What makes a CEO great? Their personality? An Ivy League pedigree? Decades of experience and a lengthy resume? It’s more than just charisma, and more than a combination of all of these. Let’s take a look at what the world’s top CEOs have in common. Are you establishing these habits?

A regular morning routine

Whether it’s exercise, meditation, or both, most successful CEOs have a routine for taking care of their bodies and focusing their minds to establish a great foundation for effectiveness. They also establish their priorities for the day.


Be sure you match your calendar to your priorities. If you don’t have priorities, your team won’t either. Don’t just accept meeting invites and respond to every email. Take some time each morning to identify what’s most important to achieving your most important goals. Then, build your calendar and your work plan around those priorities so you can make the most effective use of your time.

Schedule the day around when you’re at your best

Top CEOs know their body rhythms and know when they are at their best. Whether you’re the most effective early in the morning, at midday, or late in the afternoon, you’ll want to organize the most difficult work in your day to occur during your peak hours.


They also take care of their mental health; instead of staying up at night worrying, the best CEOs are listing the things they need to discuss with their key employees and investors. Remember that everyone takes cues from the CEO—so if you’re working through your frustrations effectively, you lead your team by example.

Establish an uninterruptible block of time

Most CEOs have so many priorities that it can be extremely challenging to determine what their major focus should be. Because organizations with competing priorities have little chance for success, it’s a trap you want to avoid. Instead, choose a single topic to focus on within a set  and consistent period of time to clarify the key priorities..


Designate a consistent time to deal with the details of your commitments, critical issues to resolve, and action items to follow-up on. This way, you’ll free yourself to focus on strategic items instead of just putting out the day’s fires or the priorities of others. Your assistant or chief of staff can help keep track of all the issues that might fall through the cracks, as well as acting as a gatekeeper for this crucial part of your day.

Prioritize discussion and dialogue

Great CEOs hire people they can depend on to be experts in their respective field and give them the advice they need. They look for those who are smarter than they are to trust with the big decisions. They seek out those who can figure out better, smarter ways to solve problems. These are the A-team players you’ll want to surround yourself with to develop bigger and better solutions.


The most effective CEOs know when to use text-based communications like email, Slack, or text messages. More importantly, they know when to discuss issues face-to-face in order to get genuine buy-in and commitment to pressing issues. They are diligent about attending the right meetings and end each one by reviewing agreements, next steps, and responsibilities.


Whatever your industry, remain adaptive and maintain a long-term focus. Highly adaptable CEOs are spending up to half their time on strategy for the future—researching potential obstacles rather than reacting to short-term changes. After all, we’ve all heard stories about the companies that didn’t adapt, and that’s a list you want to avoid.