Summary: 12 Disciplines of Leadership Excellence By Brian Tracy
Summary: 12 Disciplines of Leadership Excellence By Brian Tracy

Summary: 12 Disciplines of Leadership Excellence By Brian Tracy


Leaders are made, not born. Nobody comes into the world as a natural leader. A person becomes a leader by, first of all, deciding to become a leader, and second of all, by learning the skills necessary to “elicit extraordinary performance from ordinary people.”

The starting point of becoming a better leader is to begin thinking about the leaders you know, who you admire, and then to think about how you could emulate their behaviors. Think about how you could be more like them. In no time at all, you will actually begin to imitate their qualities and behaviors, and become a better leader yourself.

All great leaders were at one time good followers. All great leaders at one time worked closely with other successful leaders and learned from them and emulated their behaviors.



Your ability to develop absolute clarity about who you are, what you want, and the goals for your business can do more to assure your success and the success of your company than any other factor. Clarity is probably 85 percent of success, or perhaps even more. Lack of clarity is the primary reason for failure in business and personal life. People fail because they do not know who they are or what they want, or what exactly they are trying to accomplish.

The starting point of clarity as a leader is for you personally to be crystal clear about your goals—in all areas of your life. It is only when you are clear about both your personal goals and your business goals that you can focus and accomplish extraordinary things with your life.



Your goal as a leader is to be a role model of personal responsibility, and then to encourage everyone else to accept higher levels of responsibility themselves. Continually tell people, “You are responsible,” and then help them to take charge of their decisions and actions. The essence of self-control is self-responsibility. Responsibility and control are essential to high performance in management and in leadership.

Your goal as a leader is to take complete control over yourself, your emotions, and your work. You increase your sense of control by developing the habit of automatically accepting responsibility for your life and your situation. Even if something negative has happened that has nothing to do with you, you are still responsible for the way you react and respond to the situation.



The foundation of character is the quality of integrity. Integrity means honesty toward others; always telling the truth. Integrity also means a commitment to quality performance in everything you do, as an expression of the person you really are inside. Integrity means that you live in truth with others, and that you live in truth with yourself. You never say or do anything that you feel to be untrue. Having integrity also means that you never stay in or tolerate a situation that requires you to compromise your innermost values and principles. No matter what it costs, you speak out or get up and walk away.



One of the greatest motivators in the world of work is the commitment to excellence by the top people in any organization. Companies that are recognized as quality leaders in their fields attract and keep the best people. Excellent companies have high morale. People like to brag that they work for a company that is known for excellent products and excellent services.

As the leader, getting everyone to commit to excellence, as well as leading by your own example of excellent work habits, is one of the most powerful and important contributions you can make. The starting point in developing the discipline of competence, of excellence, is for you to select the specific areas and tasks where excellence is most important in generating higher sales and profitability.



The primary reason for the success or failure of a business, according to Dun and Bradstreet, is the success or failure of the marketing effort. Forty-eight percent of all business failures can be attributed to a slowing down or ineffectiveness in the area of marketing and sales. In our dynamic, competitive economy, marketing is the core function of every successful enterprise.

The starting point of successful marketing is to remember that customers are always right. They buy for their reason, not yours. Customers are selfish, demanding, ruthless, disloyal, and fickle. But they are always right from their own rationale. They will change suppliers whenever they perceive that they will be better served elsewhere. Your ability to appeal to their real desires and to satisfy their wants and needs as they perceive them determines your success in business.



Creative thinking skills are vital to your success. The average manager spends 50 percent or more of his time solving problems, either alone or with others. Your ability to deal with difficulties and solve problems will, more than anything else, determine everything that happens in your career. In fact, it is safe to say that an individual with poor creative thinking skills will be always relegated to working for those with developed creative thinking skills.

Creativity is a skill, like riding a bicycle or operating a computer, that can be learned and developed with practice. Creativity is a discipline that you can develop with practice and repetition, until it becomes a natural extension of your personality and your skill set. Often a direct relationship becomes apparent between the quantity of new ideas that you generate in your work and the level of success you achieve. One new idea or insight can be enough to change the direction of an entire company. The profitability, income, and future prospects for you and your company depend on your creative contribution.

Remember, everything that you are or ever will be comes as the result of the way you use your mind. If you improve the quality of your thinking, you improve the quality of your life.



Leaders throughout the ages have been studied in an attempt to determine the qualities that make them exceptional in their time and situation. More than 50 leadership qualities have been identified. But of all of these qualities, the two that all leaders seem to have in common are vision and courage.

Leaders formulate a clear vision of where they want to take their organization in the long term. Being able to articulate this vision clearly is the key to motivating and inspiring others to work with them to make that vision a reality.

The second leadership quality that all the studies found in common was courage. Leaders have the courage to do whatever is necessary to achieve their vision. The development of courage in a leader is essential to realizing his or her full potential. Fortunately, courage can be learned and developed over time by engaging in certain behaviors over and over again.



The greatest untapped resource in any organization, and the most expensive, is its people. It is within the skills and abilities of the average person where the greatest potential for growth, productivity, performance, achievement, and profitability lies.

The purpose of a business is to get the highest ROE (return on equity) from the amount of capital invested in the company. The goal of management is to get the highest ROE (return on energy) from the people who work there. Financial capital is calculated in dollars. Human capital consists of the mental, emotional, and physical energies of the individual. Your job as a manager is to maximize this human capital and focus it on achieving the most valuable and important results possible for the organization.

Successful organizations and managers

make it clear that nobody gets rejected, dumped on, criticized, or threatened with retaliation if they make a mistake. The best managers create an environment where people feel free to be the best they can be



Your success as a leader will be largely determined by how efficiently and effectively you respond to the challenges of change in your business. Change is inevitable, unavoidable, unstoppable, and mostly unpredictable. The better you are with dealing with the incredible speed of change in your business and personal life, the greater your contribution will be and the more valuable you will be to your organization.

The starting point of dealing with change effectively is for you to expect it to happen in a continuous and unpredictable way. Many negative emotions are caused by “frustrated expectations.” You expect things to work out in a particular way and they do not; they disappoint you. But if you expect change as an inevitable and unavoidable fact of life, you will be much more relaxed and effective in dealing with change when it comes, even though you cannot predict the form or timing with any great accuracy.



Your ability to manage your time, as much as any other practice in your career as an executive, will determine your success or failure. Time is the one indispensable and irreplaceable resource of accomplishment. It is your most precious asset. It cannot be saved, nor can it be recovered once lost. Everything you have to do requires time; and the better you use your time, the more you will accomplish, and the greater will be your rewards.

Time management is essential to maximum health and personal effectiveness. How much you feel in control of your time and your life is a major determinant of your level of inner peace, harmony, and mental well-being. A feeling of being “out of control” of your time is the major source of stress, anxiety, and unhappiness. The better you can organize and control the critical events of your life, the better you will feel, moment to moment, the more energy you will have, the better you will sleep, and the more you will get done.



What is an excellent manager? An excellent manager is somebody who achieves superior results by consistently getting the best out of him- or herself and by releasing the potential of others so they can make their maximum contribution to the organization.

The strength of any organization is determined by the quality of its managers at all levels. They are the “officer corps” of the corporate army. What they do and how well they do it is the key determinant of corporate success. The most conservative studies estimate that the average person works at less than 50 percent of capacity, and sometimes less than 40 percent or 30 percent! A good manager creates an environment in which the average person functions at 60, 70, 80, or 90 percent, and occasionally close to 100 percent of capacity, and makes a massive rather than average contribution to the organization.

Your key result areas are your most significant areas of contribution. They are the field of performance of the manager. The focus on key result areas is the key to your effectiveness, your future, and your career. Each of the seven key results areas for managers is important.

  1. Customer Service
  2. Profit and Loss
  3. Strive for Excellence
  4. Achieve More with Less
  5. Faster, Better, Cheaper
  6. Grow Your People
  7. Grow the Business