Leaders & Success
Molly Fletcher Studies The Best In Sports, Business
To reach the top, follow the steps of those who've made the trek. Molly Fletcher, a sports agent dubbed the female Jerry Maguire, did just that — going into the locker rooms and boardrooms of upper-echelon performers in sports and business to find their commonalities. One result is her book "The Business of Being the Best."
• Be yourself. Top performers are real. That's what Fletcher found with legends such as college basketball title coach Tom Izzo, Hall of Fame quarterback Roger Staubach, Home Depot (HD) founder Arthur Blank and Cy Young-winning pitcher John Smoltz. "Be authentic and anchor everything you do against that," she told IBD. "Being the best is about being you, but the very, very best you can be."
• Tune in. Top performers are "always looking to learn and ask questions," said Fletcher. "They want to pull anything they can out of every experience, conversation and interaction."
Ken Kam, CEO of Marketocracy, which identifies top-flight money managers, advises people to ask why good decisions worked out. "That's how opportunities for value are discovered. Too many people aren't curious, so they never ask those questions. They're too willing to accept the way things are. Successful companies are all about trying to improve, looking for the ways things could be made better," he said.
• Be courageous. Fletcher found the best performers aren't afraid to fail or take risks. They want the most responsibility in the most important situations. Then "they have the ability to focus on execution," she said, and come through.
• Know your purpose. The best "understand that activity doesn't equal execution or success. Proper execution is what equals success," Fletcher said.
• Embrace urgency. Top leaders, Fletcher says, have a solid sense of it. While they can create an environment of calm, "they're proactively doing what they need to do to be the best," she said.
• Be exacting. Heidi Grant Halvorson, an associate director for the Motivation Science Center at the Columbia University Business School, says successful people are specific about what they want to accomplish and plan in detail how they will do so. "Knowing (precisely) what you want to achieve keeps you motivated until you get there," Halvorson, author of "Succeed," wrote in a chapter in the book titled "Nine Things Successful People Do Differently."
• Develop grit. Top achievers are mentally prepared to overcome obstacles on the path to the top, says Halvorson.