well worth the effort, for it will bring you to peaks you never thought possible.
These 7 fundamental truths are how world-class leaders and peak performers take their businesses — and their lives — to a whole new level:
1. Reject shortcuts
Great leaders pursue leadership excellence with the commitment of a world-class athlete. They know it’s a challenging, continuous journey that requires hard work and determined attention.
They reject shortcuts and take ownership of their development.
They bring rigor and grit, working hard to hone their expertise and committing their whole selves to continual improvement. They push themselves to learn more, grow further and reach higher elevations.
2. Create space to work on the business
Successful leaders routinely carve out time and space away from everyday business issues to reflect, acquire new knowledge and focus on strategy.
This discipline allows them to gain the clarity and perspective they need to navigate the day-to-day challenges while keeping their company on course for long-term success.
They fight the instinct to always be in “go” mode, forcing themselves to take time for thoughtful decisions.
3. Challenge your thinking with peer perspectives
You don’t have to climb alone. Travel with others on a similar journey up. Peak performers, high achievers, world-class leaders seek diverse perspectives on important decisions from trusted peers. They actively work to combat insular thinking and confirmation bias.
They find other CEOs and business leaders who’ve tackled similar issues but in different industries. These peers understand the nuances and challenges of the role but bring fresh perspectives, unhampered by institutional knowledge.
When a group of diverse leaders connect, this effect is amplified — especially if the forum is safe for open dialogue and candid feedback.
4. Stoke curiosity
World-class business leaders are high on curiosity and low on ego.
They are inquisitive, welcome new ideas from trusted sources and are eager to explore.
Vulnerability is viewed as an asset, and they are the first to admit they don’t have all the answers.
They ask questions to seek input and pressure-test their assumptions, so they can come to the best decision for the business — not to prove their own point.
5. Apply discipline to decision-making
Peak performers are disciplined. They follow a proven approach to decision making.
They use a systematic process that takes into account their instincts; judgment based on experience and data; and perspectives from peers, mentors and employees.
Applying this rigor helps them make more accurate decisions in less time … consistently.
6. Find a trusted guide
Successful leaders view a coach or mentor as a critical component to leadership excellence.
They value a trusted guide who challenges their assumptions, identifies their blind spots and holds them accountable.
The most effective coaches and mentors approach the CEO as a whole person, not just the leader at the top of the organization’s hierarchy.
Leaders who take a comprehensive approach to development that includes feedback from trusted peers, effective mentoring and insights from subject-matter experts continually outperform their competitors.
7. Rise by helping others
Great leaders aren’t just focused on their own decisions. They help others critically think through their challenges. In the process, they fine-tune their own decision-making skills.
By helping others make better decisions, a CEO or business owner also creates a positive impact on other companies and their communities. These high-integrity leaders leave a legacy that’s far-reaching and long-lasting.