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Maximum Success: Changing the 12 Behavior Patterns That Keep You From Getting Ahead Hardcover – September 19, 2000

4.0 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Superbly suited to write an authoritative book on career success, these two Harvard Business School psychologists have developed an Internet-based career assessment program used in business schools and have amassed considerable insight into the realities of workplace behavior patterns through their research and executive coaching. In this comprehensive book, they strive for a tone that's authoritative but not too academic, and succeed in creating a thoughtful book that is helpful, though curiously blandAespecially compared to Stephen Covey's Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, whose market the authors seem to target. Arguing that people can learn from their failures, Waldroop and Butler focus on personal weaknesses rather than successes, identifying a dozen behaviors and attitudes that can sabotage career growth in otherwise talented individuals, such as feeling inadequate, seeing issues in black and white, trying to be a hero who can do everything, avoiding conflict at any cost, operating out of fear, being a rebel or too much of a risk-taker, and losing focus. They describe these Achilles' heels in colloquial terms before analyzing the psychology behind them, using case studies from their practice to illustrate common patterns and show the effect on organizations. Readers who find themselves or their colleagues depicted here stand to gain insight into dealing with their own weaknesses and handling others who exhibit them. The authors' credentials, along with the book's accessibility and right-on positioning, is likely to propel this book onto business bestseller charts, though some readers may wish for a more compelling presentation. Agent, Kris Dahl at ICM. (Sept.)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc.


Break bad habits before they break you.

Advance Acclaim for Maximum Success

"An intelligent and insightful guide to that essential task: managing your own career."
-Daniel Goleman, author of Emotional Intelligence

"In a world full of self-help books, it is high time someone addressed the issue of identifying and correcting the 'fatal flaws' that derail many executives in the midst of apparently promising careers. Maximum Success takes you step by step through a process to identify and correct the key negative behavior patterns that can throw you or your high-potential employees off track. Invaluable!"
-Stephen R. Mercer, Vice President of Learning and Leadership Development, Boeing

"Dead-on accurate in its diagnoses and enormously helpful in its recommendations. A must-have for every manager and every employee."
-Eileen Grabowski, Vice President, Firmwide Recruiting, Morgan Stanley Dean Witter

"Every day I have the privilege of reading about the accomplishments of some of the world's great young leaders. No matter what you aspire to do, this book should help you stay on track and reach your potential. A must read."
-Kirsten Moss, Managing Director, MBA Admissions, Harvard Business School

"Maximum Success is maximally useful. Based upon the authors' many years of experience, this book tells us about the most common mistakes people make and shows how they can correct them. Written in a strong, straightforward style, this book can save careers, save businesses, save individuals from the tragedy of wasting great talent because of a fatal flaw. It shows what to do-before it is too late."
-Edward Hallowell, M.D., author of Driven to Distraction

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Business; 1 edition (September 19, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385498497
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385498494
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,323,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME on September 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Think of this book as a psychologically-based opposite to Stephen Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
The authors are both business psychologists, executive coaches for those with career problems, and directors of MBA career development at Harvard Business School. The book is well illustrated with examples of their concepts, drawn from actual cases they have worked on. I suspect you will recognize people you have met, as well as yourself, in these cases.
As the authors are well aware, a major flaw can sink someone who is otherwise a top performer. Improving an area where the person is strong will do less good than getting the substandard area up to normal or better.
Based on their years of experience they note, 'The ways people fail in their careers, however, are quite limited. People fail in the same ways, for the same reasons, over and over again, from one industry to another, from the lowest level to the highest . . . Moreover . . . many . . . people are amazingly unaware of the patterns of behavior they exhibit that are resulting in failure.' Talk about unconscious incompetence!
Part I of the book identifies 12 behaviors that can hold you back.
1. Never Feeling Good Enough (acrophobia or fear of career progress)
2. Seeing the World in Black and White (meritocrat or not seeing the relevance of loyalty, self-interest, or personality)
3. Doing Too Much, Pushing Too Hard (a hero, with an Achilles heel from overdoing it)
4. Avoiding Conflict at Any Cost (peacekeeper, who avoids even healthy conflict such as that required to overcome misconceptions)
5. Running Roughshod over the Opposition (bulldozer, a male role similar to an offensive lineman in football)
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Format: Paperback
Very well written psychology book on human behavior that you can commonly find in your organization. Not much jargons but in plain simple english. It not only describes the twelve behavior patterns that holding good people back, but also does suggest how to fix and manage them.
To depict the 12 hebavior patterns, the authors cleverly use different simple scenarios and business cases to address the orgins of the problem & pattern. They explain why the behavior patterns may limit your career advancement and how should break the behaviour patterns. I personally found that some patterns breaking approach could be helpful but some don't and lack of practical details. The authors seem to suggest most of the cases that the root of these behaviour patterns are arised out of childhood development. Well, I am not sure this is completely correct but you can certainly find more explanation in Part II of the book.
The 12 bad habits that hold good people back are listed below:
1. Never feeling good enough
2. Seeing the world in black & white
3. Doing too much, pushing too hard
4. Avoiding conflict at any cost
5. Running roughshod over the opposition
6. Rebel looking for a cause
7. Always swinging for the fence
8. When the fear is in the driver's seat
9. Emotionally tone-deaf
10. When no job is good enough
11. Lacking a sense of boundaries
12. Losing the path
To make readers easy to understand and remember these 12 behavior patterns, the authors also name these bad habits as the following easy terms:
1. Acrophobe
Feeling in their heart of hearts that they don't deserve to be where they have been placed.
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Format: Paperback
Many of us, including myself, spend a huge amount of time and energy trying to "get the job done" not realizing that some of the behavior patterns are making our work lives more stressful, less effective and in some cases making you---or your employee---a difficult person to work with.
I picked this up after searching online for a career transition book. The authors, two guys from Harvard, have written a really fantastic guide to managing your career. If you know anyone who has had negative performance review, has problems being a "team player" or if you are a manager that has an employee that everyone in the office perceives as "difficult", do yourself a favor and pick-up a copy of this book.
These guys have practical exercises and explanations for some of the bad behaviors we have at work---procrastinating, falling behind, constant feelings of stress or anxiety. Far from the "touchy feely" approach of many of the self-help schmaltz out there, these guys are from the business world and offer real steps and real solutions to modify the negative behaviors. (eg. you may be a natural worrier and never be worry-free, but you can cultivate new ways to process the worry so that it doesn't interfere with your "getting the job done.")
In my opinion, a must read!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
At one time,managers (and the lawyers who represent management,like myself)could be content with one way to handle poor performers---write them up and then fire them.No more,with employees as a company's greatest asset.This book deals with the ones that always drive you nuts---90% of the time they are great employees,but the other 10% of the time they are terrible and harm the organization.The book looks at 12 types,ranging from the emotionally tone deaf(who always seem to end up as key people in information services) to the tank,who gets the hard jobs done but causes intolerable collateral damage.The authors give you practical,implement tomorrow advice on how to turn these employees around,making them more valuable to the company and---just as importantly---helping then realize their full potential.I gave these books to clients as a New Years gift,and the response from almost all was,"where has this been all my professional life."
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