The earlier years in Xerox was also a period when I stayed paranoid about self improvement.This continued into my training under the Soka Gakkai. Let me first cover the Xerox phase and then the Soka Gakkai.
I went through several exercises and tests on managerial profile and effectiveness. Most of the comments may relate to tests and analysis from the ‘Unblocked Manager’,but they would be references and inferences from other studies also.Here are summary comments about my style and effectiveness as candidly as I could read from the exercises I undertook.
Motivational Style :
You are a pragmatic down to earth executive who tends to judge individuals and situations strictly on merit.You see yourself ( and are generally seen by others ) as a practical man who gets results by common sense and tends to be dismissive of any fairy theories about human behaviour and management styles.Your great strength is to act decisively whilst at the same time getting people to cooperate with you.From the point of view of higher management you are perceived as a most capable executive with a mature and balanced outlook.Their main reservations are whether you are sufficiently responsive to change and whether you can think strategically as well as tactically.
Reluctance to assert oneself in situations where people may be looking to you for a lead.
You are a strong personality who enjoys getting his own way and generally do so with out being offensive. You are seen as a “toughie” who doesn’t suffer fools gladly but people respect you for your honesty and sincerity.
You cope comfortably with most of the challenges you meet and only draw back occasionally from high risk situations.
Political Skill :
You are well capable of handling most political situations with only the occasional touch of abrasiveness – possible in some aspects of your relationship with your boss.
The ability to take tough decisions :
You tend to blow hot and cold.Some times you get angry and upset and explode with fury; at other times you go to great lengths to avoid an argument. Basically you lack the confidence in your ability to deal with delicate people problems.Your best course of action is to enrole for a course in assertiveness training which would equip you with a number of useful techniques for handling sensitive situations.
Basically you are good promotional material but there are some aspects of your performance where you could display a more competitive spirit.
Setting Good Objectives:
Your objective setting is not really as thorough as it should be and there is probably a good deal of confusion and misunderstanding among your people as to what you expect of them.
I took up assertiveness as a major area of concern and listed the following areas of worry :
Social — Uptight on social occasions,poor at reaching out to strangers, poor at small talk
Interpersonal — Avoidance of conflict situations,unable to make requests on people for fear of a put down
Career related — Fear of failure,unsure of skill / competence level,in ability to say no to authority figures, do not clearly stand up for my own rights.
And so I went on paranoid about self improvement and inwardly focused on areas of weakness.Did I gain significantly from all this?Yes I’m sure,but I laboured over it and could have made significant gains with the help of a life coach.None was available and even today non exists.One could however seek a mentor or even a counsellor but these opportunities are not so freely available.Strangely if I had done a survey of colleagues,sub-ordinates,friends,rivals and what have you,I may have got excellent ratings.I should not have been so paranoid and instead should have lived more in the present , challenging myself to take on higher goals,being more connected to senior managers etc. Perhaps there was a time and place for ever thing and I had to go through this grind.The early days of Xerox gave me the width and time to be inwardly focused.My time in the sun in Xerox was to come some years later.