The 5 “C”s Every Leader Needs

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Today I’m thrilled to be sharing a guest post written by Robert D. Smith.  Robert is the author of 20,000 Days and Counting, a crash course in living each day with maximum purpose and intensity. He also writes about entrepreneurship, personal growth, and more at TheRobertD.com.

After over 30 years in the publishing and speaking businesses, I’ve noticed that every truly successful leader I’ve come across has had a knack for doing one thing—being uncommonly dependable.

They leave no doubt as to what their plan is and how they are going to execute it. They inspire faith in everyone they lead.

How do they do this? They possess five qualities that anyone who wants to be a successful leader (I’m looking in YOUR direction) needs to have. Luckily, they all begin with C…so they will be easy for you to remember!

Clock1. Clock

Yeah, that thing around your wrist that tells you the time—pay attention to it. The impressions you make are everything. You cannot afford to be late to a meeting, a speech, a performance, etc.

I’m sure this comes as no surprise to you, but it’s something that is extremely important and something I’m not afraid to repeat. You must become a master of the clock.

2. Calendar

Mastering your clock involves your day-to-day schedule. Your calendar, on the other hand, is entirely different.

You must be able to see beyond the here and now, and constantly think in terms of six months out, one year out, five years out.

A goal is not a goal until you put a date on it. Deadlines will push and inspire you.


Be laser-focused on your income. Be extremely aware of where it is coming from, how much is coming in, and new ways you can create more.

In many ways, your business is probably “not about the money.” But the reality is that you absolutely need money if you want to keep things running and growing.

Don’t feel like you’re “selling out” by focusing on the money. It is essential to your growth. It will enable you to affect more and more lives.

4. Certainty

Are people 100% certain of what they are getting from you? Or do you leave doubt and uneasiness?

Certainty is all-encompassing, from communication to punctuality to the quality of your material. Whether you’re setting up a meeting through e-mail or writing a blog post, leave no room for doubt or confusion in your readers’ minds. Let them know exactly what they’re getting, and then follow through. Consistently creating certainty in the minds of others automatically separates you from the majority of people in this world.

And, I know I may sound like your dad, but remember—if you’re right on time, you’re late.

5. Clue

If you don’t have a clue, you’re sunk. Fortunately, since you’ve gone to the trouble to seek out information like this, I would hallucinate that you DO have a clue.

So get out there, and do something! And don’t forget that not only do leaders possess these five “C”s, but they are also able to spot them in others. Be aware, be alert, and hold your team members to the same standard you hold yourself.

Trust your instincts. Work like crazy. You will get there.




Enter A Comment

Lauren @ AchieveIt   |   08 February 2013   |   Reply

I’ve read so many articles like this, but I love how you included thoughts about cash-so many people don’t talk about it, but it’s important for your business. I like your no-nonsense approach.

Robert D. Smith   |   11 February 2013   |   Reply

Thanks, Lauren!! You’re right…not many people want to talk about cash, but it might be THE most important thing for any business.

Gary Winters   |   08 February 2013   |   Reply

Terrific! Concise, very practical reminders. The clock? Who’d have thought that a blog about leadership would have to include the advice, “Be on time,” but yes, it is important. Everyone’s time is valuable. Thanks for a good post

Robert D. Smith   |   11 February 2013   |   Reply

Gary, I’m continually shocked by the amount of people I meet who have NO concept of the clock. I don’t know how they make it so far in life 🙂

Thanks for reading!