In studying many of the world’s greatest leaders, I have found a series of 4 common behaviors that drive each of them on a daily basis. Whether a political leader, business leader, or a leader in the world of celebrity – Hollywood, or sports – great leaders display and demonstrate these behaviors on a consistent basis…daily. What makes this all the more interesting is that all 4 of these things take place between 4 – 6 am! That’s right. Great leaders are up and engaged well before the sun rises. So what do all great leaders from Steve Jobs and George W. Bush, to Lou Gerstner and Bill Clinton have in common? Here they are:
- Early risers. Great leaders start their day early. Many at 4 am. They realize that by the time the rest of the world awakens they need to be ready to engage immediately. Waking up early is the first step in their high-performance process.
- Exercise. Many great leaders start their day by hitting the gym, getting a run in, a SPIN class, or yoga. They understand that taking care of their bodies allow them to endure the stress and strain of their daily responsibilities. The beauty of exercise beyond the obvious benefits is the release of endorphins. This chemical reaction that takes place when exercising is what causes a “runners high” and overall great feeling of accomplishment when you’re done exercising that lasts well into the day.
- News. A quick scan of the news is a common behavior shared by great leaders. Not to get bogged down in the details but to have a high level understanding of what’s going on around them and how certain news may impact their business, customers, employees, etc. There are a variety of apps available today that help gather news and put it in a format that allows the reader to view it quickly and efficiently. Applications like Zite, Flipboard, and Pulse are known as personalized digital newspapers. You select the general topics you want to be informed about and the application scours the internet for news on those specific topics, gathers it, and puts it into your digital newspaper.
- Self-reflection. Perhaps one of the most powerful performance enhancing activities is self-reflection. Start each day with 15 minutes of self-reflection. A time when you can take an introspective look at yourself, where you are, what you’ve done, what you’re doing, and where you’re headed. If the activities you are currently doing are not aligned with where you’re heading, through self-reflection you can identify this disconnect quickly and make a course correction. Self-reflection allows you to keep to your True North.
Try adding these behaviors to your daily routine for 3 weeks and see what differences you notice. For something to become a habit you must do it 21 times. One idea is to get a calendar and cross off each day…a countdown of sorts. It will help you adjust and acclimate to this new performance enhancing ritual. Let me know what you think.
“A manager is responsible for the application and performance of knowledge.” – Peter Drucker