What do you think it is? Perseverance or tenaciousness (repeatedly getting back up after knockdowns and knockbacks)? Confidence or arrogance (that your product or service can and will change lives)? Optimism or passion (that you think you have something with your business idea and that it can’t help but take off)? Nope, it’s conscientiousness, according to a recent article I read on Business Link.
What does it mean to be conscientious? It means you’re likely to “be super organized, responsible, and plan ahead”. You work hard in the face of challenges and can control your impulses. You’re the type that arrives on time, is diligent with your work, thoughtful and helpful towards your colleagues and always on top of your deadlines.
Does it all sound a bit too dull and goodie-goodie? Don’t worry – you will be rewarded richly for your good behaviour. Apparently those conscientious sorts get better grades in school, stay married longer and live longer. One study found that conscientious men earn higher salaries; another found that it is the most important factor for finding and retaining employment. Being conscientious is a bigger indicator of early school success than IQ, even.
It’s quite easy to understand when you put it into sporting terms. Remember that one kid at school who was a natural at all sports? Didn’t matter what sport it was, they’d pick it up within minutes and excel at it? But they were a bit ‘lax with their talent – because it came naturally they didn’t really need to practice or do extra fitness… Until one day, the kids that hadn’t been so natural at it, but who had worked hard with doing practice outside of formal training, who had read books on it and worked hard to get better at it – suddenly they were better than the natural athlete, who was left scrambling to catch up. This is what being conscientious is about. This is how conscientiousness can lead to success.
Natural ability will start you off, but sheer grit will get you through.
Conscientious types are goal setters – and then they doggedly work to achieve, despite setbacks along the way. So focused on achieving goals, they’ll constantly check that their goal is the right one, switching to another track or more attainable goal rather than failing or giving up completely. Conscientious people aren’t bloody minded – they don’t ignore expert advice in their pursuit of excellence. Instead, they do their homework and they have a plan B and C and D up their sleeve. Conscientious people are never overnight successes… but they are deserving of what they get.
Are you conscientious? Do you think it’s the one trait you need to be successful? What personality traits do you think are necessary? Actually, what traits have your best business mentors or leaders shared? I’d love to know.
Email me to share your thoughts, or for some business coaching, business advice or mentoring – always happy to hear from you. firstname.lastname@example.org