What makes a successful student or person? While there are a LOT of items on that checklist, there are a set of skills that can make it a great deal easier to be successful. This skill set is called executive functioning. It is a broad group of mental skills that enable people to complete tasks and interact with others. It is a skill set that allows a student/person to write that final paper, plan a business outline, or follow a set of instructions on what chores to do in a specific manner.