Sep 24 2015

The Seven C’s

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I recently had the pleasure of attending a lecture given by Susan Hitchcock, an Atlanta-based expert in leadership development and a contributing author of a book entitled The Female Leader: Empowerment, Confidence & Passion. Susan shared her Seven C’s of Success, which I think are worthy of passing on. For most of you this will not be new material. Nonetheless, in keeping with last month’s theme of Back to Basics, I expect that you will find this to be a helpful reminder.


The Seven C’s are:

  1. Competence
  2. Commitment
  3. Confidence
  4. Connections
  5. Courage
  6. Credibility
  7. Character


As obvious as these might be, I will elaborate with a combination of Susan’s and my own input. The greater the clarity, the more power we have to take appropriate action.


Competence means you are not only good at what you do, you are also good at improving yourself in ever increasing cycles. Great leaders do not stop growing themselves – Ever! – and they inspire others to do the same. Comfort, pride, and complacency are soul and success killers.


Commitment is about applying yourself 100% to whatever you are doing. “Be the labor great or small, do it well or not at all!” This includes applying such qualities as focus, discipline, determination, perseverance, accountability, and DWIET (doing whatever it takes). Great leaders are committed not because it brings success, but because it’s the right way to live.


Confidence, as we know, is key. No one can believe in you if you don’t believe in you. “Certainty sells” because of a powerful, unspoken energy of knowing your value, purpose, and place. Others sense this instinctively and respond to it positively.


Connections go beyond just who or how many you know. Susan recommends netweaving (, which is a much deeper form of networking based on focusing on what you can do for others instead of what they can do for you. What goes around does come around.


Courage is “the state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution.” Leadership courage particularly applies to the fear of making waves, people not liking you, and in some cases potentially losing your job, because to be a great leader, you must stand up for yourself, live your values, and speak your truth. Otherwise, the inauthenticity of not doing so will eventually undermine your success.


Credibility can be summed up in two words: earned influence. Earned. Influence. Profound! So much I could say about this one. Perhaps another day. Meanwhile, ponder.


Character is who you are when no one is looking. It is the embodiment of the deepest meaning and values by which we live – good or bad. It is the basis of the other six C’s. And yes, this is such a good one it will be the subject of a future newsletter. Stay tuned!


You can be a great leader at any stage of your career and in any situation in your life, if you apply yourself to maintaining these and other key leadership qualities. The effort is well worth the reward.

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