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I like simple.

For years, I’ve been sharing Dan Sullivan’s success principles for entrepreneurs with college students. When I covered these recently in our Management class at Williamson College, the students agreed: these steps were simple, doable and easy to remember. Here you go:

The path to success retro graphic design. Stripes and lines in harmony.

  1. Be on time. Recall having an appointment where you wait for the person you’re meeting with to show up. How did it make you feel? Like you’re time was less than valuable? Like you weren’t important? Make every effort to be on time (or be early!). People will feel you respect their time, and you’ll get a deposit in their emotional bank account. Punctuality is appreciated.
  2. Do what you say. Do you get disappointed by fellow students who have no follow through? We often are quick to commit, and say we’re going to do something, but then don’t. You build credibility with yourself first by doing what you’ll say you’ll do; you’ll develop credibility with others as they notice you delivering on your commitments. You are simply walking your talk. We have enough talkers and ball-droppers.
  3. Finish what you start. This is a natural extension of the previous point. The college students I’ve worked with over the years are often great starters—they begin a project or a class with some amount of zeal—then their enthusiasm fizzles. Distractions distract. You don’t want to head into career interviews sharing, “Yeah, I’m a great starter. One of my strengths is I really like to begin things….” No, employers (along with teachers, coaches, and everyone else) value people who finish what they start. In other words, they deliver—even after the initial excitement has long faded.
  4. Say please & thank you. Now you may be rolling your eyes (assuming you’re still reading this). This is so simple! You’ve heard this from your parents since you were young. After you made a demand, you heard: “What do we say?” “Please!” Right. We know it’s simple courtesy, but we often forget when we’re making requests to add these small kindnesses. Ever been annoyed when someone directed you to do something without this verbal WD-40? Fellow students, employees, family members all respond favorably to courtesy.

I assume you’re not reeling with wonder at these revelations—this is easy stuff. Yes. Easy to grasp, but sometimes hard to make into habits. Make a point to practice these, and you will develop both your character (internally) and your reputation (with others). You’ll become known as someone who can be counted on. Please do this. Thank you.

Lee McCroskey, M.A., is an adjunct professor at Williamson College, a liberal arts Christian college located in Williamson County, Franklin, Tennessee. He teaches sales, management and leadership courses there.