Maximum Success: Changing the 12 Behavior Patterns That Keep You From Getting Ahead


Maximum Success is a compelling exploration of the behavior patterns that cause people to undermine their careers-as well as specific advice on how to overcome them. Have you ever wondered why some people seem to rise effortlessly to the top, while others are stuck in the same job year after year? Have you ever felt you are falling short of your career potential? Have you wondered if some of the things you do-or don't do-at work might be ...
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Maximum Success is a compelling exploration of the behavior patterns that cause people to undermine their careers-as well as specific advice on how to overcome them. Have you ever wondered why some people seem to rise effortlessly to the top, while others are stuck in the same job year after year? Have you ever felt you are falling short of your career potential? Have you wondered if some of the things you do-or don't do-at work might be hamstringing your ambitions?

In Maximum Success, James Waldroop and Timothy Butler, directors of MBA career development at the Harvard Business School, identify the twelve habits that over and over again-whether you are a retail clerk or a partner in a law firm, whether you work in technology or in a factory-are almost guaranteed to hold you back.

While an examination of the habits of highly effective people has made Stephen Covey's book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People a self-help classic, the fact is that most people learn their greatest lessons not from their successes, but from their mistakes. Maximum Success offers the flip side to Covey's approach, zeroing in on the most common behavior patterns that can impede a career. The authors claim, based on over twenty years of research as business psychologists, that the reasons people fail in their jobs are the same everywhere. Yet, once these detrimental behaviors are identified, the patterns that limit career advancement can be broken.

Using real-life accounts of clients they have worked with at Harvard and as executive coaches at such companies as GTE, Sony, GE, and McKinsey & Co., Waldroop and Butler describe the habits that havederailed even the most successful people. More important, they offer invaluable-and, in some cases, job-saving-advice on how readers can modify their behavior to get back on track.

Among the Career-stoppers that can stymie Maximum Success:

  • Focusing on the downside of any situation and obsessing over all the things that can go wrong

  • Cherishing the naïve belief that merit alone is enough and that office politics, networking, and self-promotion don't matter

  • Feeling that you aren't "good enough" to deserve a promotion-and unconsciously sabotaging yourself once you get it

  • For anyone seeking to achieve their career ambitions,
  • Maximum Success
  • is a powerful tool for unleashing your true potential.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Superbly suited to write an authoritative book on career success, these two Harvard Business School psychologists have developed an Internet-based career assessment program used in business schools and have amassed considerable insight into the realities of workplace behavior patterns through their research and executive coaching. In this comprehensive book, they strive for a tone that's authoritative but not too academic, and succeed in creating a thoughtful book that is helpful, though curiously bland--especially compared to Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, whose market the authors seem to target. Arguing that people can learn from their failures, Waldroop and Butler focus on personal weaknesses rather than successes, identifying a dozen behaviors and attitudes that can sabotage career growth in otherwise talented individuals, such as feeling inadequate, seeing issues in black and white, trying to be a hero who can do everything, avoiding conflict at any cost, operating out of fear, being a rebel or too much of a risk-taker, and losing focus. They describe these Achilles' heels in colloquial terms before analyzing the psychology behind them, using case studies from their practice to illustrate common patterns and show the effect on organizations. Readers who find themselves or their colleagues depicted here stand to gain insight into dealing with their own weaknesses and handling others who exhibit them. The authors' credentials, along with the book's accessibility and right-on positioning, is likely to propel this book onto business bestseller charts, though some readers may wish for a more compelling presentation. Agent, Kris Dahl at ICM. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780641545085
  • Publisher: Doubleday Publishing
  • Publication date: 9/19/2000
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 325
  • Product dimensions: 6.38 (w) x 9.49 (h) x 1.14 (d)

Read an Excerpt

Never Feeling Good Enough

IN A WORLD OVERPOPULATED WITH OUTSIZE EGOS, PAUL seemed to be an anomaly. He had an ego that was too small for his considerable abilities and his position. A big international bank in New York had hired him away from a smaller bank in Texas for a high-profile job taking charge of a group of loan officers who, after some heady early successes, had involved the bank in several dangerous arrangements in Latin America. When the Mexican peso collapsed, the bank had taken a financial bath, suffering tens of millions of dollars in losses. Paul's assignment was to rein in the lending group, to ensure that the necessary "due diligence" had been done on major loans before any further commitments were made.
Paul, who was in his early forties at the time, clearly had both the intellect and the experience to handle the job. Although he had never been a manager, he had considerable know-how as a banker, and Latin America was his specialty. Moreover, Paul had succeeded at everything he had ever done. He had been a top student in both college and graduate business school, and he was promoted quickly through the bank he joined in Dallas after getting his MBA at the University of Texas.
But in his new position Paul was suddenly a misfit--or so it appeared, and so he felt. He was self-conscious and awkward, unable to speak with authority, and unable to command the respect that he needed to excel. He felt like a little fish tossed into a very big pond, a small-town kid from fly-over country way out of place among East Coast elites. Sure, he had been at the top of his class in school, but in schools without prestigious names. Now he had to take charge of a herd ofheadstrong and arrogant deal makers with degrees from Harvard, Columbia, and Wharton.
The coterie of loan officers who had been operating on their own before Paul arrived understandably were not delighted to welcome an outsider charged with keeping them under control. Still, if Paul had presented himself as a confident manager, he might have been able to defuse their resentment quickly enough and establish himself as their skillful leader.
But he never demonstrated that confidence and as a result never took command in the fullest sense. He had a look of intensity and concern that sometimes seemed to approach panic. He worked long hours, much too long--and work that he should have been delegating, he took upon himself. His superior, who had hired him, was afraid that Paul was going to burn out. In the eyes of the lenders Paul supervised, he was respected as a hard worker and a technical specialist, but not really admired and certainly not looked up to as a commander.
Troops want a leader who exudes self-assurance. In a battle at sea, sailors want to look up at the bridge and see "the old man" calmly overseeing the battle--not struggling nervously into his life jacket! But everything about Paul said worry. He had no stature in the lending group; people avoided him.
But at his new job, instead of strolling through offices in comfortable command Paul scurried down the halls with an intense, inner--directed gaze on his face that signaled to everyone that he was in trouble. His body language broadcast concern, discomfort, and isolation. When he stopped to talk to people he was all business, almost curt. There was never any small talk.
Paul was telling people, without knowing or intending to, that he couldn't get away from them fast enough. It was as though if he lingered too long, people would see through him and would recognize that he didn't belong, would know that he was in over his head--and the fact was, he did feel in over his head. Instead of looking upward and contemplating whether he might be CEO someday, or at least head of all of International, he was frightened that he had already risen too high. He wondered whether he didn't really belong a peg or two below where he was.
Those in the department followed his instructions when necessary, but they didn't seek out his advice. Nobody invited him to lunch. Meetings were held without Paul being aware of them. One of his colleagues said of Paul, "He's a hard worker . . . and it shows." Another said, "He's very smart, and everybody respects him--but no one wants to be him." When Paul stepped outside himself and took a close look, he didn't want to be himself, either! That was the point at which he came to us.

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Table of Contents

Part I: The 12 Behaviors that Can Hold You Back
1. Never Feeling Good Enough
2. Seeing the World in Black and White
3. Doing Too Much, Pushing Too Hard
4. Avoiding Conflict at Any Cost
5. Running Roughshod over the opposition
6. Rebel Looking for a Cause
7. Always Swinging for the Fence
8. When Fear Is in the Driver's Seat
9. Emotionally Tone-Deaf
10. When No Job Is Good Enough
11. Lacking a Sense of Boundaries
12. Losing the Path

PART II: The Psychological Issues Behind the 12 Behavior Patterns
13. Taking Others' Perspectives
14. Coming to Terms with Authority
15. Using Power
16. Looking in the Mirror: Examining Your Self-Image
Epilogue: Taking Care of Your Career
Takeaways: A Checklist for Change
Appendix: Using Jung's Personality Theory to Analyze Working Mode

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