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Feb 23, 201611:24 AMLeader to Leader

with Terry Siebert

The traits of success

(page 1 of 2)

What makes a successful businessperson?

Many people have studied this question. Successful people have been surveyed. The question has been asked thousands of times over the course of years. As you review the research, the answer — in many cases — boils down to three areas: knowledge, skills, and attitudes.

When asked which of these three are the most important for truly successful people, the answer always comes down to a combination of skills and attitudes. In fact, the common conclusion is that only 15% of success is attributable to knowledge, whereas 85% factor is that combination of skills and attitudes. Here is some further explanation.


Let’s look at doctors, lawyers, IT professionals, sales professionals, bankers, accountants, engineers, manufacturing experts, educators, etc. In every case it’s obvious that a critical knowledge base is a prerequisite for success. A doctor without med school, an IT professional who doesn’t know how to write code, a sales professional who does not have a firm grasp of product knowledge — all three would not even have the necessary foundation for success in their respective professions. However, this knowledge alone does not equate to real success. It’s more like the ticket to get into the door of success. Without the knowledge base, you will not make it to the success plateau. However, once you arrive, it is not your knowledge alone that will propel you to success. You need both skills and attitudes.


Many years ago, John D. Rockefeller said, “The ability to deal with people is as purchasable a commodity as sugar or coffee and I will pay more for that ability than any other under the sun.” Areas like handling conflict, motivating others, and delegating effectively are just a few of the skills under this headline.

Communication, whether it is being crisp and concise, effectiveness in front of a group, or listening at a deep level is also a skill mentioned in most of the research. In fact, if you’re going to be good at dealing with people, solid communication skills are a must.

Time management, goal setting, and sound reasoning are part of the success formula, as well. Successful people are the few who focus and then follow through.


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About This Blog

Known for his Dale Carnegie training expertise, Terry Siebert is writing to inspire leaders to reach their greatest potential. Leadership, today more than ever, may mean the difference between closing the doors or opening new markets. Every month, he'll post help with mindset, business tools and more.

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