Oct 18, 2008

4 Stage Process - The Sequel

So, why is it that most of us don't make it past Stage 2? According to a study by Paul Thompson and G.Walton - there are a number of interesting and perhaps contentious reasons - you be the judge.

1. Exclusion From Informal Networks
Some people never fulfill their real potential because they're simply not given the opportunity. They're excluded from informal meetings, social events or functions - where crucial decisions are often made. This challenge exists primarily because some people are simply not very comfortable mixing with others.

2. The Fear of Failure
Nobody wants to fail. Some of us are so consumed with the fear of failing at something - of falling flat on our faces, that we're afraid to try. We don't want the embarrassment or ridicule which often comes with failure. So, we don't take even moderate risks, preferring to stay in our comfort zones - or play it safe..

3. In-group or Peer Resentment
Sometimes we're so concerned about how others will perceive us that we don't even try to succeed. Have often heard the stories about young black students who intentionally flunk tests and exams so that they're friends won't see them as being too studious...

Often, we're so scared of resentment that we talk ourselves out of applying for bigger and better paying jobs, or taking on more responsibility.

4. Lack of Honest, Constructive Feedback
Strong, Honest Feedback is the key to personal and professional improvement. That's how we learn what we need to work on in order to get to that next level. If you're stuck at Stage 2 - it probably means that you're not receiving enough feedback on how to improve, or that you're simply not open or receptive to honest feedback.

Truth is we need to be "worthy" of honest feedback - in order to receive it in the first place. Also - we need to be mature enough to take the information for what it's worth and use it to improve ourselves. Not long ago, I had a boss who made a habit of stabbing me in the front. I'd say he is a Strong Stage 2 with some good Stage 3 characteristics. We had our differences - but I'll remain forever grateful to him for always giving me interesting & often constructive feedback. I didn't always agree with everything he said, but his insights were often thought provoking. I made sure he understood that I value feedback, so he was always glad to provide it.

I will give him credit for making me a stronger Individual Contributor and a confident thought leader - and I hope he develops the skills required to make it to Stage 4.

In my next blog post, I'll chop up a 5th factor - based on my own personal views...

5. Lack of Ambition & Drive - the Why Not? factor...

No comments: