Six Key Attitudes to Success

Business owners are faced with information overload. How do we sort through all of it to find what we need to make our companies better.

December 15, 2005

Doug Dwyer
Doug Dwyer
Contributing Editor

Business owners are faced with information overload. How do we sort through all of it to find what we need to make our companies better and not be stressed out in the process? I have learned to do it by following those who have already successfully done it.

A business leader, colleague and mentor once said to me, "There are about half a dozen things you have to do to be successful."

In an era of information overload, that sounded manageable to me. So I started asking questions of other business leaders I know, combined their feedback with my own experiences, and came up with six key attitudes and six key fundamentals that I believe are critical to business success.

Your list may be different from mine, but the important task is defining what they are and sticking with them.

Visualize the keys to success as though they were the keys to a safety deposit box. The bank teller has one key and you have the other. It takes both keys to successfully open the box to the treasure inside. What each of us treasures will vary based on our personal viewpoint and what success means to us as individuals.

At DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen, we treasure strong margins and quality of life. We define strong margins as the financial ability to recruit the best people, to compensate company owners for all the jobs they perform, to provide world-class service, to raise investment capital, and to show a strong net profit and equity growth. Quality of life refers to the ability we have to create free time for life pursuits such as God, family, friends, society and hobbies.

The combination of the two produces happy customers, employees, vendors and owners. It is a win-win strategy for all involved. Here are the six key attitudes that help us reach that winning combination:

  1. Work Hard: Success takes hard work, but it doesn't have to drive you to an early grave. Put in 40 to 50 hours a week — no more than 60 — to achieve your goals. If it takes more, something is not working right.
  2. Discipline: "Good to Great," the best-selling business book by Jim Collins, studied top-performing companies over the long haul. They all had this in common: disciplined people, thought and action. The ability to discipline ourselves to change, adapt and grow is critical.
  3. Diligence: Manage the numbers daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and annually. Know your sales goal versus actual gross profit percentage by job; the closing ratio of estimates to jobs; the number of sales presentations per week per salesperson; production hours per project, etc. Then post these measurements somewhere that's visible for the whole team to review. It is powerful.
  4. Apply Best Practices: Find the best practice for each area of your business and make it the guideline. One critical area for all of us is recruiting "A" players to our team. At a leadership conference I attended, legendary college basketball coach John Wooden said: "Talent — you can lose with it, but you cannot win without it." The first point is: We need talented people. The not-so-obvious second point is: Your leadership matters. The top book on recruiting in America today is "Topgrading" by Bradford Smart. This is a best practice for recruiting.
  5. Excellence: Do what is right and do it the best. This doesn't happen overnight. In fact, it takes three to five years to change a lifestyle, because it is made up of hundreds of individual habits. A business has a life to it as well. Like exercise, we start feeling the results quickly but the full makeover takes time.
  6. Faith: You must believe in your heart that you can accomplish your goals. Have the faith that you will succeed. If you don't have it right now, take action today. Find a business coach or consultant; join a local or national peer group; look for an existing business model you can buy and apply to your operation; or find a business course that has a track record of producing results.
  • The combination of these six key attitudes has been my road map for success in business. The journey to find the six that matter to your business could be the beginning of business empowerment that makes a world of difference.

    In June, I'll explore the six key fundamentals: vision, systems, recruiting, numbers, marketing and values.

    Author Information
    Doug Dwyer is president and chief stewarding officer of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen by Worldwide, one of the nation's largest remodeling franchises. He can be reached at

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