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“Reversing a career-stalling behavior”


A bright, young, fast-tracked VP in a Fortune 100 company had a track record of strong results, but they came at a cost. He had a need to win all arguments, be seen as right, and would damage relationships through negotiation. This behavior was career limiting within a collaborative and respectful culture. His SVP boss and HR told him that this behavior would stall his upward mobility. Although the VP’s “win at all costs” approach served him well in prior roles, it wasn’t working now – or in all situations. He was in a different corporate culture which had different values.


The VP needed to see that there was something in it for him to play differently with others. We started with making sure he was engaged, beginning with what he stood to gain and lose from any changes. Once he was engaged we helped him see the negative impact of his current behavior and gave him some tools for challenging situations. We then helped Tom clarify his intended outcome and consider alternate strategies.

We coached him to prepare for potentially hot situations: anticipating responses, applying questions instead of statements, active listening, and alternate phrasings. We practiced the new behaviors and role played in a safe environment until comfortable.


Both the VP’s boss and HR representative noticed the change and progress. His boss now compliments him on handling challenging situations diplomatically. More importantly for Tom, he gets his colleagues to see, buy in, and often own his idea with much less resistance – which helps him accomplish his goals more quickly. He learned that HOW you approach people and accomplishing his goals has more benefit than just being right.

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