Editorial: Success secrets of high achievers

Jan 29, 2015

Ten characteristics Mark Zweig has seen in high-flying AEC leaders.

High achievers in the AEC industry Thirty five years as a student of human behavior – all concentrated in one industry (the AEC world) – coupled with an incredible amount of research on people, firms, the industry, and markets served by firms in this business have taught me a lot. In particular, I have seen how the high achievers in this business do it. Here are 10 observations on these people:
  1. They are big-picture. They see how everything works together (or doesn’t) and don’t get mired in the details at the expense of what’s really most critical.
  2. They are good communicators. It isn’t good enough to know what to do. You have to be able to sell those ideas and that vision to others.
  3. They are intelligent. As Larry the Cable Guy says, “You can’t fix stupid.” He’s right. Intelligent people are reasonable. You can discuss things with intelligent people.
  4. They stay ‘up.’ They know how their optimism affects everyone around them. And even if not up all of the time, they are at least even-keeled.
  5. They stay ‘on.’ They don’t shut down at night or all weekend long, or for weeks while on vacation. The most successful people I know are the most accessible and responsive. They are the least likely people to go “offline” at 5 o’clock and for long periods of time on other occasions.
  6. They work hard. There isn’t any substitute for it. They’ll get up early, stay up late, and do what they have to do to keep their commitments without many excuses. This, in turn, sets the “pace” for everyone else who works with/for/around them.
  7. They know how to treat people. ALL people. This is such a valuable skill. Why alienate people by being a jerk or acting like you think you are better than them? Treating people well makes others like you and increases their willingness to work for you/with you, or do business with you. It says a lot about the person’s character.
  8. They keep learning. High achievers know someone is always nipping at your heels. They want to stay up with their knowledge of what’s going on in their business, their discipline, and with the world as a whole. Learning is a way of life for them.
  9. They don’t let obstacles shut them down. They go over mountains or around mountains or through mountains but don’t let anything deter them from their course. This is such a crucial trait that distinguishes these people from the masses.
  10. They are good recruiters and team-builders. High achievers understand that all things they want to do takes a team. They are always looking for the next teammate and constantly working to refine their teams such that they have the best quality people working with them. Once again, this is essential if you are going to be a high achiever in this business.
So take a good look at yourself in the mirror? Are you acting like a high achiever or acting like someone else who clearly isn’t? Mark Zweig is the chairman and CEO of Zweig Group. Contact him with questions or comments at mzweig@zweiggroup.com.
This article first appeared in The Zweig Letter (ISSN 1068-1310), issue #1089, originally published 2/2/2015. Copyright© 2015, Zweig Group. All rights reserved.

About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.