Season’s Greetings

Ho! Ho! Ho!

(Over coffee during an Agile training course)

Student: You weren’t what we were expecting.
P.: What do you mean?
Student: We were expecting a male trainer.
P.: I see.
Student: Actually we were expecting a big man with a beard.
P.: You’re right. I’m no Santa Claus.

What you see isn’t always what you get

A recent conversation with a student reminded me of the importance of keeping an open mind. Most important of all, according to Marshall Goldsmith, we would do well to question the success we attribute to ourselves.

What got you here won’t get you there

In his book on professional development, ‘What What Got You Here Won’t Get You There’, Marshall asserts that most of us are successful not because of personal merit. Instead, Marshall says that most of us are successful in spite of who we are and the things we do.

Marshall identifies the top 20 offences many successful people are guilty of:

1. Winning too much

2. Adding too much value

3. Passing judgment

4. Making destructive comments

5. Starting with ‘No’, ‘But’, ‘However’

6. Telling the world how smart we are

7. Speaking when angry

8. Negativity, or ‘Let me explain why that won’t work’

9. Withholding information

10. Failing to give proper recognition

11. Claiming credit that we don’t deserve

12. Making excuses

13. Clinging to the past

14. Play favourites

15. Refusing to express regret

16. Not listening

17. Failing to express gratitude

18. Punishing the messenger

19. Passing the buck

20. An excessive need to be ‘me’

Do any of these sound familiar? I’m guilty of at least three. What struck me most about the list was that I recognised many of the attributes in the managers with whom I’d worked early on in my career. And yet they continued to be promoted.

In my experience, what Marshall identifies as limiting flaws continues to be rewarded by many organisations. Such organisations are usually highly hierarchical and rigid. Such places are usually mired in all kinds of waste: wasteful management, wasteful individuals, wasted potential. And all because an organisation rewards individual achievement over collaboration, trust and transparency.

Agile Adoption with Change to spare

Agile Adoption requires organisational change. Organisational change requires each of us to make a change for the better, however small, however seemingly insignificant at first glance. Organisational change takes time. And an incredible amount of effort. Personal effort. Some would call it an investment.

3 Responses to “Season’s Greetings”

  1. Consideration and Respect | Selfish Programming writes:

    […] to Marshall Goldsmith highlighting the top 20 flaws that prevent people from becoming more successful, I’ve learned tht being over-judgmental and passing judgment too quickly is something to be […]

  2. David writes:

    Yeah, I’m guilty of at least 20 of them. :-)

  3. Easter Eggs and Chocolate Bunnies | Selfish Programming writes:

    […] to executive coach, Marshall Goldsmith, being over-judgmental is one of the top 20 flaws of highly successful people. I’m inclined to […]

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