The Skills to Succeed in Business

When it comes to succeeding in business, you don’t necessarily need to be as multifaceted as a swiss army knife. Mark Davies what he thinks are the top five traits needed to succeed in business.

businessman in suit jumping in field and holding the bagA colleague of mine recently asked for my opinion on ‘What qualities do you need to succeed in business?’. This conversation came from the launch of BBC’s ‘The Apprentice’ in which one of the participants described himself as ‘Swiss Army knife’ of the business world. My colleague questioned whether one needed to be as multifaceted as a Swiss army knife to succeed.

I’ll pass over the obvious points of finding the right job, in the right firm for you. Of course if you are a bookish introvert a job in sales may not be right for you. Even the five general character traits I’m about to mention are not always absolutely necessary. As you read through this list I will be surprised if you don’t identify successful business leaders who score low on these attributes.

The five character traits I’ve chosen are;

Discipline. I believe it’s vital that one sets out with the strength of purpose towards a clear goal, and sticks to this purpose. This is easier said than done; setting out plans and then executing them in a remorseless way is really tough.

Communication. I think most really good business leaders are able to tell a story to a broad group of people; and through that story and that vision, they help those people towards common goals. Often, and just as importantly, communications can be much more prosaic, for example simply telling people what you are up to.

Reinvention. The business world is constantly changing and so it’s vital that one grows and develops with it. I think that in the modern world a person can do a job for three years before they need to radically change. This is a radical change from the world of 30 years ago; the pace of change is now relentless, and we all need to move with it and stay relevant.

Drive. In your business life you will be constantly beset by problems and challenges. These may be work related or personal. To succeed you need drive, resilience and enthusiasm to keep overcoming fresh and increasingly difficult problems.

Intelligence. Finally, of course people need a decent brain. You don’t need to be top of the class. I’m not here talking about academic intelligence. The brain needed in business is a combination of social skills, common sense and good native intelligence.

I think with this combination of character traits most people will succeed at some level in the business life. This is the reason why so many people find business life fascinating; business provides the opportunity to display a broad range of skills.

– Mark Davies

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