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Women in business: the 7 ingredients of success


Donna Robertson everywomanPeople say if you’re going to succeed as a leader you need to surround yourself with successful people. Great leaders do this and seemingly with ease but how do you go about it and why are some people successful when others just seem to be constantly struggling?

A few weeks ago I look part in an online chat on the everywomanNetwork entitled Understanding Business Success and thought I’d take the opportunity to ask the expert how you ensure you recruit successful people. Her response: “in terms of traits, I would certainly look at whether the person has the mindset of the self directing professional i.e. one who takes responsible initiative. This is to say they take personal responsibility for creating their own success and managing their environment. This would also mean that they operate inter-dependently i.e. they recognise that they are part of a bigger picture and find ways to contribute to that success, rather than just achieving what they want.

The seven key skills are also essential (these include Questioning, Strategic Business Awareness, Time management, Managing your own learning, Managing your own career planning, and Negotiation) - with self-awareness being critical. Unless we understand ourselves, how are we to start understanding others and adapting our ways of communicating to relate to them better?”

In response to a further question she stated that successful people know their strengths and ensure they spend the majority of time on those activities, they also know their weaknesses and put actions in place to address them.

I thought the advice about looking for a self directing professional was brilliant, and bang on. One of the people I see as very successful, my mentor (running a successful and pretty big organisation) describes himself as a facilitator of change, someone that makes things happen, which he does - he’s definitely self-directing and looking at the bigger picture.

It’s often perceived that successful people are naturally gifted as they seem to do the ‘successful’ bit with ease but don’t be fooled. Most of them have had to work at it.  Excitingly the expert reinforced this as she said the seven key skills can be learnt and everyone has the potential to be successful; it’s all down taking charge of your own development and practice, practice, practice.

Importantly we must recognise and celebrate our success – something many women don’t do as we’re quite often dissecting the stuff that didn’t go so well, I’m a real culprit of that. I heard a great piece of advice the other night when I was at a RIBA event, and that was ‘Success only being about the big stuff is completely irrelevant’ so take the time to celebrate it all!