What is that special “mojo” that seems to characterise the high flyers and high performers in all walks of life? From our perspectives in working with talent, we would like to outline a number of critical drivers which top talent have intuitively built into their own recipes for success. We believe they are important for delivering results, unleashing talent and potential and making successful choices and decisions – in any career pursuit or future endeavour.

We have all been witness to the successes of young superstars and their heroic achievements in their respective fields of endeavour – ranging from sport, business, music, theatre to science and technology. They don’t just perform well by accident! So the question is “what are the qualities or characteristics that contribute to any successful person’s success?”

We believe that the successful player or top achiever has a natural ability in combining a number of key attributes and significant skillsets into a winning formula, which we refer to as the “X Factor” of talent in Business:

Purpose – you need to push yourself relentlessly as to what you want in life, what specific goals you set, what milestones you have identified on the path to getting there, and the end goal which you envisage or picture for yourself;

Self-mastery – in the end it is all about self: the insights you need in order to take action, the accountability you require to keep to the plan you have chosen, the discipline necessary to execute your skills, and the confidence to build on the belief that you will succeed;

Mind-set – attitude is the glue that holds all this together; the difference between impossible and possible is a state of mind; if you cultivate the correct positive thoughts, possibility thinking and appropriate inner conversations, you will be surprised at what a difference this makes in your approach to any challenge or threat;

Action – you need to commit and be proactive to ideas and possibilities, and should be persistent and determined in your quest for change;

Change – you need to understand the changes occurring in the world, organisations, and the workplace and at a local level. Stay informed, so that you are positioned to respond and cope with change. In particular, be willing and able to move out of your comfort zone and personal ‘view’ of the world, by making that shift towards what really works in the current and new context;

Creative thinking and initiative – change is about difference and difference comes from different thinking. The solution to today’s challenges comes from bold, innovative thinking and an unwavering belief to try new ideas, approaches and experiment with different options from what was applied before; and

Continuous learning – cultivate an attitude of curiosity and openness to new information, ideas, opportunities and especially feedback from others on how you can hone your skills and knowledge and achieve better results.

To be more effective in your job and your career, you also need the ability to reframe – to understand the broader context within which you are working by asking what is happening in the world, your country, your industry, your organisation, your team. This will help you gain perspective and meaning and give you a better conceptual understanding of where you fit into the bigger picture! When you have a greater awareness and insight of the broader context of an issue, activity or role, the choices you make and the decisions you take will be more effective. Like a photographer, it is vital that you have the tendency to “zoom in and out” and align the way you think and act with the bigger picture in your world of work – and to have the awareness and understanding of external influences continuously shaping your world.