Royston GuestRoyston GuestMarch 9, 2018


Royston Guest is a global authority on growing businesses and unlocking people potential. He is CEO of Pti-Worldwide, the author of best-selling business growth book, Built to Grow, and will be a guest speaker at the upcoming CXM Club meeting in Northampton on April 17.

Here he discusses six key traits of great leadership…

Having worked with thousands of business leaders, business owners, and entrepreneurs, there is a pattern of thinking, feeling, and acting which put them in a unique category that enables them to write the rules of the game.

Of course, these are by no means a definitive list, rather six core foundations from which you can build and shape your own leadership style.

1. Think BIG

If you don’t start out by dreaming BIG, you’re never going to move beyond mediocrity. Inspirational leaders set the bar high. They think BIG thoughts, and dream BIG dreams.

They live their lives as if all their dreams had already come true and challenge reality to catch up. They don’t think of their goals, they think from their goals. A common theme among inspirational leaders is that they set goals that are, to others, unattainably high, and then they work out how to reach them.

 2. Focus on one thing

There is a wise Russian proverb that states: “If you chase two rabbits, you end up catching neither.”

Are you suffering from rabbit-ism? Inspirational leaders are able to galvanise their forces around one thing that makes the organisation they run most successful. They’re able to present that one thing as the North Star; the thing that makes their organisation stand out above all others. In so doing, they are able to head off at the pass the constant threat of direction changes that prevents many organizations from really achieving the highest levels of greatness.


3. Winning mentality

It starts with a positive attitude, entirely achievable through determination. Inspirational leaders know that the world is full of negativity, which presents a full-frontal challenge to anyone trying to be positive and the one unassailable key to success lies in their ability to shut those messages out.


In thinking about developing your winning mentality, the starting point is about being clear on your own definition of a positive attitude. My own personal definition is this: the way you dedicate yourself to the way you think. And the key within this definition is that thinking positively is a conscious choice.

Acting positively is a conscious choice. Reacting positively is a conscious choice.

4. Attitude of action

Inspirational leaders have the ability to translate positive intentions into tangible results. Positivity isn’t about dreaming and then hoping for an outcome; it’s about dreaming and then working out a plan and then working that plan to get to the dream. It’s an Attitude of action.


We’ve all heard the expression ‘knowledge is power’, but for me, that idea is incomplete. ‘Applied’ knowledge is power! I’m fortunate in my life to have met some really knowledgeable people, but I can tell you that often, their knowledge hasn’t always correlated to a high level of success.

Why? Because it’s all about the application of the knowledge. These individuals talk a good game; they constantly talk about what they’re going to do, and on paper they should be achieving even greater levels of success. The challenge is they’re missing the critical part – ‘applied knowledge’ and taking action!

5. Resilience

Resilience is an essential trait, especially in the face of failure, but also in terms of daily life as a business leader, business owner, or entrepreneur. Even armed with your attitude of action and a reputation for making things happen, things will sometimes go wrong. That’s life.


You will make mistakes, you will come off the rails, and if you don’t, it begs the question of whether you’re really pushing the boundaries of possibility. Inspirational leaders aren’t immune from mistakes or runs of bad luck; what they have learned to do however is recover from them quickly. They pick themselves up, bounce back, and refuse to carry any additional and unnecessary baggage from the experience.

6. Authenticity

This trait is one of the most important for me as it is the ‘glue’ that binds all the other traits together. Or you could think of it as the hub. Authenticity is about being the real deal. It’s about being really clear on what you stand for, the values that drive your thinking, and the filters through which you define your behaviour.


It’s about having an unwavering determination that no matter what happens you will never compromise your core values and beliefs; that you will remain true to who you are and what you stand for.


Royston GuestRoyston GuestAugust 3, 2017


Why do some businesses thrive in uncertainty, even chaos, and others don’t?

When buffeted by turbulent events and prevailing head winds, or hit by big, fast-moving forces that they can neither predict nor control, what distinguishes those businesses who perform exceptionally well from those who underperform or worse, go under?

Take Southwest Airlines for a moment and think about everything which has slammed the airline industry over the past couple of decades; fuel prices, de-regulation, labour strikes, air traffic controller strikes, crippling recessions, interest rate spikes, hijackings…leading to bankruptcy after bankruptcy after bankruptcy.

And yet, if you had invested £10,000 in Southwest Airlines on December 31st 1972 (when it was a tiny airline with just 3 planes – barely reaching breakeven and besieged by larger airlines out to kill the fledgling), your £10,000 would have grown to nearly £12 million by now…giving you a return of 63 times the general stock market!

A better performance than Wal-Mart, General Electric, and Walt Disney! Why did Southwest Airlines overcome the odds? How did it accomplish its world beating performance when other airlines fell away?

Was it down to:

  • Successful Leaders being bold, risk-seeking visionaries?
  • Innovation?
  • Speed?
  • Radical change?
  • Or, just good luck?

Perhaps a combination of these factors were at play. However, one factor stood out head and shoulders above the rest – disciplined execution.

In essence, disciplined executive is consistency in action. Consistency with vision and values, consistency with short, medium and long term goals, consistency with performance standards and culture, consistency with method and approach, being consistent over time.

World class businesses and organizations are relentless in their focus and quest for disciplined execution. They find out what works, and then replicate it!

This is the difference that makes the difference for high performing organizations.

They don’t overreact to events, they don’t knee jerk, they don’t succumb to the herd. They don’t leap for alluring but irrelevant opportunities which can detract them from their core focus and specialism.

World class businesses and organizations are capable of immense perseverance and unyielding in their standards and disciplines. They constantly push themselves to find better and faster ways to merge the present with the future, and realise their goals.

They understand the ‘Law of Diminishing Intent’ and make sure it doesn’t happen to them. What is this law?

It’s simply… the longer you wait to implement a new idea or strategy, the less enthusiasm you will have for it. You’ve probably had that feeling of rushing out of a seminar or training course, full of great ideas.

But then (and here comes the but)…

…The demands of the day compete for our attention, and all of our good intentions and personal promises for change get pushed to the wayside. And the longer we put them off, the lower the probability we will ever actually fulfill them.

You can spend an eternity creating the best strategy in the world and on paper you should be a phenomenal business, however you fall down on disciplined execution.

I’ve seen so many businesses achieve accelerated growth, but delivering sustained and profitable growth requires a whole new set of skills and disciplines. It requires focus, it requires rigour, and it requires boundless levels of energy, commitment, and resilience. Perhaps most importantly it requires alignment of all individuals behind a common purpose and ambition.

So the underlying message; become disciplined in disciplined execution on your strategy and ideas before they die a quick death, burying your future goals and vision with them.  What are you going to do today? Tomorrow? Next week? Next month? Master the art and the science of disciplined execution in your business and your accelerated, sustained and profitable business growth will be inevitable.

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