Monday, February 12, 2007

THE BUDDHIST IN THE BOARDROOM

Want to improve at work, the Marshall Goldsmith way? In his new book, "What Got You Here Won't Get You There," Goldsmith offers four exercises. He calls them "stealth techniques" that will "identify the main problems in your workplace behavior."

1. Make a list of people's casual remarks about you. For one whole day, write down all the comments that you hear people make to you about you. At the end of the day, review the list and rate each comment as positive or negative. If you look at the negatives, some patterns will emerge. Do this again the next day and the next. Eventually, you'll compile enough data about yourself to establish your challenge.

2. Look homeward. Your flaws at work don't vanish when you walk through the door at home. If you really want to know how your behavior is coming across with your colleagues and clients, stop admiring yourself in the mirror. Let your colleagues hold the mirror and tell you what they see. If you don't believe them, go home. Pose the same question to your loved ones-the people in your life who are most likely to be agenda-free and who truly want you to succeed.

3. Turn the sound off. When my clients get bored in meetings, I ask them to pretend they're watching a movie with the sound off. They see how people physically maneuver and gesture to gain primacy. They lean forward toward the dominant authority figure. They turn away from people with diminished power. They cut rivals off with hand gestures. You can do the same for yourself: turn the sound off and watch how people physically deal with you. Do they lean toward you or away? Are they trying to impress you or are they barely aware of your presence? If the indicators are more negative than positive, you'll know you aren't making the right impression.

4. Complete the sentence. Pick one thing you want to get better at. Then list the positive benefits that will accrue if you achieve your goal. For example, "I want to get in better shape. If I get in shape, one benefit to me is that . . . I will live longer." That's one benefit. Then keep doing it. "If I get in shape, I'll feel better about myself." That's two. Keep going until you exhaust the benefits. As you get deeper into your list, the answers become less corporately correct and more personal. That's when you realize you've hit on an interpersonal skill that you really want and need to improve. (More)

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