Over the course of my career, I’ve noticed that there are several attributes that distinguish extraordinary institutions and extraordinary individuals from ordinary institutions and ordinary individuals. I call these attributes the 8Cs:

1. Moral Compass

This is about knowing right versus wrong, who you are and where you are going. It’s what grounds you, gives you direction and lets you know that you are on the right track.

2. Compassion

This is the idea that you can put yourself in another person’s shoes and feel empathy. It is important to remember that we are not alone in this world; there are others who experience pain and suffering, and many who have it worse than we do.

3. Courage

Courage is about taking risks and being unafraid to fail or to be wrong because you know that you must takes risks and try different approaches to achieve your vision. And, importantly, true courage is displayed not only in the face of adversity, but always.

4. Contribution

This is about doing work that is important and ultimately benefits others. You have to want to make a difference in the world. If the world is not a better place because of your contribution, why do it?

5. Commitment

This is the hard work – the time, energy and brute force you dedicate to achieving your goals and making your contribution. Nothing great was ever accomplished because someone just thought or talked about it. It takes action, diligence and determination.

6. Communication

If you can’t articulate and share your ideas with others, you most likely won’t be able to execute your vision. Communication is critical to everything we do and every interaction we have.

7. Collaboration

Most things require others. We can’t succeed in isolation. Great ideas are made greater when influenced by other perspectives.

8. Creativity

Creativity is far more important than intelligence. If you really want to make a difference in the way you approach your work, look at the world in a novel way – see something unique. Creative people look at the same thing everyone else is looking at, but they see something different, something unique, something innovative.



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