Archive for category Successful Careers

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 #7

Develop Your People Skills

Develop Your People Skills


Habits For a Successful Career

Habit #7 – Develop Your People Skills

Is one of your top career goals to become an executive, owner or partner in a business venture, or a university president?  Then Habit #7 is a primary concern.  Is one of your near term career goals to become a team leader, project leader, supervisor or manager?  Then Habit #7 is a primary concern.  Whether your career goals shoot for the stars or are more modest, people with successful careers have people skills that are above expectations because 60%+ of their role and responsibility involves People, not human assets or resources, PEOPLE.  You lead people, and manage things.  Habit #7 has seven people skills to be developed, improved, and possibly mastered including:

Order of Importance

  1. Listening to Understand (Covey)This is the most important people skill because it sets up success for the other six skills.  Most people, like many politicians, listen to ‘respond’, not understand.  True listening means asking clarifying questions, restating what you heard and empathizing with others to really understand what they are communicating.
  2. Communicating: Speaking, Writing, Presenting – Once you have mastered listening, then improve your communication skills in conversations, writing for business and making small and large group      presentations.
  3. Selling – Many people do not think selling is an important people or career skill unless they are in ‘sales’,      but people sell ideas and actions every day with colleagues at work, and with family and friends outside of work.
  4. Negotiating – Negotiating skills are the flip side of selling skills, and are very important if you aspire to be in a leadership position in any capacity.  In addition, improving your selling and negotiation skills are prerequisites to the next skill – resolving conflicts.
  5. Resolving Conflicts – All organizations, i.e. people, have conflicts – some small and some large.  The worse thing a successful person or a person in a leadership position can do is ignore or hide from      conflicts.  Improving your skills in this area will help remediate larger conflicts and resolve other without  destroying relationships.  In fact, it can help build trust and credibility.
  6. Motivating/Energizing – As hard as some people try to improve their people skills, many of us cannot ‘master’ all seven skills.  But they cannot be ignored!  For example, as an executive, I never ‘mastered’ the art of motivating and energizing people via public speaking.  To compensate, I brought in speakers that had a great motivating and energizing presence and then I would reiterate their points and lead by example to energize people in my organization.
  7. Mentoring/Coaching – Mentoring is a skill and quality seen in the most successful people and careers.  It is not only valuable to the person being mentored, but in many ways is as valuable to the mentor.  Put some gratitude in your attitude and help others develop their skills by mentoring and coaching them.

How many people skills are you proficient or a ‘master’?













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Habits for a Successful Career – Habit #6

Understand the Business

Understand the Business










Habits of a Successful Career

Habit #6 – Understand the ‘Business’

In understanding how things operate, you need to know what makes them tick – their ‘gears’.  This analogy is the same for all organizations and business ventures.  Most people’s careers are associated with business ventures: small, medium, or large.  These ventures can be for-profit, non-profit, or public service.  No matter what your position/career, consistently successful people must have, at a minimum, a good working knowledge of the breadth and depth of their business venture.  Of course, they have a greater depth of knowledge in their chosen professional/career area, but they also know all of the business ‘gears’, and interactions with each other.  Go for breadth of knowledge, then depth, of the ‘gears’ outside of your area.  Habit #4, Passion for Learning, complements Habit #6.  Continually learn and expand your knowledge in the business areas including, but not limited to:

  • Industry and Competitors
  • Business Model and Business Units
  • Economics and Key Performance Indicators
  • Products and/or Services
  • Business Processes
  • Technology and Systems
  • Accounting, Budgeting (capital and operating), and Financials
  • Sales and Customers
  • Critical Projects and Initiatives
  • Organization Chart and Key Leaders


This knowledge will make you more valuable inside and outside of your company.





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