Identifying the winners in your team

Results from a series of interviews of leading edge accounting firms show that there are ten important characteristics of successful people. You can use these for assessing staff. On a scale of 1-10, you should be looking for 7 or higher.

  • 1. Committing to written goals for performance, and not settling for anything less than achieving those goals.

These people believe they control their destiny and keep accepting greater goals each year.

  • 2. Helping others when they are struggling.

These people realise that some are more skilled or experienced than others, and provide coaching, training, mentoring, and support to those in need of help.

  • 3. Having a positive attitude.

This doesn’t mean always agreeing with others. These people realise there are only so many hours in the day and try to achieve as much as they can in them without becoming discouraged. They can always see something positive, even in a seemingly impossible situation, and tend to inspire others to excel.

  • 4. Putting in the extra hours.

These people realise that what happens between 9.00am and 5.00pm is just survival. Progress is made before 9.00, after 5.00, and at weekends! To keep moving forward you need to invest 10-15 hours a week in advancing beyond your existing skills and knowledge base.

  • 5. Acting and thinking like an owner.

These people internalise the firm’s problems and try to come up with solutions. They also tend to bring matters to the attention of the management, regardless of whether or not they are popular.

  • 6. Working when others don’t know you are.

These people don’t show up only when they will be noticed, but work when necessary because they are focused on the job. They know the importance of discipline and focus.

  • 7. Knowing that little things do count.

These people know that even the smallest improvement in margins can bring results.

  • 8. Valuing feedback.

Whether it is a constructive confrontation, suggestions for improvement, or an expression of gratitude, these people are always willing to listen to others.

  • 9. Having a tough inner lining.

These people can handle attacks, adversity, and so forth with equanimity. They are not afraid to work when they are sick or distressed; and they would rather follow their passion for success than take the most convenient route.

  • 10. Thinking ‘firm profit’.

These people realise profit is the lifeblood of the firm and constantly monitor their performance by asking, ‘Is this activity earning profits for the firm?’.

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