The Distinct Qualities of Achievers

by Karl Rohde — Get free updates of new posts here. Photo Credit: Karl Rohde


I recently read a column by Mark Bouris in the Sunday edition of the Herald Sun newspaper (in Australia). Mark is arguably the preeminent celebrity businessman of Australia. From media observation he seems to be a stern, suave, straight shooting, respectable, high integrity business owner that inspires many. Mark was also the host of the popular Australian edition of The Apprentice and more recently Celebrity Apprentice. His TV presence is compelling, placing him and his personal brand in a very favourable light. Its not hard to see him as a beacon of hope in a business world muddied by vice.

In the article he points to 7 qualities of high achievers.

  1. Team Builder
  2. Strategist
  3. Principle
  4. Learner
  5. Networks
  6. Energy
  7. Ideas

Read the article here

I like them a lot and see the correlation to many high achievers, however I think something is missing. What about high achievers that don't apply the 7 qualities?

Mark points to Richard Branson as a star example of an achiever. No one would contest that. Richard is however, slightly larger than life and I think for most people he’s so magnanimous he’s almost mythical. A bit like Ghandi. We love and admire him but realise we’ll never be as good as him. If only we could be so lucky to work with or near someone like that!

What about achievers a little lower to earth, the people we work for, the senior leaders in the businesses we work in and around. Its apparent to me there is a class of achiever that does not apply the 7 noble qualities of high achievers that Mark outlines. This can be quite confusing when one observes the vast array of poor leaders, scammers, task operators, culture killers, dictators that fill the senior ranks of most organisations. Too often the wrong person gets promoted. Too often the bad behaviour is rewarded in big institutions. Its not difficult to see that there is a class of high achiever that operates by a very different set of rules to the one that Mark outlines. I think I would be safe in suggesting these achievers make up the majority.

Faced with this dichotomy where do we go?

Mark mentions a vast number of people who want to to work for him and I can see why. He seems to  present a style of leadership that fuels our intrinsic motivation factors of autonomy, mastery and purpose. His identified qualities for achievers will most certainly resonate with us but it does come with a challenge.

We have a choice.

Apply the 7 Bouris principles, raise the standard and create, shape and inspire a world you want to work in. Or play the game and sell out into something other than what you would be proud of.

Most importantly I think we all need to define what achievement means to us as individuals instead of abandoning oneself to taking on the next rung in an orchestrated career ladder. In this light I think Mark’s 7 principles are spot on. Thanks Mark.

Thanks for reading another WLAA post. What are your thought on Mark’s principles for high achievement? You can tweet me at @krohde or connect on Google+ or leave a comment on the blog