4Feb/150

The Secret to Becoming the Person You Want to Be

Posted by WABC

There is no harder task for adults than changing our behavior.

For many of us, change is impossible because we are so optimistic (and delusional) that we try to change everything at once. We quickly overwhelm ourselves with becoming the “new Me”, and when it doesn’t happen as quickly as we’d like, people don’t notice that we’ve made a change, or some obstacle presents itself, we give up.

Discouraged by our failure, overwhelmed and disheartened, it’s hard to commit to change again. So, we become geniuses at coming up with reasons to avoid change. We make excuses. We rationalize. We harbor beliefs that trigger all manner of denial and resistance—and we end up changing nothing. Ever. We fail to become the person we want to be.

So, seeing our frailties in the face of behavioral change what do we do?

The Wheel of Change

For many years now, I’ve been using “The Wheel of Change” to help clients decide what to change and where to put their efforts. I’ve taken teams, organizations, friends, and peers through this process, and I’ve even use it myself. It is one of the most helpful tools for behavioral change that I’ve ever found.

The Wheel of Change illustrates the interchange of two dimensions that we need to sort out before we can become the person we want to be.

The Wheel of Change

The positive to negative axis tracks the elements that either help us or hold us back. The change to keep axis tracks the elements that we determine to change or keep in the future. Thus, in pursuing any behavioral change we have four options: change or keep the positive elements, change or keep the negative.

Here’s a brief description of each of these options.

  1. Creating represents the positive elements that we want to create in our future. Creating is the glamorous poster child of behavioral change. When we imagine ourselves behaving better, we think of it as an exciting process of self-invention. We’re creating a “new me.” It’s appealing and seductive. We can be anyone we choose to be. The challenge is to do it by choice, not as a bystander. Are we creating ourselves, or wasting the opportunity and being created by external forces instead.
  2. Preserving represents the positive elements that we want to keep in the future. Preserving sounds passive and mundane, but it’s a real choice. It requires soul-searching to figure out what serves us well, and discipline to refrain from abandoning it for something new and shiny and not necessarily better. We don’t practice preserving enough.
  3. Eliminating represents the negative elements that we want to eliminate in the future. Eliminating is our most liberating, therapeutic action—but we make it reluctantly. Like cleaning out an attic or garage, we never know if we’ll regret jettisoning a part of us. Maybe we’ll need it in the future. Maybe it’s the secret of our success. Maybe we like it too much.
  4. Accepting represents the negative elements that we need to accept in the future. Most of us tend to commit to the other three four elements in the wheel of change with greater enthusiasm—creating is innovating and exciting, preserving makes sense as we focus on not losing sight of the good things about ourselves, eliminating appeals to the “do-or-die” element of our natures as we commit to stop doing things that no longer serve us, but accepting is a more difficult pill to swallow. Acceptance is an odd player in the process of change—it feels like admitting defeat, it’s equated by many to acquiescence. Acceptance is incredibly valuable when we are powerless to make a difference. Yet our ineffectuality is precisely the condition that we are most loath to accept. This truth triggers our finest moments of counterproductive behavior.

These are the choices. Some are more dynamic, glamorous, and fun than others, but they’re equal in importance. And three of them are more labor-intensive than we imagine.

And, that’s the simple beauty of the wheel. When we bluntly challenge ourselves to figure out what we can change and what we can’t, what to lose and what to keep, we often surprise ourselves with the bold simplicity of our answers and can thus take significant, real steps towards becoming the person we really want to be.

Written by Coach Marilyn

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.
4Feb/150

Do You Work with a Credit Hog?

Posted by WABC

You know, someone who withholds recognition of your contribution to the team or organization’s success? Even worse do you work with or for someone who steals your ideas or takes credit for the performance of your products/projects? If you do, you probably feel unjustly treated and deprived, as this person claims credit they do not deserve. It’s theft!

When someone you work with steals the credit for a success that you created, they’re committing the most rage-inducing interpersonal “crime” in the workplace. (This is the interpersonal flaw that produces more negative emotion than any other in my feedback interviews with the stakeholders of my coaching clients.) And, it creates a bitterness that’s hard to forget. You might be able to forgive someone for not recognizing your stellar performance. But it’s really hard to forgive someone for recognizing it and brazenly claiming it as his or her own!

Let’s turn the tables. Imagine you’re the perpetrator rather than the victim. Have you ever claimed credit that you didn’t deserve? Most of us have to at least a slight degree. When it comes to determining exactly who came up with a winning phrase in a meeting or exactly who on the team was responsible for holding an important client relationship together during a rocky phase, the evidence gets fuzzy. It’s hard to say exactly who deserves the credit.

Given the choice between grasping the credit for ourselves or leaving it for someone else to claim, many of us will claim more credit than we have earned, and slowly begin to believe it! All the while, the victims of our injustice are seething. You know how you feel as a victim, and you should know how people feel about you for doing the same.

There’s no telling what a group can achieve when no one cares who gets the credit. We know this in our bones. We know it because we remember how good we felt about our colleagues when they accorded us the credit we deserved.

So, why don’t some people reciprocate when someone else deserves the credit? I’m not sure. It could be their upbringing, their need to win, their need to be right. It doesn’t really matter. In life, the best thing to do is be the person that you want to be in the world. If you feel the urge to retaliate with hogging the credit, do the opposite. Share the wealth.

Not sure if you have the credit hogging bug? Start with this simple drill. For one day, make a mental note of every time you privately congratulate yourself on an achievement, large or small. Then write it down. If you’re like me, you’ll find that you pat yourself on the back quite a lot! For me, I celebrate for everything from coming up with a big idea for a client to showing up on time for a meeting to dashing off a clever note to a colleague. There’s nothing wrong with these private thoughts. This pleasure in our own performance is what keeps us motivated, especially on long, arduous days.

You’ve made your list. Now, take apart each episode and ask yourself if it’s in any way possible that someone else might deserve the credit for “your” achievement. If you showed up on time for a meeting across town, is it because you are heroically punctual and thoughtful? Or is it because someone or something reminded you about the meeting? If you came up with a good idea in a meeting, did it spring unbidden from your imagination? Or was it inspired by an insightful comment from someone else in the room. And so on…

As you go through your list, consider this make-or-break question: If any of the other people involved in your episodes were looking at the situation, would they accord you as much credit as you are claiming for yourself? Or would they hand it out to someone else, perhaps even themselves?

Every one of us has a strong bias to remember events in a light that is most favorable to us. This drill exposes that bias and makes us consider the possibility that someone else’s perspective is closer to the truth.

Written by Coach Marilyn

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.
30Oct/140

Two Elements For Effective Delegation: Coaching For Leaders

Posted by Marshall Goldsmith

Many leaders think they need to delegate more to be more effective as leaders. This is frequently not true. Most often leaders don’t need to delegate more, they need to delegate more effectively!

About the Marshall Goldsmith Thinkers50 Video Blog:

The Marshall Goldsmith Thinkers50 Video Blog and accompanying written articles incorporate learnings from my 38 years of experience with top executives, as well as material from my previous research, articles, and books, including What Got You Here Won't Get You There, MOJO, and Coaching for Leadership. Later in the series, you'll learn about my exciting new research on engagement and my upcoming book Triggers.

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.
22Oct/140

One Great Suggestion for Positive Recognition

Posted by Marshall Goldsmith

Dr. Goldsmith talks briefly about a past client who showed him a quick and simple practice that effectively made his recognition of individuals percentage go from 6% to 94%! Learn this system so you can start getting better at providing positive recognition, today!

 

About the Marshall Goldsmith Thinkers50 Video Blog:

The Marshall Goldsmith Thinkers50 Video Blog and accompanying written articles incorporate learnings from my 38 years of experience with top executives, as well as material from my previous research, articles, and books, including What Got You Here Won't Get You There, MOJO, and Coaching for Leadership. Later in the series, you'll learn about my exciting new research on engagement and my upcoming book Triggers.

If you wish to reproduce this article in any material form, you must first contact WABC for permission.