< Return to Quick Notes

For the Love of the Challenge

September 18, 2016

Mark* could be “a brilliant pain in the neck.”  With critical engineering expertise and a work ethic that bordered on obsession, he and others often knew he was the smartest person in the room.

the smartest person in the roomHowever, his performance on cross-functional teams was inconsistent.  Sometimes even peers that respected and wanted his input left meetings exasperated by his impatient, imperious style.

When we started working together, Mark talked about finding ways to increase receptivity to and adoption of his expertise – especially on cross-functional teams.

He initially defined his development focus as: “Become a more valued team member and team leader.”

As we explored other ways to frame his goal, he chose a higher level focus: “Become an expert on learning what helps me make teams more successful.”

This was a classic example of loving the challenge as much as the solution.  It positioned him to realize more valuable and enduring outcomes,  tapped into his intellectual curiosity and redirected his competitive drive.

Considering questions like:

–  What have been some of the most challenging goals I’ve achieved to date?

–  What was happening before, during and after I pursued these goals?

–  What helped me persevere?

–  What do these experiences have in common?

helps you approach your development goals attuned to the underlying resources and skills that fuel your progress.

When others noticed positive changes, Mark said these outcomes were just the beginning.  As he ingrained the habits that gave him his “learner’s edge,” he found himself noticing others’ learning styles as well as his own.

During an follow-up call after his coaching process ended, Mark described an interesting shift:  he’s on a team with someone he thinks may be the smartest learner in the room.

(*Note: “Mark’s” name and other details were changed to maintain confidentiality.)

Comments are closed.