ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

Online Edition — June 2003

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When Executive Coaching Shifts
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Observations From a “Reinvented” Coach
Leading Wholeheartedly:
A Quality Approach
Full Engagement Leadership
Looking Toward the Future
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t.h.e. ACHIEVEMENT p.a.r.a.d.o.x.: Test Your Personality & Choose Your Behavior for Success at Work
by Ronald A. Warren, Ph.D.
New World Library, 2002
ISBN: 1-57731-228-7
Paperback, 192 pages.
Price $14.95
Overall Rating: ***** Overnight it


At first glance you might say, “Here we go again. This is just another book on personality types.” You don’t have to venture very far into this book, however, to realize that there is something different about its approach.

The first sentence of the introduction asks, “What is the impact of personality style on job success and satisfaction?” Many of us feel that the people the boss likes always get the better deal. Well, this book supports that premise, but it also offers hope. Chapter one lays out the important relationships between personality and behavior, and it clearly explains that even though we can’t change our personality, we can control and change our behaviors—and that can make an important difference.

Dr. Warren then goes on to describe what he calls the “Assessment of Character Traits (ACT) Profile.” A form for completing this profile is included in the book, and the profile is self scored. The profile is divided into 11 traits whose values are plotted on a radar chart to increase understanding. The instructions for doing this are easy to follow, enabling readers to complete the assessment and chart preparation with no problems. Directions to a Web site on which one can fill in the profile and then have the chart automatically generated in a printable form also are provided.

The Web site also offers an option that allows the reader to purchase a more in-depth analysis, if desired. After reading the book, I felt there were sufficient analyses and suggestions for improvement to get me started without additional evaluations, feedback, and/or recommendations, and I believe that will be the case for many readers. For those who have a serious long-term interest in continuous improvement, checking further into the Web site may prove a valuable option.

After the profile scores are obtained for the 11 traits, the book explains each of them in straightforward language and allows the reader to compare his/her chart to other well-known or typical assessments compiled from many organizations. Thanks to the radar charts, the comparison can be made very quickly. Appendix B in the book contains a library of these profiles with a very good description of what each represents.

Dr. Warren goes further in this book by providing a good section on action planning. Many authors mention action planning, but readers are left to figure out the process and to develop their personal plans. This book, however, not only leads the reader through action planning but also provides sample action plans. These help the reader apply the information by offering a comparison for gauging the quality of self-developed plans.

Overall, I found this a very relevant book for anyone interested in understanding the relationships among personality, behavior, and success in work settings. It is well thought out, easy to read, and provides the reader with a wealth of information that can be put to use immediately. I would highly recommend this book as one worth reading, even if your library already has other books on this subject—few of them will provide such a concise, yet practical approach to personal improvement.

WILLIAM SCOTT is president of Pioneer Learning, an organization that works with individuals to improve their performance through education, training, and developmental coaching. He has an extensive background in quality management and has been recognized by his peers and subordinates for his coaching abilities. He can be reached at .


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