Archive for category Successful Career Values

Do You Embrace Constructive Feedback?

Direction for Improvement

Direction for Improvement



Do You Embrace Constructive Feedback?

I’ve read a number of articles recently that profess that constructive feedback fails to improve people’s performance the vast majority of time.  And others even say that all constructive feedback is destructive and an oxymoron.  Really?  I could not disagree more.

Consider this quote from a past article by Mark Murphy, CEO of Leadership IQ. Employees need a lot more feedback about their performance. According to a new study by Leadership IQ, 51% of employees don’t know whether their performance is where it should be. That’s pretty shocking, so I’ll say it again: We asked 3,611 workers across 291 companies to respond to a series of survey questions, including the question “I know whether my job performance is where it should be.” The results? 51% Disagreed while only 21% Agreed (27% were in the middle).

Successful people not only want constructive feedback on their performance, they embrace it.  They know constructive feedback will help them repeat good performance, identify areas for improvement, and help them grow and reach their career goals.  When your performance consistently improves, so does your future.

Now don’t get me wrong. Constructive feedback can be delivered poorly and have the opposite impact than was intended.  When this happens usually the person giving the feedback tries to ease into areas for improvement by sugarcoating the feedback or starting with a positive feedback that finishes with a “but” and an area for improvement.  That’s why I always encourage people to do an honest self-assessment before any formal feedback session.  Then concentrate only on positive items or areas for improvement that were significantly different from your self-assessment.

All of us should embrace constructive feedback.  And if you are responsible for giving constructive feedback, learn how to properly deliver feedback and give it frequently.

Update May 18:  Even Bill Gates agrees –



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Habits For a Successful Career – Habit #4

Passion for Learning

Passion for Learning


Habits for a Successful Career

Habit #4 – Develop a Passion for Learning

After enduring four or more years of college, most people are ecstatic to get out in the ‘real world’ – and stop studying.  Does this sound familiar?  If so, you are in for a HUGE surprise.  A successful career requires people to recognize that learning is a journey, not a destination.  A passion for learning is a prerequisite for Habit #2 – Be Proactive and Adapt to Change and Habit #3 – Build Trust and Credibility.  Continue improving/mastering knowledge and skills in a variety of areas including:


  • Current Events
  • Technology
  • Selling and Negotiation
  • Business/Industry
  • Project Management
  • Management
  • Communication
  • Leadership


Update your goals annually with at least two areas for focused, continued learning and education.  In addition, teaching others is a part of the learning experience.

Current update for Habit #4:  Great article on “The Best Investment You Can Make” -



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Habits for a Successful Career – Habit #3


Trust and Credibility


Habits for a Successful Career

Habit #3 – Build Trust and Credibility

“I don’t trust him/her as far as I can throw him/her”.  Everyone has heard or said that phrase.  So how important is TRUST and CREDIBILITY in a successful career?  Consider this. “With high trust, success comes faster, better and at a lower cost” says David Neeleman, founder of JetBlue Airlines.  What professional does not want to be successful – faster, better, and fairly compensated?

I have worked in all environments – low, moderate and high trust.  When I became an C-Level executive, I knew I needed to build and cultivate trust and credibility with my people, peers and other executives.  But how does one go about building trust and establishing it as a Habit? In the 90’s I was introduced to the writings and teachings of the late Stephen R. Covey and his son Stephen R.M. Covey.  Both have written, taught and consulted on the topic of trust.  I have used their concepts and adapted them to my Life Success and Career Success Values with much success.  Many of my thoughts below are elaborations and adaptations of their writings.

Trust is not just a touchy, feely concept.  Consider this definition of trust from the Covey’s:

TRUST = One’s Character + Ones’ Competency

Trust between people is a combination of a person’s:

Character – What you say/do, How you say/do, and  Why you say/do

Competency -  What you can do, What you do and What results you get

So why is competency required to build trust?  Don’t you just need to be a ‘good person’ – high character?  Let’s look at a doctor/patient relationship.  As a patient needing open heart surgery, would you trust a doctor that had good bed side manners and high personal integrity, but was in their first year as a cardiologist, and had never performed open heart surgery?  Wouldn’t you trust a doctor more experienced/accomplished to do the surgery?  Of course!

People build trust and credibility by building ‘wealth’ in what the Covey’s call an ‘Emotional Bank Account’, EBA.  As with any bank account one can add to the account with deposits and reduce the account with withdrawals.  Here are just a few examples of deposits and withdrawals people can make.


Deposits – Thinks Straight, Talks Straight; Listens to Understand; Manages Expectations; Works to Right Wrongs; Puts Employees First, Then Customers, Then Stockholders; Promotes Win/Win Decisions

Withdrawals -  Shows Disrespect; Listens to Respond; Does Not Trust Others; Talks Behind People’s Backs; Avoids Conflict; Talks the Talk, Does Not Walk the Walk; Shows Intolerance/Inflexibility


Deposits – Is Experienced/Accomplished; Keeps Commitments; Delivers Results; Manages Risks; Solves Root Cause of Problems; Promotes Continuous Improvements; Admits When Wrong or Does Not Know; Demonstrates Leadership

Withdrawals – Does Not Hold People Accountable; Makes Excuses; Blames Others; Does Not Take Responsibility; Sells Poor Ideas; Does Not Understand the Business; Does Not Measure Success; Is Reactive versus Proactive; Does Not Align with Business

So how can you objectively measure your EBA with colleagues? I use the Trust Quotient, TQ:

TQ = EBA Deposits / (EBA Withdrawals * 2.75)

That’s right – withdrawals are more expensive than a single deposit.  So you need almost 3 deposits to make up for a single withdrawal.


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Habits of a Successful Career – Habit #2

Be Proactive - Adapt to Change

Be Proactive – Adapt to Change


Habits for a Successful Career

Habit #2 – Be Proactive and Adapt to Change

Being proactive and adapting to change are two sides of the same coin.  Proactive people learn to anticipate current/future events and take initiative to adapt their actions and/or to shape their results.  They understand change can create problems, but focus on opportunities change creates.  During difficult times, proactive people look for the good in people and events, and can be counted on.  They rarely are the ‘victims’ of change.


An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”  We all have heard this old saying – about being proactive versus reactive in life, at home, or at work.  Both behaviors and concepts are needed.  When a crisis happens, the GOOD people are needed to react to the crisis, like firefighters, doctors, policemen, etc.  They are invaluable in a crisis.  But after the crisis, a doctor, firefighter, etc. would swear preventing the crisis in the first place is more valuable, and less costly, than great ‘firefighting’.

Yet many people, and businesses, ignore the benefits of being proactive, reverting to reactive processes and behaviors usually for the sake of ‘speed’.  The hope they have is that great firefighters will ‘reduce’ the impact of change or a crisis on a business, employees, suppliers, and/or customers.  Some people even thrive on being a firefighter . . . they love the adrenalin rush and immediate satisfaction of ‘fixing’ a problem.  But their behavior is a secondary asset to being proactive.  For every successful career or opportunity in reacting to events and change, proactive people have 10-20 successful careers or opportunities.

Being proactive means anticipating, acting and preventing a problem or crisis, or shaping the results of change.  After a firefight, they act to identify and solve the ‘root cause’ of the problem or crisis so it never happens again.  The benefits are reduced costs, improved quality and less negative impacts on employees, suppliers and customers.  The result includes more career opportunities and successes.


Be Proactive and Adapt to Change – You’ll Like It!



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Habits For a Successful Career – Part 3

Successful Career

Successful Career

                    Habits for a Successful Career-Part 3  


In Part 2 of Habits for a Successful Career discussed the Habit #1 for a Successful Career  – Define Success . . . . For YOU!

Defining YOUR success requires a vision and definition for Life and Career success values.  One without the other rarely works well, and Life Success Values is a prerequisite for sustained, Career Success.  Life Success Values are grouped in three categories: Healthy Self, Social Self, and Spiritual Self. We discussed how to identify your top 15-20 values across these three components, and prioritize the values.  The last  step was to score your success/fulfillment for each value.  Example Life Values/Scorecard can be found on Palomino’s web site at:

To complete the Habit #1, we need: (1) finish  painting a vision and defining success for Career Success Values, (2) to build a map of 2 and 5 year goals aligned with the Life and Career Success Values, and (3) prioritize each goal.  These Career Success Values consistent of the several categories:

  • Achievement
  • Balance with Life Success Values
  • Work Environment and Culture
  • Advancement and Growth
  • Work Relationships
  • Compensation and Security

As with the Life Success Values, identify your top 15-20 career values across the above categories, and prioritize the values at the present time.  Last step is to score your success/fulfillment for each value.  An example Career Values and Scorecard can be found on Palomino’s web site at:

That completes Defining Success for YOU.  In the pursuit of fulfilling, consecutive, progressive achievements,  a successful career, we need a map of prioritized goals of how to get there.  For example, if one of your important career values is rapid advancement, then a set of your high priority goals may include:

  1. Complete project management training in 12 months.
  2. Complete and achieve PMP certification 18 months.
  3. Network to get assigned to at least 3 achievable, visible projects and opportunities over 24 months.
  4. Build network of 12 top performing peers in 24 months.
  5. Build a network of 6 company leaders/mentors in 18 months.

It is important that your goals can stand up to the ‘SMART WIN’ test.  See if the above goals are:

  • S pecific
  • M easureable
  • A chievable
  • R ealistic
  • T imely
  • W ritten
  •  I mportant, Not Urgent
  • N ear Term

Next we will discuss Habit #2 – Be Proactive and Adapt to Change.


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