How to be a high performance leader now – your checklist

Mount Everest is the world’s highest peak – mountaineers spend years gaining the experience, skills, peak physical fitness, and mental stamina to make the trek – only some make it to the top.

Successful business founders and leaders have spent years gaining different but similar peak skills, experience, knowledge and the mental stamina to get to the top of their game. Both high-performance people share common traits, 

  • Continuous life-long learning, 
  • A record of success across a wide variety of increasingly complex problems, 
  • Long and short-term strategic thinking and execution delivering a return on investment regularly, 
  • Relationship building and stakeholder management, 
  • Careful and calculated risk-taking with successful bold moves that outperform their competitors, 
  • Along with their personal authenticity, humility, objectivity, resilience and stamina,  

There is no guarantee of success – often, the defining skill is the fast appraisal of facts and the ability to pivot based on new data to win more.

Driven by their passion and vision for how they can help solve others’ – buyers, and clients’ most significant problems – using their highly developed

  • breadth of experience and record of achievements, 
  • knowledge and expertise – including financial, revenue growth, new growth markets,
  • leadership skills – strategic thinking, executive presence, accelerated team building, and self-awareness of your gaps in abilities, 

How to be more successful


1) Know your skills, your gaps and how to lift your game, 

  • 100% of the world’s top 100 tennis players have a coach, 
  • 100% of NFL teams have a coach,
  • 100% of those that reach the peak of Mt Everest have a coach guide, 

Many of the fastest-growing businesses and leaders have a coach – mentor.  

2) Gail Kelly, former CEO of Australia’s Westpac Bank, suggests that you 

  • Don’t play business politics,
  • Don’t undermine people – none of that ends well, 
  • Be authentic, transparent, a team player, and an active supporter of colleagues for the significant business-wide cause,

Want to be a future CEO – Business Leader – Process Steps Checklist, 


The Board’s process generally follows these steps:

  1. Selecting a CEO recruitment-headhunting business to market, encouraging and identifying the best candidates to come forward, 
  2. The Board defines the business needs of its next CEO- often in matrix skills set, personality, achievements, capabilities approach, 
  3. Determining which stakeholders will play roles in the process and at which stages,
  4. Determining if the Board will run a process with a sub-committee approach or the entire Board, 
  5. Shortlisting using in-depth due diligence often includes 360-degree references, psychographic testing, 
  6.  Initial screening interviews to narrow the list to the best prospects,
  7. The next step is complete psychometric, personality, and competency profiles to create a scoring system for comparison,
  8. Final stage interviews exploring each candidate’s vision for the company, leadership qualities, and matching of the desired profile – at this stage, you are looking for a good fit – can the Board with you? and can you work with the Board? 
  9. Whilst this is occurring, detailed due diligence identity check, credit check, police criminal check, that no other disqualifications exist – all of this occurs with the applicant’s consent. Big businesses will exhaustively reach out to many layers across multiple countries if needed to ensure they have captured any negatives that will influence their decision-making. 

David’s personal views – having worked with dozens of CEOs and directly worked with many executive recruiters (including not renewing some CEO appointments and the dismissal of other CEOs), these are some of the typical traits of the best performers: 

  • Their interpersonal skills are relaxed, confident and aware – they are at ease in the Boardroom and the frontline – and everyone in between; they put people at ease and bring the best out of people; their language is often fewer words with more impact, 
  • Their worldview – they have a deeper understanding of how the world works from government, politics, media, and PR, with a deep understanding of how to achieve today’s successes along with medium and the long-term, 
  • They prefer people, employees, suppliers, and stakeholders to lift up and encourage those that cannot – to lift off. It’s an eloquent and smooth process they have mastered, 
  • They have an internal calmness; they have internal control over their emotions, delivering cut-through clarity and insightful solutions, and people-centric at all times (time and space do not allow me to add further)

Strong CEO candidates will 

  • Articulate their bold vision for where the company should go next, 
  • How will they add more value to the business,
  • How they will solve the current list of the business’s biggest problems, 
  • How their style and authenticity will help grow the business faster and sooner, 
  • They understand the power of and are skilled at good storytelling that connects the dots for people – it makes them more memorable and able to stand out, 
  • It is a two-way street – they ask a lot of strategic questions – they are also interviewing the Board, 

Understand the process to gain an edge. 

Get your legs on the bottom rungs of the ladder to get a better grip to get to the top sooner – prepare – prepare – take a deep breath and get ready to climb new heights.