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5 Marks of a First Class Executive

*culture *team video Aug 09, 2022

Let’s discuss what it means to be “first class,” because this is who YOU need to be. And, this is how you need to think in terms of WHO you bring on your team.

If you’ve ever flown first class, you sense it’s different…

People think, act, and dress differently.

They have a sense of “We’ve been here before. We’ve done this.”

And, you can tell— if you look around— who’s new to first class. They, often, aren’t sure how things work.

Here’s the analogy: You need team members who BELONG at a higher level. And, they— and you— need to act like you belong there.

Here are five marks of a first class executive. Begin NOW living in this way, in effect “dressing for the job you want.”

#1 = Polish

As they say, “A picture is worth 1,000 words.”

The Bible tells us, “God looks at the heart.” The first part of the verse says this, though: “Man looks at the heart” (see 1 Samuel 16:7).

Assume you are ALWAYS being interviewed by people. And, you never know who you might meet.

There are two ways you can “polish” yourself:

  • The way you dress
  • Your cleanliness + the orderliness of your environment (your office, your car, how you carry yourself)

The VAST majority of communication is non-verbal. It all begins with HOW you present yourself.

Even as casual as our culture has become, it’s interesting that places like ESPN require their analysts to wear suits. That is, they’re far over-dressed for their environment.

Here’s why: polish communicates authority.

Or, to say it another way— “Presentation matters.”


#2 = Poise

I looked up the word poise. Summing up the various definitions I found, to have “poise” means “maintain a dignified, self-confident manner; to keep one’s composure.”

In my observation after leading and coaching for over two decades, the best leaders are able to be PRESENT in CRISIS WITHOUT LOSING their POISE.

What do poised leaders look like?

  • They are not easily rattled. They are steady, consistent, and reliable.
  • Poised leaders bring peace to a situation rather than stir up the drama. They squash drama, either by aggressively putting it to an end or not giving it their attention; making them a stabilizing force. Poise it typically a bi-product of maturity, and maturity understands the destructive power of drama.
  • Poised leaders don’t lose their temper or their composure— even if it could be warranted in the minds of others.
  • They never lose their dignity and rarely raise their voice.

Poise communicates authority, just like polish. It, graciously, creates an aura of respect.

#3 = Promptness

Be on time. And do this in each area.

  • Start and stop on time.
  • Return calls and emails promptly.

This is a small detail that creates major credibility. And, because so few people respond promptly, it sets you out from the crowd.

#4 = Passion

People are drawn to passion like metal to a magnet.

People follow it.

Proverbs tells us, “Where there is no vision, people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).

The opposite is true, too. Where there is ample vision, people come alive and thrive.

Part of a healthy culture includes living with vision AND being passionate about it…

Set clear dates and deadlines as you work. This transforms your inspiration into effective execution. And, it bolsters the accountability throughout your team.


#5 = Positivity

See— and communicate— that the glass is half full.

Giver others the benefit of the doubt. That is, when they don’t live up to the “full measure” of what they were supposed to do, assume the best in them— and that there are other factors you cannot see that caused them to fall short.

Perhaps even put the attention on you in those times, recognizing you might not have trained them well, communicated thoroughly, or given them enough lead time.

In all things, rather than focus on the problems (which are ALWAYS rampant), look for the possibilities.

Positivity sets people at ease. And, when people are at peace, they perform better.



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