The Challenges of High Achievement

Five Things to Bear in Mind when It Comes to High Achievers

(click below to view the video or read on if you’d prefer!)


happy at workHello and welcome to this ‘back to school’ edition of Career Tips 2014! I hope you have had the chance to relax over the summer months and have returned to your desk "full of beans" as my personal trainer says! During the summer, we took a break from tips to work hard and perform to consider, first, whether you are even reasonably happy at work and, second, how to create for yourself a supportive mental environment in the office so that you maintain a cool composure despite the many and frequent irritations inherent to any workplace.

If you missed the last two months’ articles, you catch them up here.

In this month’s offering, we are going in yet an entirely different direction: I would like to chat with you about high achievers. It is my personal view that high achievers are bit of a unique breed in the office. I workedhigh achiever alongside many of them during my corporate career and many are clients nowadays. I consider that I was myself a high achiever. High achievers are unique in that they demand a lot of themselves but also of others. So this article is designed for those among you who consider yourselves high achievers – so that you may consider easing off a bit and enjoying your work life a tad more possibly – and for managers who have high achievers in their team – to offer some food for thought around how to adjust your style with this type of team member.
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Top 5 Tips to Motivate and Retain Talent

A Template for a Constructive Performance Assessment

(click below to view the video or read on if you’d prefer!)

In this last offering of 2013, I am returning to the topic of performance assessment as many of you will be presently engaged in performance appraisals, whether as recipients or as managers. Frequently in the two capacities. Let me say this upfront: when it comes to the management of their performance, there is now ample evidence that staff members have shifted from being passive recipients to active agents. Indeed, it’s not just Gen Y – employees everywhere and of every generation expect more: more involvement, more accountability and more recognition. staff expectations

Indeed, a recent Gallup poll of over 1 million employees showed that the number one reason people quit their jobs is dissatisfaction with their immediate manager. Have you heard the saying "People leave managers not companies"? Well, we now have ample statistics to back up this statement. And so, for managers, enforcing performance standards in a command and control sort of way no longer works. Managers are now expected to provide ongoing feedback, including positive comments, and for their negative messages to be put forth in a constructive and balanced fashion with a view to guide and inspire, rather than to scold and then provide ready-made solutions.
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3 Steps to Setting and Achieving your Goals in 2013

A Recipe to Keep your New Year’s Resolutions

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Hello and a happy and prosperous 2013 to all! For many, January is the month of so-called "resolutions". And yet, I just read that one in four New resolutionsYear’s resolutions are broken in the first week, that is to say 7 days – at most – since they were made. Impressive! That is to say: impressively depressing!

So how can one do better and keep to more New Year’s resolutions in 2013 of course but also for the following years? Here is a small recipe with just three ingredients that will allow you to make the right New Year’s resolutions for you and to stick with them. I have been using it for years so I know it works!

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The Top 3 Tips to Showcase your Value

The Art of "Ethical Bragging"

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In this third and last article on feedback, let me shift my perspective from the manager’s and how to give helpful feedback to the recipient and how to receive feedback constructively as well as make sure that your accomplishments are properly appreciated and therefore rewarded. In order to ensure your achievements are known and valued, practice the art of "ethical bragging": put yourself forward without arrogance. Here’s how:

Tip #1: be specific too

For those among you who saw my article back in September on performing a self-assessment of your performance, you may recall that I encouraged you to first make a list all the tasks you had completed and then, in a second step, to review each by asking yourself "so what". The purpose of the "so what" question is to bring to light the benefits for your employer of what you accomplished.

(For more on performance self-assessment, click here).

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The Top 3 Mistakes Managers Make When Giving Feedback

The Pitfalls of Giving Feedback

(click below to view the video or read on if you’d prefer!)

In this second article on feedback, I will dwell on a few core aspects of a successful performance appraisal discussion by mentioning what are in my view the top 3 mistakes feedback providers make. There are sadly more than 3 but getting those right will go a long way!

Mistake #1: sugar-coating negative feedback (or the ‘Oreo Cookie’ problem)

In the preceding article, I mentioned the importance of setting the scene. One way to get off to a good start is by making a positive comment even if the rest of the feedback is going to be negative. This is because even the poorest performer has some capability, a talent to celebrate. It shows the feedback recipient that the feedback provider is able to see performance from a multiplicity of angles. Otherwise the recipient could think that the provider is just out to get them and simply ignore the feedback.

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8 Steps to Giving Really Constructive Feedback

A Feedback Conversation Unpacked

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We are in the home stretch, ladies and gentlemen, with only 6 weeks left to Christmas. At the firms I worked at, by now, the annual performance appraisal process was in full gear so in my last three articles for 2011, I will focus on giving and receiving feedback.

In this first article, I will run through 8 key components of a successful feedback discussion. It isn’t just for managers. It’s for anyone for who find themselves on the receiving end of a feedback talk: if it’s not going well, these 8 steps will allow you to steer the conversation into a more constructive direction. And if you find you can’t steer, at least you will have the insight to understand what’s going on and react constructively.

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Beating Drudgery and Dejection Part 2

How Practicing Choice and Gratitude will Help you Stay Motivated

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In the preceding article, I was discussing Drudgery at work and its boon companion Dejection. With Drudgery, all sense of fun is lost and with Dejection motivation goes out the window. I gave you tips to spot Dejection and shared with you how you can use ‘what’ questions to beat it.

For more on spotting and beating Dejection, click here.

Now to Drudgery and giving it a good kick up the backside!
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Beating Drudgery and Dejection Part 1

Keeping your Spirits Up in the face of Adversity with some ‘What’ Questions

(click below to view the video or read on if you’d prefer!)

The other day, a friend wrote me: "I am in a phase of life where everything is just plain drudgery, heavy annoyance and pain internally.…we are all struggling massively…." Does that speak to you too? This is a theme which may resonate with many of you considering the turn for the worse which the financial markets and the economy appear to be taking. The risk of a deepening Eurozone crisis, articles in the financial press about layoffs at the banks, all make for tough working conditions. My heart goes out to every one of you who may feel vulnerable in these current times. You may also feel vulnerable or frustrated if it looks like you won’t be able to complete all your work objectives for 2011, for whatever reason. So this video and the next one are about coping when things go wrong.

I’m sure many of you watching this would say that you work hard, possibly very hard but when it’s drudgery, then working hard becomes hard work, it’s no longer exciting, it’s dull, it’s like putting oneself through some kind of grind… Drudgery usually comes hand in hand with its good friend Dejection which is a state of mind where one is in low spirits. It’s an unhappy place where Drudgery and Dejection dwell. They work as a team to sap your motivation. First, Drudgery takes the fun out of being at work and then Dejection swoops in to make you think that you’re failing. In turn, this feeling of failure prevents you from taking action because you wonder ‘what’s the point?’
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Career Acceleration in Times of Challenge

Interview with Rob Brown, Founder of Business Building for Bankers

I am delighted to share with you the interview which I recorded with Rob Brown of Business Building for Bankers. Rob helps banking professionals increase their influence and win more business. One of the ways Rob does that is by making available to them a vast array of wonderful resources, among which a panel of banking experts offering advice on a large range of issues.

You can listen to the audio recording by clickling on the link just below:

Career Acceleration in Times of Challenge

In the interview, I share with Rob my take on the current state of the banking industry and what this means for ambitious financial sector professionals keen to progress their career. We discuss how much more challenging the present circumstances, the pressure on costs and headcount, are making  moving one’s career forward even if you work very hard.

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Stretch to Impress!

End the Year on a High Note by Delivering on a Stretch Objective!

(click below to view the video or read on if you’d prefer!)

In my last post, I recommended you proactively take stock of where you are at with respect to your work objectives for 2011. Even if you had a midyear performance review, I hope you gave the ‘3 list’ method a go. Not only will it serve you well when the annual performance appraisal process kicks off in a few weeks but being clear today about where you at with respect to your 2011 objectives will make it possible for you to precisely focus your energy for the last 3 months of the year.

If you missed my article on the ‘3 list’ approach to work performance self-assessment, you can see it here.

Now you’re got your three lists, there are two main scenarios:

  1. You’re doing well. In this article, we’ll work on this assumption and look at making use of your restored energy to lift the bar a bit higher and thus end this year with a flourish!
  2. It’s clear that you won’t be meeting all your objectives for 2011. This delicate situation will be the topic of next month’s series so you can still have a decent yearend evaluation.

If you’re doing well with respect to meeting your 2011 objectives, this quarter could simply be about making sure that you steadily complete all outstanding tasks by their due dates. While you should clearly do this at a minimum, it is possible that you may also have the opportunity to raise the bar and exceed your objectives. You could set yourself one or more stretch objective. [Read more…]