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10 Ways to Stay at the Top of Your Leadership Game

Massive disruption and tech innovations are transforming the way we do business, share information, see the world and live our lives. For business leaders, this makes it particularly challenging to stay ahead of the competition and on top of the latest trends or technology.

With the theme “Sharpen Your Edge,” as we look ahead to YPO EDGE 2017 in Vancouver, we asked 10 chief executives from around the world about how they stay sharp as business leaders. From meditation to having a clear vision of the end goal, here are their responses.

1. TAKING TIME OUT IS CRITICAL
I sharpen my edge by ensuring time out and off-the-grid. In this day and age, having time out is critical. I also read a book a month to keep me current on the topics relevant to my businesses and our success. — Carl Bates, Chief Executive of Sirdar Group and Co-founder of Contribution Compass, YPO member since 2010 in South Africa

2. BUILD A CLEAR VISION OF YOUR PERSONAL AND PROFESSIONAL GOALS
I have set my priorities and my values to have clear rules to follow when I am under pressure. I have built a clear vision to define where I want to go professionally and personally, and both need to be fully aligned. If I lose the balance, I review the integrated vision to realign. This makes me focus on what is important. I keep my health (body and mind) as a top priority. I practice, mindfulness, Pilates and healthy eating. Love and good relations at work and in life makes the rest of it. — Gemma Godall, Founding Partner of Instituto de Inteligencia Emocional, YPO member since 2008 in Spain

3. HAVE FAITH AND STAY HUMBLE
Have faith. Stay humble and respect all changes. Be faithful to your initial mission and often check back. Go ‘back to school’ at least twice a year to recharge. — Shiyin Cai, Founder and CEO of Mengxi Real Estate Development Ltd, YPO member since 2012 in China

4. FOCUS ON ALL ASPECTS OF LEADERSHIP
The world of business is moving at a pace never been seen before. Industries are consolidating, connectivity is changing the market place, competition is disruptive, and the war for talent is relentless. To remain a relevant leader in today’s environment, demands us to sharpen our edge in all leadership dimensions. — Michael Zacka, President of Tetra Pak Asia, YPO member since 2013 in Singapore

5. GET OUT OF YOUR HEAD
I keep my edge by meditating. I believe we need to ‘get out of our heads’ regularly to maintain momentum. — Greg King, Director of Ascot Capital Limited, YPO member since 2006 in Australia

6. MEET NEW PEOPLE 
I stay sharp as a business leader by trying to meet a person outside my normal circles every two weeks. In an increasingly volatile world it’s important to get differing sources on information and viewpoints to help navigate the way forward. — Dhruv L. Pandit, Director of Executive Residency by Best Western, Nairobi, YPO member since 2004 in Kenya

7. THINK LIKE A STARTUP
Every few years I ‘restart’ my current core business by changing its products and direction completely. This keeps me on my toes and I am forced to think like a startup all the time. I also visit and help some of the less fortunate citizens of the world so that I am reminded that I have a higher purpose in life. Their success is my success. —Nina Chen, CEO of Harvest Education Technical College, YPO member since 2016 in Australia

8. BREAK A SWEAT
I start every day with a workout (usually SoulCycle). It energizes me, and keeps stress at bay. I’m at my best after a good sweat session; it always gets the day off to the right start. — Carolyn Betts Fleming, CEO of Betts Recruiting, YPO member since 2014 in the United States

9. GO BACK TO SCHOOL
Once every 10 years, I do a big course like an Advanced Management Program (AMP) or Owner/President Management (OPM). Every year, I try to attend one University and every six months an international YPO event. And I read a lot, especially the latest books about strategy and business models. — Enrique Quemada, President of ONEtoONE Corporate Finance Group, YPO member since 2012 in Spain

10. PUSH YOUR BODY AND MIND TO THE EDGE
To win you need to have strong mental discipline. I compete in endurance events which physically pushes my body and mind to the edge, this training keeps me sharp as a business leader. — Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin, CEO of BlueChilli, YPO member since 2016 in Australia


Jovie Baclayon oversees social media for YPO and previously worked with E! Entertainment Online, Your Success Network and Pepperdine University. She graduated from the University of Southern California in broadcast journalism, international relations and French.