Jack Uldrich
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The Seven Dangerous Habits of Highly Effective People

Posted in Business, Culture, Leadership

Effective people come in many different shapes, sizes and forms but among the most dangerous are those who are convinced their past success is a positive indicator of future success. If you are an effective person and wish to remain successful in the future here are seven habits you may want to unlearn:

1. You don't know as much as you think do. To remain effective, instead, you must strive to become more aware of what you don't know. 

2. Don't only use your intelligence to win arguments and defend the status quo. Instead use your intelligence to stay curious and engage alternative viewpoints.

3. In the name of cohesiveness, effective leaders have in the past emphasized teamwork. Moving forward, effective leaders must expend an equal amount of energy cultivating voices on the fringe and finding a way to get "different" people — who might initiate conflict — into their leadership circles. 

4. Effective leaders solve problems. But what happens when a problem can't be solved? In the future, effective leaders must also become dilemma managers.  

5. Effective leaders are action-oriented. Sometimes, however, the best course of action is to do nothing.

6. Effective leaders reward success.  The truth is that fostering a culture of risk-taking and rewarding failure (when those calculated risks don't pan out) is also a critical ingredient to long-term success. 

7. Effective leaders have achieved considerable success adhering to a  "my way or the highway" approach but the future will require more and more leaders  to embrace ambiguity.

7 thoughts on “The Seven Dangerous Habits of Highly Effective People”

  1. Jack…great list, good for provocation. Have to violently disagree with how you phrased item 8. No-one I have ever known in business actually rewards failure….I think its better phrased as “reward experimentation and reward lessons learnt”, (even if failure was a by-product)….thats the behaviour to reward.
    BTW, will I see you at Aspen Ideas Festival or World Futurist Society Conference in Boston this year or are we destined to limit this relationship to the internet!

  2. Had a lesson in #1 this morning when I posted an article on my blog. (Long story, but I learned a lot about librarians!) We don’t know what we don’t know…but it should be our opportunity to learn more about how things work, how much things have changed and how we can be better. Sometimes it takes a mistake for us to try a different approach or move in another direction.
    Karen, The Resume Chick (on Twitter or Google if you have questions, comments or violent reactions)

  3. Jack Uldrich says:

    Thanks for the note.

  4. Randy Bosch says:

    Jack, I am in full agreement with Annalie against the concept of “rewarding failure” – wrong term for the actual achievements of those who, for example, disprove a hypothesis (a success!). “Failure” is a term/concept that is being hijacked, leading to devaluing of how to plan, prepare and act to mitigate or avoid TRUE failure. For a bit more about building a culture safe for experimenting, not rooted in failure, read “Dare to Fail?-BALONEY” http://wp.me/pVUDj-4w.
    Let’s Unlearn “failure” claiming to be a necessary step to success!

  5. Jack Uldrich says:

    Thanks for your comment. I don’t think we are that far apart in what we are saying. I’ll work on revising — or unlearning — the term “failure.”

  6. Dennis Franklin says:

    Jack, One of the things that annoys me about the business world today is the need to limit our use of language to ‘positive’ terms – even when the message is a negative one. I don’t disagree with Annalie and Randy’s points, but lets be clear about what we are saying. “Experimentation’ is a pre-requisite to success and failure and ‘Lessons Learned’ are what you get out of it either way. Maybe what we need to unlearn and challenge is the hijacking of perfectly useful words where a ‘weakness’ becomes an ‘opportunity for improvement’ and a ‘problem’ becomes a ‘challenge’. Fight the doublespeak, I say.

  7. Jack Uldrich says:

    Well said.

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