Whether you are planning to return to school for organizational leadership master’s or you simply plan to obtain one of the many wonderful online degrees in various concentrations that are available today, your ultimate goal is to be successful in your chosen career. Here, beyond the obviously rigorous academic and internship requirements in your degree plan, you may also benefit from studying everything there is to learn about the habits and practices of those highly successful business leaders who have gone before you. Individuals such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Donald Trump and Henry Ford, for instance, have left a rich legacy of information from which you can learn.

Thoughts Matter

In studies performed on the personal and thought habits of successful business leaders and innovators, it is clear that thoughts matter more than you might suspect. Remaining positive even in the face of market fluctuations and financial or entrepreneurial adversity, tackling tough issue with a “can do” attitude, being willing to make short-term sacrifices such as returning for online mba degrees even when it requires taking out a student loan or taking time off from work to do so, continuing to keep your mind open to new input and new ideas and dreaming and write down your dreams throughout the course of your career will put you on a path that has been well-worn by the innovative greats that have walked before you.

Develop Your Communication Skills

If you plan to bury yourself inside of an organization somewhere or your career goals revolve much more around working with machines than with people, then you may be able to find sufficient reason not to devote much time to developing your communication skills. But if you have dreams of becoming an industry leader, standing at the helm of your own enterprise one day or creating a new product or program that could literally revolutionize business, then the key to open the door to all your dreams may revolve around something as simple as communication. Great communicators are the ones who are able to fire up employees, investors, partners and customers with the passion and potential in their great ideas. Great communicators can move armies to win unwinnable wars and help downtrodden workforces wait out economic hardship with vision and hope. All of the great business innovators, whether their education focuses on a masters degree organizational leadership track or something entirely different, have developed colorful, distinctive personalities and voices that are uniquely their own.

Embrace Being Different

This color and life that the great innovators have displayed also contributes to their brand, their reputation and ultimately their chance for success in their chosen career path. While it can be a wise investment for a time to spend your time trying to get a “read” on your new boss or learning the corporate culture of your workplace, if you want to leave your own legacy of greatness, you will need to invest even more time into getting a read on who you are and what your dreams are and creating your own corporate culture for a career that is yet up ahead of you. Only in this way – by embracing your differences as well as the differences of others – will you be able to identify where your strengths and contributions will come from and find the right partners who can help to facilitate your dreams.

Cultivate an Honest, Hardworking Reputation

When you first enter the business arena, and especially if you work in the realm of international business, it can seem like the world you have just entered is vast and anonymous. However, the pure truth is that it is not. Just like any other world, after you have spent some time there, you will learn who the major players are (hopefully in time you will become one of them!), establish your affiliations and alliances and begin to form longer term partnerships and connections as well. The world you operate in will narrow and if you have any secrets to hide, it will become harder to hide them. The best way to rise to the top as an innovator in your field is to work hard, be honest and be the kind of transparent and honest employee and future boss that others will admire and even want to work for, one day.

This article was written by Tony Sparks. Tony loves to motivate his peers to being the best that they can be and is a motivational speaker for the business world. Based out of Kansas City, he travels the country once a year on the touring circuit. When he’s not doing that, he’s usually either fishing or reading.

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