6 Step Plan for High Achievers

In my previous two blogs, Why High Achievers Flounder and Comfort Zones of High Achievers talked about how SMARTER workplaces create a culture and emotional climate that inspires high achievers to continually grow as professionals. I encounter high-achievers frequently in my coaching work and when training future coaches. This blog will discuss a six step plan for high achievers to bring out the “greatness” of self and other.

The very strengths that led you to the fast track can steer you toward poor performance. This is a paradox that can be perplexing to high-achievers. Quite frankly, I don’t see how anyone can overcome this strong pull without working with a trusted coach or mentor.

If you’ve fallen into a high-potential career stall, you’ll need to start working on a plan to get back on track for professional success. More than that, I recommend you strive to develop your SMARTER skills.

When designing a professional development plan, review these six steps which will start freeing yourself from traps:

1. Forget the past: How much are you basing your career decisions on past experiences, either good or bad? Most of us make irrational comparisons between a past bad experience and a current situation. We are notoriously poor predictors of our future emotional states.

Most of what we surmise about our past failures is circumstantial. Look at the past with a different perspective — one that takes into account randomness or luck. We are never in control of situations as much we think, and blaming — or crediting ourselves — is often irrational and inappropriate. Sure, we’ve accomplished a lot, and we’ve made mistakes. That was then; this is now. What counts is stepping up to learn new tasks and skills. An open mind — one that is willing to admit limitations, as well as strengths — means you’re available for new challenges. Too much reliance on the past will stifle your courage to “fail upward” and use missteps as learning opportunities for growth.

2. Develop and use your support network: When you pride yourself on being an independent self-starter, it’s difficult to ask for help. You tell yourself you don’t want to bother people unnecessarily. You may fear feedback because you just don’t want to hear, or the information does not align with “how you see yourself”. You may discount colleagues who do not “stroke an overinflated ego, or will not tell you what you want to hear. If so, you’re hurting your chances of stretching and growing. Instead, challenge yourself to ask respected individuals for regular feedback, even if it’s uncomfortable to hear. Ask these four questions:

  • a. What do I do that annoys you or others?
  • b. When does my behavior stall or block your greatness?
  • c. What one tip would you give me to inspire you to reach higher?
  • d. What’s been your experience getting good feedback to improve your performance? I’d love to hear from you.

In my article, Coaching Leaders to Change, I discuss Marshall Goldsmith’s model for behavioral coaching outlines a reliable process to help leaders achieve positive, measurable changes in themselves, their staff and their teams. Marshall’s Feed Forward tool is to provide you with suggestions for the future and to help you achieve a positive change in the behaviors selected by you. The Feed Forward Tool is especially suited to successful people. Successful people like getting ideas that are aimed at helping them achieve their goals.

My next SMARTER Workplace blog will detail the next four steps.

What has been your experience with giving feedback to high achievers? What other suggestions can you provide?

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