The 12 Characteristics of Exceptional Employees

By March 26, 2018 December 2nd, 2021 03. Intellectual Dimension

Hi, Doug Andrew here.

Recently, I was published in “Thrive Global.” This is a publication where Arianna Huffington started the “Huffington Post”—which she sold for $300 million—and I still get published there, also. But she has an incredible publication, “Thrive Global,” that I get interviewed on several times.

She shared with her subscribers “The 12 Characteristics of Exceptional Employees.” These are 12 critical things that Sharee, my wife, and I have taught our children and our grandchildren at Grandpa’s Camp.

It all sort of started at the Genius Network®* in New York a few years ago. Richard Rossi, a friend of mine, gave a 10-minute talk on “Eight Things That You Must Teach Your Children” that, unfortunately, colleges and universities, the education system are not teaching.

He quoted a gentleman who had invested $1.5 million on his two sons’ college educations. One had two PhDs and the other had an MBA. And when they got through and graduated, they moved back home because they couldn’t find a job.

Now, we taught these eight principles that Richard shared. I added four to it, and it’s a total of 12 things that the schools are not effectively teaching. And those two young men had job interviews lined up starting at a quarter of a million dollars or more.

And so, we actually have a worksheet where I will go out sometimes and teach how to prepare for the job you want. And it includes these 12 principles.


1. To always be responsible and accountable. Don’t deal below the line—blaming or justifying or operating in shame. (“I’m not smart enough or good enough, etc.”) Respond with all your ability and be accountable.

2. Have an attitude of gratitude about everything—to make sure that you’re grateful and you have the proper perspective and not this entitlement mindset of, “Oh, golly how come you didn’t give me…or what do you pay for…?”

3. Goal setting. We actually have a goal activator tool to help people understand how to set goals and have a vision for a brighter future.

4. How to consciously train the mind and body to unconsciously act in harmony with your family values and vision. The time to say “no” to things that you don’t want to get involved with, drugs or alcohol or whatever, isn’t in the moment, it’s long before that. We teach that principle.

5. Critical thinking and problem solving. I can’t believe how many college graduates do not know how to critically think, and so we have a Solution Formulator to show them how to think through any issue or problem and come up with a solution.

6. Effective time management. Sometimes, I’ve never seen time wasted so much as with college students. How to effectively manage their time to produce the best results.

7. Active listening. Articulate writing and speaking. I’ve seen college graduates with communications degrees, and they come in to interview and they can’t even communicate. And I sometimes go, “What was that all about?” How to be able to succinctly explain or express what you believe in.

8. The ability to take negative experiences in life—which we all have—and turn them into positive outcomes. I call this the Negative Experience Transformer. Some of the greatest breakthroughs that have ever happened are when people had negative experiences and they sat down and wrote down what they learned from it. Because the world loves usefulness. And they will compensate you for your wisdom.

9. Selling, persuading and negotiating skills. How to be sincerely interested in other people and be able to sell yourself. How can you be able to sell someone on hiring you if you can’t even sell yourself and the skills to that person?

10. Likability, charisma and influence. I call this “having batteries included.” Sometimes I’ve had people come in to interview, and their parents say, “How did they do?” And I say, “Golly, I wish they had batteries included.” And they go, “Yeah, we have the hardest time getting them energized.” And that’s the last thing a father wants a son-in-law that he has to try to charge him up every day with what to do. You want him to have batteries included, to be self-motivated.

11. To be entrepreneurial, innovative. To be able to understand the freedoms of time and be able to earn money, create value, and be compensated honestly. The freedom of purpose and freedom of relationships. That’s all I want my children and grandchildren to understand and appreciate, and then they can do anything. So many people on this planet have never had those freedoms.

12. The last one is to conquer fear and build never-ending faith and confidence in a brighter future. Together, we’re better, and the future can always be better than the past.

Once we teach these 12 things to our employees, our children and grandchildren, I’m convinced they’ll be captains of their own souls—able to handle any curveball that life throws at them—never unemployed, self-reliant individuals. Because unemployment is a mental condition, not a physical condition. Security is in the individual, not in a job.

* Doug Andrew has been a member of the prestigious Genius Network® Mastermind group ( for several years.


  We can’t assume our children will learn everything they need to be successful in school. Too many college graduates—even with post-graduate degrees—enter their careers ill-prepared to make a significant impact.

  Building on principles gleaned from colleagues like Richard Rossi, Doug has assembled 12 Characteristics of Exceptional Employees.

  These 12 characteristics relate to life, as well, as career, including goal setting, critical thinking, responsibility, entrepreneurship, and more.

  As individuals incorporate these characteristics, they can be prepared to rise to the top of their industry and become influential leaders.

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