Some of major points in the book.
True To Yourself – Everybody Lies Especially to Ourselves
“Telling the truth” gets short shrift in corporations. Being honest requires courage and a willingness to be vulnerable to others, but it confers many surprising benefits.
First, your career success depends on your relationships: “with yourself, your boss, your peers and those you lead.” To move ahead, work to improve these relationships, especially your relationship with yourself.
Hold yourself accountable and take ownership of everything you do, say and accomplish – or don’t accomplish, as the case may be. Your relationship with yourself demands courage and “truth telling.” Accept the fact that you create your own reality.
Successful leadership depends on authenticity, which demands being honest with yourself. You will never be truthful with others if you can’t be truthful with the person in the mirror.
Face up to who you are and what you can become. See yourself as a work in progress. Everything comes down to the choices you make – today, tomorrow and in the days ahead. To see more on the choices I made, take a look at my #365 challenge. I am a work in progress.
Positive change starts with being willing to transform yourself.
Men have a tendency to avoid critical self-analysis. Many men are more comfortable with self-satisfaction than any kind of self-discovery. Women can be immensely self-critical.
For men generally, the most effective self-improvement tactic is to exhibit the humility typical of many women; the best plan for women generally is to adopt the bravado typical of many men.
Create Personal Declaration
Create a Personal Declaration, a written statement that distills important information about yourself and your priorities. This working document enables you to define yourself and develop natural, conversational talking points. You want to capture “what makes you tick.” Write down details about your parents and siblings, your spouse or partner and any children, your philosophy of life (in a sentence), your guiding principles and values, your strengths and weaknesses, what you would do if you had all the money you need, and your personal and professional goals.
I record it on my blog, although it is password protected.
Define in writing exactly what you want to accomplish, for instance, where you’d like to be in your family life and career in five or ten years. Revisit your personal declaration as you refine your self-awareness and goals.
As you build your self-portrait, consider these tips:
- Mentors can be invaluable. Explain to your mentor the assistance you need.
- Be conscious of the impression you make. Invest in quality clothing and personal tailoring to always look your best.
- To operate at peak effectiveness, use the “Pomodoro Technique.” Your brain can maintain focus for only 25 minutes. Pomodoro calls for taking 5- to 15-minute breaks after 25 minutes of concentrated work. Try working on this schedule: “25-5-25-5-25-15.”
- Also take time away from work to enjoy a “worry-free, unplugged vacation.”
Your Very Own Mastermind Group
Organize a mastermind group to assist you in life and work. A smaller group is best; limit your group to six people. Select people you trust, and spend time cultivating them. Help the members of your personal crew as you’d like them to help you.
I a bit worry that my boss might be reading this though. Nonetheless, the notes are quite great guide for everyone.
If your relationship with your boss is rocky, adjust the way you act to try to create a more positive, rewarding interaction. Understand that changing things for the better is your job. To transform this relationship, lead your boss. Share your information from your Personal Declaration during a scheduled one-on-one meeting, the earlier in your relationship the better.
Divulging personal details about your life requires courage, but courage often brings success.
“As long as you choose to work for your boss, your job is to get in sync with that person – not the other way around.”
Find out about your boss.
Consider his or her “greatest strengths, greatest weaknesses, pet peeves or hot buttons,” as well as how decision making processes and tactics for coping with conflict.
Examine the real person behind the facade. Learn what energizes him or her.
To get your boss on your side, think and act like a business owner. That means rigorously investigating your firm. “Why does your company exist?” How does it make money?
Learn about its customers; profit margins; and production, marketing and overhead costs. Learn how your department contributes to your company’s goals.
Study and embrace your firm’s culture.
Such investigative work helps you develop an “enterprise-wide mind-set” that will impress your boss. Treat your supervisor the way you want people on your team to treat you. Go out of your way to anticipate issues before they become problems. Deliver your work on time and according to specifications. Always give your boss the benefit of the doubt.
“No matter how direct your leader’s communication style, remember that just because they can dish it doesn’t mean they can take it.”
Note – I learnt this the hard way. I suggest none of you to try to do the same. I was simply, naive and dumb.
If you aren’t on your supervisor’s wavelength, get on it – quick. You may think your manager is a “jerk” and you might blame personality issues as the reason you don’t get along. Whether he or she is a jerk makes no difference.
Your boss isn’t going to be the one who changes; you will. It’s either that or try to move along to a new boss. Don’t bother your boss with what’s on your mind. Learn what’s on his or her mind instead.
You and your boss will disagree. Don’t post a challenge, at least not initially. First develop a positive working relationship. Once you establish goodwill, then you can disagree. Your boss won’t hear you if you haven’t first created a reservoir of amicable dealings.
Use these techniques to provide “genuine affirmation” of your boss’s daily actions:
- “Compliment in private” – For example, you might say, “It really inspired me when you stood up in front of the organization and delivered that tough message with such compassion and balance. Great job!”
- “Praise in public” – Compliment your boss to the next person up the ladder.
- “Say thank-you” – Whenever your manager does something nice on your behalf, show your appreciation with a hearty thank-you. Deliver this message in person if you can; if not, a “quick text message, email or phone call will work.”
Lead Your Peers
“Leading your peers requires you to lead by example. One incredibly important way to do that is to ’fess up when you mess up.”
People who must work or live closely together develop tensions. Don’t let tensions build. Be forthright and deal honestly with whatever is happening. Speak up for yourself if a co-worker treats you poorly.
“Building a great team, just like cooking a great meal, takes planning, time and effort. When well done, the result is delicious.”
When you plan how to handle things this way, think carefully before you speak. Make sure you feel rested and psychologically prepared for your encounter. Dealing with the incident and your colleague in a straightforward and truthful manner usually forestalls future ill treatment.
Sometimes, the problem doesn’t spring from someone else’s actions, but from your own. When you’re at fault, don’t feel bad. Everyone makes mistakes. When you are at fault, recognize your mistake and apologize quickly. To make an effective apology, establish eye contact, include this phrasing: “I was wrong…but more importantly you were right,” and finish by asking, “How can I fix this?” The last question is essential. For an apology to be authentic, you must make an effort to fix the situation.
“There is nothing better than a well-timed, honest, positive statement of appreciation from another human being.”
Build lasting relationships with your peers by:
- Asking for their assistance – Demonstrate your vulnerability in areas where they have skills and abilities that you lack. Let your colleagues know you recognize their expertise.
- Giving them a platform – For instance, ask them to address a session you’re leading.
- Offering assistance – Ask if you can do anything to provide support.
- Endorsing and encouraging them – Assure your colleagues that they’d done a good job or suggest ideas that support their projects. This is a deposit in “your mutual relationship’s bank account.”