These things are not only free, they’re important. Regardless of where you sit in the company or how big it is, one size fits all. There is no schedule – you can do these now or anytime. It’s up to you. And good for you if they’re already habit.

Think Strategically

Put yourself in the place of the business owner, be and act like her/him, maybe with a magic wand. Think about the big picture. Don’t be consumed by tactical thinking. Look outward, with a customer and market orientation.

Understand Customer Needs

Know your customer, and your customer’s customer.  Understand what your customer is trying to do, how they are doing it, how they measure success, and how others measure them.

Uncover Innovation and Value

Be committed to continuous learning. Learn to learn, and do it. Network, formally and informally, and interact with all levels of your teams. Forge strategic partnerships and alliances. Be a hub of communication with an attitude of plenty.  Be involved and demonstrate endless curiosity. Develop personal relationships and commitments. Don’t be afraid to show you care and that you don’t know everything.

Execute and Work to Closure

Work to scale with your customer, giving them what they need now, knowing that you can build on it. Get value-adding things done in the here-and-now, with consideration for your customer’s specific situation and abilities. Done right, this is more a sense of purpose and conviction than urgency.

Embrace and Promote Change

Never forget that the things above (really everything) has to be done in context of constant change. You have to be in touch with change and facilitate it. Make time and build a reasonable working understanding of what it takes to change organization, culture, and technology at various levels. Don’t fight it – you cannot win.