7 Habits of successful new General Managers

One business book that I recommend consistently is Steven Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People…  and despite being around a long time it’s still a great book, for being simple and powerful at the same time.

For the new General Manager,  let me channel Covey and suggest 7habits of my own.

As the newly promoted GM what habits should we take on from Covery to be successful?

1. Set achievable (short-term) goals

It’s important to have big long-term goals to work toward, but your short-term goals will help build the foundation that supports initial business growth. Success wins over your team to your leadership AND supports those who chose you as the boss and persuades those who were skeptical. Enthusiasm for a new role often leads you to become overzealous and set goals that are hard to accomplish. And this isn’t the best way to start a role.  Start out with small stretchy but meaningful goals you can achieve in a reasonable period of time, create a culture of success and continue to expand from there.

2. Measure your progress

Ensure you have a way of keeping track of your short-term and long-term goals.  Check your progress weekly or monthly to ensure that you and your team are on track. One way to know if you’re progressing at an appropriate rate is to benchmark and research similar businesses to see how they measure themselves. (How do you know what they do, see Habit 5).  This tracking system acts as an early warning system if you try to take on too much.

Why not consider having a business mentor in the same field who could assist determine whether or not you are moving along at a rate that promotes growth without becoming overwhelming for your or your new business. If you can’t find that, why not contact acumen.sg and see what we can offer?

3. Know your strengths and weaknesses

As much as we’d all like to be experts at everything, some areas are better off in the hands of someone with more experience than you. Be honest about your business strengths and weaknesses, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when your business is better served by doing so.

Ensure you have a qualified accountant in your team, unless financials are your thing, and follow their advice. Even part-time (if the business is small) they will pay for themselves in advice and suggestions in your ongoing relationship with tax authorities for example if you are a young or small company. How about a marketing or brand specialist to assist if this is not your specialty, again acumen.sg could be of assistance here too. Also, get out of your comfort zone. While it was a speciality skill that got you into the GM role, get out of this comfort zone and learn about the full responsibilities of a GM.

4. Create a schedule and plan your day

Entrepreneurs can find themselves being pulled in many different directions, especially at the start of their role. It’s important to have a firm and regular schedule to guide each day. Take time at the beginning of each week to plan a week-long schedule that includes appointments, tasks to be completed and any communication that needs to be made. Make time early on to meet with your people AND with the people who buy your businesses products or services. Schedule time to build relationships.

Be flexible enough to make changes, if necessary, and use your schedule to help avoid time wasters that prevent you from getting work done. Be ruthless in investing your time and ensure you are clear what’s important for your business right now.

5. Network

One of the least expensive and most effective learning opportunities to help you grow your business is networking with other entrepreneurs, with your customers, with other influential people. Whether the people you meet are novices or experts, the “two heads are better than one” line of thinking can help you find a solution to problems or learn something new that will enhance your business practices. These more experienced entrepreneurs have all been through the problems you are facing and are generally willing to provides some free experience to share with you.

6. Continue learning

You probably gained your most important knowledge and skills through hands on experience and learning on the job. In addition to continuing to learn in this manner, it can be beneficial to take classes or attend workshops and exhibitions pertaining to your business. Knowledge you can put to use in your business will always pay for itself in the long run.

I’ve taken classes to assist the business psychology and candidate assessment part of acumen.sg,and I’ve found it valuable in both content and contacts.

7. Acquire and manage talent

The day will come when you realise you are no longer a one-man-show. Great, you now need (and I hope can afford) qualified help. When this day arrives, it’s essential to hire people who share your vision and feel enthusiastic about helping you achieve your goals. Seek talented people who are a different temperament to you and whose experience and knowledge complements yours. Unsure how to assess these people? For a modest fee acumen.sg can help you select those with the right behaviour, work style and values fit.


The habits and practices you bring to your new business both from your personal and prior work life can either help you achieve success or cause you to struggle. Importantly you need to switch from being an employee to being the owner. You must take on new skills to ensure your new business succeeds.

and to finish

motivation habits