The Breakfast of Champions for Peak Performers

Know what this means:  (SQ) > R(C)? Alan Webber, the co-founder of Business Week said change happens when the cost of maintaining the status quo is greater than the risk of change. The key is in knowing when that tipping point to make change happen and forego the status quo

Tony Schwartz the President and CEO of the Energy Project and author of Be Excellent at Anything touched on the subject of change in a recent article in Fast Company, “The 10 Principles to Live by in Fiercely Complex Times”. Can’t you just feel the energy in that title? Schwartz doesn’t beat around the bush in how to make change happen. We like the honesty of it because once you accept the truth, you have a baseline from which to improve.  Otherwise, you’re operating from mush:

Accept yourself exactly as you are but never stop trying to learn and grow. One without the other just doesn’t cut it. The first, by itself, leads to complacency, the second to self-flagellation. The paradoxical trick is to embrace these opposites, using self-acceptance as an antidote to fear and as a cushion in the face of setbacks.

You can’t change what you don’t notice and not noticing won’t make it go away. Each of us has an infinite capacity for self-deception. To avoid pain, we rationalize, minimize, deny, and go numb. The antidote is the willingness to look at yourself with unsparing honesty, and to hold yourself accountable to the person you want to be.

To really find your weak or blind spots, requires an ability to get feedback. This is tough. You can feel vulnerable or defensive.  Marshall Goldsmith who pioneered a method of feedback, called Feedforward, says “One of the best ways top executives can get their leaders to improve is to work on improving themselves. Leading by example can mean a lot more than leading by public-relations hype. Michael Dell is a perfect example. As a successful leader, he could easily have an attitude that says, ‘I am Michael Dell and you aren’t! I don’t need to work on developing myself.’ Michael, however, has the opposite approach. He sincerely discusses his personal challenges with leaders across the company. He is a living case study from whom everyone at Dell is learning. His leadership example makes it hard for any leader to act arrogant or to communicate that he or she has nothing to improve upon.”

In fact, Timothy R. Clark, author of The Leadership Test says, “When we are coachable, we are prepared to be wrong. We can withstand a high degree of candor. We are willing to let others evaluate — and perhaps even plumb the depths of our performance because we understand that the journey of personal development cannot be traveled alone. We understand that our first fiduciary obligation is to ourselves, and that obligation is to gain accurate self-knowledge and then take the next step of progress. For the highly coachable, feedback, as the chalkboard aphorism goes, really is the breakfast of champions.”

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