Marshall Goldsmith is one of my favourite authors on leadership and I was re-reading his excellent recent book ‘Triggers’ when I came across an interesting comment. He was talking about a client who said he wanted to change, but didn’t really mean it. As a consequence the coaching wasn’t working and so Marshall ’gave up the ghost with him’. Marshall subsequently found that the firm who were paying for his services had fired his former client and he observed ‘evidently The CEO had concluded that an individual who actively resists help has maxed out professionally and personally’.
Has an individual who resists help, who refuses to learn, who refuses to grow maxed out? It is a tough question, but I would argue that they probably have. Not growing, not getting better, not learning means that today you will be the best you will ever be. You will not be better tomorrow, or the day after or any other day after that and in a world that is relentlessly getting more demanding and more competitive each day that means that in reality you are going backwards. You have indeed maxed out.
The value that you provide is inevitably on a downward spiral and soon enough there will come a point when the value that you provide becomes less than the compensation you are receiving.
I am immensely proud of any individual that commits to learning and change. Thomas Szasz once wrote that “Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one’s self-esteem. That is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance, learn so easily; and why older persons, especially if vain or important, cannot learn at all.” The older we are, often the more challenging it can be to commit to an act of conscious learning. But it is not a question of age. It is a question of motivation, of curiosity, of a desire to be better tomorrow that we were today. It is a matter of being the best that we can be and anyone who is committed to self development will always be young in spirit because they will always be working for and towards a better, brighter future.
Perhaps now is a good time for us all to examine our strategy in this regard. Do we have a deliberate, conscious strategy to continually develop and stretch ourselves? To achieve more tomorrow than we did today? Is that strategy showing measurable results? If not what do we intend to do about it or have we maxed out, professionally and personally?
The CEO had concluded that an individual who actively resists help has maxed out professionally and personally.
Some clients have asked that I append some reading recommendations to my weekly blog. I hope you get value from the books I recommend. The books are mentioned at random and will have no relationship to the blog above.
Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t by Simon SinekI don’t think the title does this book justice. Sinek opens with a fairly obvious metaphor about leaders eating last, which is hardly a worthwhile effort from one of the world’s greatest thought leaders or as a follow up to “Start with Why”, his earlier book, but once I got past that the book proved worthy of the author and is a really insightful view on leadership that would benefit anyone.