Working Harder or Working Smarter?
Several years ago, I worked with a large government contractor. My contact, a former navy officer, was mentoring me in my work. He told me, “You’re pretty good at what you do, but I am going to make you great.” Each time I visited the client, he would give me tips and hints on how to improve. Even though I sincerely tried to implement his suggestions, none of them seemed to have any profound impact. The experience left me wondering what had gone wrong. Sometimes the direct, head-on approach does not result in change.
In Chapter 3, I presented some of the findings that Jack Zenger and I uncovered in our analysis of successful people. We found that those who were most successful at accepting feedback were also skillful in several related areas, called companion behaviors.
Now I would like to share with you what we found about people who were successful in actually making changes.1
We found a similar list of companion behaviors when we analyzed the people who’d had the most success in making changes. These companion behaviors will allow you to take an indirect, and perhaps more helpful, approach to change. Since what creates exceptional ability is the interaction of multiple skills, becoming proficient in one or more of these companion skills will allow you to make more progress than if you were to exhaust yourself using the head-on approach.
In our research we also found that, although the process of going from poor performance to good ...