Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Review - FYI For Your Improvement by Michael M. Lombardo & Robert W. Eichinger

Success rests with having the courage and endurance and, above all, the will to become the person you are, however peculiar that may be. Then you will be able to say, “I have found my hero and he is me.” – Dr. George Sheehan

Self knowledge is both powerful and scary. I believe that few people like to really dig deep and acknowledge their strengths and their development areas. However if you can honestly looking inward, acknowledge those areas and form a plan to strength the weak areas you will become a better parent, partner, friend and employee.

A good place to look for self knowledge is a trusted friend, family member, peer or leader within your company. Please keep in mind though, if you are seeking feedback you will not always like what you hear. Hopefully the message will be delivered in a constructive way versus destructive way but it’s important to remember that this is their perception of you. Whether you think it’s true or not, their perception is a reality for them.

FYI – For Your Improvement is a book that I use extensively at work and home for my personal development, my career development as well as my employee development. This is not a typical book that you would read from cover to cover but a reference book that you can peruse and find resources for a specific issue. In addition to using this book for personal or career development, this book would be an excellent resource for parents as they work on developing their children.

The book starts out with two tables of contents. The first lists by specific competency while the second lists by skill. This allows you to search for the specific skill rather easily.

Once you have identified the skill you are interested in, you can go to the specific page and find examples of what that skill may look like.

We’ll use “Lack of Composure” for our example:

Does not handle pressure and stress well
Gets emotional, subjective and unpredictable when things don’t go as planned
May become hostile or sarcastic; withdraw from people as stress increases

Not a problem
Cool under stress
Can take conflict in stride
Can absorb criticism and sarcasm without losing control

Easily overwhelmed
Lack of self-confidence
Over your head

First about emotions
Decreasing triggers
Delay gratification
Count to 10

Suggested Readings
Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct
The Dance of Connection: How to Talk to Someone When You’re Mad, Hurt, Scard, Frustrated, Insulted, Betrayed, or Desperate
Stress for Success

There is obviously a lot more information in the book as they go into details about each category. Lack of Composure takes up six pages so there is significant more help available than the high level I gave you above.

I try to break the book down into different areas depending upon what I’m development area I’m working on. Some of them are:

Personal Growth
Written Communication
Motivating Others

Professional Growth
Business Acumen
Work/Life Balance
Strategic Agility

Employee Development
Team/Unit Contribution
Overdependence on an Advocate
Poor Administrator
Quality of Work Output

Where applicable they will also list what an overused skill looks like because sometimes too much of a good thing is bad. At the end of the book are some worksheets for you to use for your own development plan.

Overall an excellent book for someone who is looking to development themselves or others.

Note:  The above link is my referral link.  There is actual a newer edition of the book at a significantly higher price.  The link in this post will offer you the opportunity to buy the book used at a discount.

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