The curse of high achievers

HBR – Managing Yourself: The Paradox of Excellence

What I learned from this…

  • Use your support network and ask for help as soon as you’ve reached the point of diminishing returns
  • Ask for feedback even when the process is painful
  • Practice vulnerability.  Acknowledge publicly every time that you don’t know something or that you’ve made a mistake.  Start among friends to build your confidence, and expand out from there
  • Force yourself to speak up at every meeting.
  • Grant yourself permission to be mediocre, and have attention directed at that mediocrity.  It’s the only way you’ll gain new skills and stretch.

Doing the right thing poorly is better than doing the wrong thing well.

Why can’t companies foster this culture correctly?  One quote in the article notes, “My boss wants innovation as long as it’s done perfectly the first time.”  That type of hypocrisy is what leads to a stifling culture that claims to believe one thing but actually supports another set of behaviors.

I think this article is further pressing at the notion of “intellectual honesty”.  One of my favorite interviews (Dominic Orr of Aloha) discusses how important it is to build a culture of being vulnerable, as the DeLongs mention in the HBR article above.

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