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High Achievers

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Excerpts from an interesting interview for your reading.

Some insights:

  • For a person who is goal oriented & a type-A overachiever, then his/her secret anxieties could be sabotaging his/her career.
  • Characteristics of high nAch (need for Achievement) individuals:
    • Smart – learnt to leverage their smartness
    • Highly competitive – compare themselves with others all the time
    • Impatient with others and themselves
    • Successful
    • Hungry for positive feedback
    • Overloaded agendas
  • Challenges of high achieving individuals
    • When these individuals feel overloaded or feel they cannot deliver, they create a catastrophic picture, manipulate their environment to get positive feedback and jump right back to where they were before.
    • Role overload & inter role conflict creates guilt, which when ongoing becomes chronic and a way of life – work suffers and relationships suffer as well.
    • Addiction to achieve prevents them from adapting when they hit ‘rough patches’
    • Need to do things ‘perfectly the first time’: “The only way that you can change behavior, the only way that you can learn how to play golf, learn about algorithms, learn a new language, is that you’re going to stumble and bumble at the very beginning. And that is the fear that so many of these high need for achievement personalities have, is that in that process, they’re going to look bad, they’re going to feel exposed, and they’re going to feel silly. And that is what frightens them more than anything else, is losing their image of competence.”
    • Difficulty in differentiating between the urgent and the important – for them everything is urgent and important.
  • Conundrum Solvers
    • Set lofty goals – high achievers set safe risks only as they ensure that what they do succeeds the very first time. Goals set are often reasonably easy to reach because the last thing they want to do is fail and not reach it.
    • Stop manipulating the environment and themselves – look inside
    • Specific agendas to change – simple, dynamic agendas for “zero to six months, short term, six months to 18 months, medium term, 18 months and longer, with no more than three or four bullet points under each one of those time frames

If you have time, you can listen to the interview/read the transcript at: http://blogs.hbr.org/2011/05/the-hidden-demons-of-high-achi/

 

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