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Some Habits Of Effective Professionals

Author : Dilip Saraf

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My client-count meter is rapidly heading to 6,000 now. As I reflect on my working with this pool of clients I have learned much from this experience. Not all my clients succeed in their endeavors, but they often emerge more effective in what they do as a result of following what I suggest to them as a course of action, behaviors, and habits. New learning results in changed behaviors, repeated practice of changed behaviors results in habits. Acquiring good habits require discipline, commitment, and learning to make adjustments to your routines. Change is at the heart of this process.

Some of clients manage to make the change only during the time they are engaged with me and once they achieve their objectives revert back to their old ways. But, many see the merit of long-term commitment to change and are able to translate their learning into habits that serve them throughout their professional life to make them effective at what they do. I purposely do not use the word successful in this context, primarily because it is often a personal and highly subjective assessment of the outcome. However, being effective is less so. In this blog I am listing my observations about clients whom I consider to have become effective in their pursuits:

  1. Clarity of objectives: Those who are able to reduce their objectives to clear statements of purpose are able to develop a course of action that makes it possible for them to achieve their goals more often than those who are not. A clearly articulated purpose statement reduces all the clutter and confusion around a course of action needed to get there.
  2. Taking a systems approach: Effective professionals understand the whole system in which they need to operate. They identify the various levels of components in their system and their interplay. They also understand the points of leverage (fulcrum) and how to wield their influence at the right points to effect the change they want to trigger.
  3. Shift of focus: Those who are after specific objectives often shift their focus from me to them. What this means is that whenever they are after someone to get help or champion their cause they first find why this person must accept their request and help them in the way they desire. This shift of focus requires a deep understanding of human nature and a commensurately high EQ (emotional intelligence). It also requires a high level of PQ (political intelligence).
  4. Attention to details: Over the years what I find is that those who succeed in achieving their objective often pay a high level of attention to detail to all their actions, e.g., writing effective emails, learning to communicate concisely and unambiguously, and not leaving anything to chance.
  5. Gratitude: This is yet another trait that I find in people who go on to achieving success in life. They show their gratitude to others that have given them help in a personal and specific way, even when such help is a paid professional service. This expression of gratitude redounds in their getting even more help that they otherwise would not get, making them even more effective in their endeavors.

This is just a partial list of habits that I observe in clients that go on to achieve great things in life. Anyone can adopt these practices and make them their habits. All it requires is having a mindset of a person who wants to become effective in their endeavors.

Good luck!

About Author
Dilip has distinguished himself as LinkedIn’s #1 career coach from among a global pool of over 1,000 peers ever since LinkedIn started ranking them professionally (LinkedIn selected 23 categories of professionals for this ranking and published this ranking from 2006 until 2012). Having worked with over 6,000 clients from all walks of professions and having worked with nearly the entire spectrum of age groups—from high-school graduates about to enter college to those in their 70s, not knowing what to do with their retirement—Dilip has developed a unique approach to bringing meaning to their professional and personal lives. Dilip’s professional success lies in his ability to codify what he has learned in his own varied life (he has changed careers four times and is currently in his fifth) and from those of his clients, and to apply the essence of that learning to each coaching situation.

After getting his B.Tech. (Honors) from IIT-Bombay and Master’s in electrical engineering(MSEE) from Stanford University, Dilip worked at various organizations, starting as an individual contributor and then progressing to head an engineering organization of a division of a high-tech company, with $2B in sales, in California’s Silicon Valley. His current interest in coaching resulted from his career experiences spanning nearly four decades, at four very diverse organizations–and industries, including a major conglomerate in India, and from what it takes to re-invent oneself time and again, especially after a lay-off and with constraints that are beyond your control.

During the 45-plus years since his graduation, Dilip has reinvented himself time and again to explore new career horizons. When he left the corporate world, as head of engineering of a technology company, he started his own technology consulting business, helping high-tech and biotech companies streamline their product development processes. Dilip’s third career was working as a marketing consultant helping Fortune-500 companies dramatically improve their sales, based on a novel concept. It is during this work that Dilip realized that the greatest challenge most corporations face is available leadership resources and effectiveness; too many followers looking up to rudderless leadership.

Dilip then decided to work with corporations helping them understand the leadership process and how to increase leadership effectiveness at every level. Soon afterwards, when the job-market tanked in Silicon Valley in 2001, Dilip changed his career track yet again and decided to work initially with many high-tech refugees, who wanted expert guidance in their reinvention and reemployment. Quickly, Dilip expanded his practice to help professionals from all walks of life.

Now in his fifth career, Dilip works with professionals in the Silicon Valley and around the world helping with reinvention to get their dream jobs or vocations. As a career counselor and life coach, Dilip’s focus has been career transitions for professionals at all levels and engaging them in a purposeful pursuit. Working with them, he has developed many groundbreaking approaches to career transition that are now published in five books, his weekly blogs, and hundreds of articles. He has worked with those looking for a change in their careers–re-invention–and jobs at levels ranging from CEOs to hospital orderlies. He has developed numerous seminars and workshops to complement his individual coaching for helping others with making career and life transitions.

Dilip’s central theme in his practice is to help clients discover their latent genius and then build a value proposition around it to articulate a strong verbal brand.

Throughout this journey, Dilip has come up with many groundbreaking practices such as an Inductive Résumé and the Genius Extraction Tool. Dilip owns two patents, has two publications in the Harvard Business Review and has led a CEO roundtable for Chief Executive on Customer Loyalty. Both Amazon and B&N list numerous reviews on his five books. Dilip is also listed in Who’s Who, has appeared several times on CNN Headline News/Comcast Local Edition, as well as in the San Francisco Chronicle in its career columns. Dilip is a contributing writer to several publications. Dilip is a sought-after speaker at public and private forums on jobs, careers, leadership challenges, and how to be an effective leader.



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