CHANGING THE 12 BEHAVIOR
THAT KEEP YOU FROM GETTING AHEAD
by James Waldroop Ph.D.
and Timothy Butler Ph.D.
Directors of MBA Career Development at the Harvard Business School. Twenty years relevant experience. Business Psychologists, Psychotherapists, Executive Coaches to many Fortune 500 companies, helping individuals work to their highest level of potential.
Take Care of Your Career - Proactively
You cannot change who you are. (At least not at this stage of genetic engineering!) Nor what has happened in your past. Nor luck. (Except that the harder you work, the luckier you get.) But you can change your behavior.
The twelve failure behaviors we have described are rooted in fundamental personality structures. Recognize that you may not be able to totally and permanently eradicate your failure behaviors but you certainly can successfully restrain and control them - if you proactively manage them. The key to your success is:
- acknowledge - not deny - your symptoms
- apply these Waldroop and Butler insights to yourself
- work hard changing your self-defeating behavior
Your objective is intelligent, persistent suppression. Absolute victory may not be attainable.
And always be aware of Waldroop's and Butler's
definition of success:
Success is the (positive) difference between what we have been given - and what we make of it.
A List of Failure-Behavior Symptoms, Signs and Tips
SYMPTOMS OF BEHAVIOR DEFICITS IN YOURSELF:
Feelings and sensations you have - that others may not see:
- 'spinning my wheels'
- 'stop and start' career
- 'This is not for me'
- 'I could do better'
SIGNS OF BEHAVIOR DEFICITS IN OTHERS:
Things you see in others:
- erratic performance
- could do better
- high maintenance
- subject of complaints
- cannot handle peers or reports or superiors
- needs to be 'parented'
TIPS FOR CURING YOUR OWN FAILURE BEHAVIORS:
- Do you want to change?
- Do it now
- Get help from a 'buddy'
- Don't 'shoot' the messenger
- Study the anthropology of your company
- Know the group culture
- Identify worthwhile role-models - in the firm and outside
- Define 'good enough' and then stick with it
- 80-20 rule. The first 20% of your effort gets 80% of the result
- To accept a rule does not mean that you bow to it
- Beware of knee-jerk responses - rebellion or acceptance
- Don't abuse power - it's not a four-letter word
- Develop empathy - learn to read other people accurately
- Money, fame, instant gratification can be treacherous temptations
- See how far you've come - look behind as well as ahead
- Think about your weaknesses - take your time
- Know your fears - and then manage them
- Know your own physical responses to your self-defeating behaviors
- To change yourself, take small easy steps towards one or two specific goals
- Go for quick wins
- Be effective - don't always insist on being 100% 'right'
- Choose whether you want to a manager (who gets work done by others) or an individual contributor (who does the work her or himself)
- After an argument make sure to 'rebuild that bridge'
- Use reminders - changed often - to ensure you don't forget
- Say a genuine 'I'm sorry' when you're wrong
- If others fight dirty, know that - and how you'll fight back
TIPS FOR CURING OTHER'S FAILURE BEHAVIORS:
- Is s/he worth your effort?
- Be prepared to fire him or her if the problem is too serious
- Are you the right person to help?
- Take notes beforehand
- Plan the meeting
- Show examples of the self-defeating behavior - and better alternatives
- Go for quick wins
- Avoid a tug-of-war. If s/he adopts a contrary position, agree absolutely with it
- Use double-binding: 'I have something to tell you and I know you will disagree'
- If appropriate, ask the person if s/he wants to be a manager or an individual contributor
- Help them to write and rehearse difficult discussions
- Agree goals - not perfection
- After the discussion 'rebuild that bridge'
- Meet regularly
- Share observations as soon as possible after any subsequent event
- As a manager you are always a 'parent'
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