Harvey Mackay

Sailing the High Cs to Success

I wrote a chapter in my recent book -- “You Haven’t Hit Your Peak Yet!” -- on “The Seven Cs of Success.” They included: clarity, competence, constraints, concentration, creativity, courage and continuous learning.

A reader sent me a very fitting quote from Zig Ziglar: “The three Cs of life: choices, chances, changes. You must make a choice to take a chance or your life will never change.”

Who would have known there were so many Cs to help sail through life? And I have listed several more:

Curiosity -- Curiosity is one of nature’s greatest gifts. The old saying “You learn something new every day” should be taken very seriously. Be curious about everything around you. The future belongs to the curious; the ones who are not afraid to try it, explore it, poke at it, question it and turn it inside out. Let curiosity turn “I don’t know” into “I want to find out.”

Commitment -- When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses, only results. Commitment is a prerequisite to success. Commitment is the state of being bound -- emotionally, intellectually or both -- to a course of action. Commitment starts with a choice and is sustained by dedication and perseverance.

Competition -- The breakfast of champions is competition. Competition has made me a better businessman, a better golfer and a better person. And when there isn’t another company or business to compete with, I try to outdo myself. If that sounds simple, well, it is. I always want to be at my best and show my best side.

Communication -- The most basic yet crucial life skill is communication. From time to time, reevaluate your performance in these fundamental areas: speaking, listening, writing, leading meetings and resolving conflict. Communication needs to be clear and understandable. Communication requires both effective sending and receiving. No one can succeed in business, or in life, for that matter, without developing good communication skills.

Consistency -- Don’t be resistant to being consistent. If you are persistent, you will get it. If you are consistent, you will keep it. Consistency is especially important in business. Consistency establishes reputations. In any business, customers expect the same standards. They want predictability.

Compassion -- Compassionate people really care. Compassionate people are also more positive. That’s why you should practice compassion every day of your life. Helping someone up won’t pull you down.

Caring -- It's contagious! Help spread it around. People don’t care how much you know about them once they realize how much you care about them. This concept is so important I made it the theme of my first book, “Swim With the Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive.” It’s also central to my Mackay 66 Customer Profile. Learn as much about your customers and suppliers as you possibly can because you can’t talk about business all your life. Build those relationships and take it from a business level to a personal level.

Customers -- Nothing is more important than customer service. No customer service, and pretty soon, no customers. The key is to latch onto your customers and hold them fast. Don't just meet their needs. Anticipate them. Don't wait for them to tell you there's a problem. Go out and ask them if there's a problem. They are your most important focus group. Disappoint customers and they’ll disappear.

Charisma -- Some people walk into a room and all heads turn. When they begin to speak, people are mesmerized. They instantly gain respect and trust. In a word, they have charisma, one of the most desirable and enviable qualities in the world.

Charm -- My mother used to tell me that you could catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. When I finally understood what she was talking about, I realized that our personalities often determine the outcome of situations. Charm is what you bring out in other people because you are genuinely interested. It’s a life lesson, not just a business strategy.

Challenge -- Unless you live on Easy Street, you will face plenty of challenges. Welcome challenges; they make you better. Business challenges are a fact of life. How you handle them determines whether you will stay in business. And they don’t always have to come from external sources. Challenge yourself to improve every day.

Cooperation -- Getting along is the key to getting ahead. Competition and cooperation are not opposites. We often must work together to have the best outcomes and stay competitive.

Mackay’s Moral: “C-ing” is believing and succeeding.