Management Competencies
Session 2:
Self‐Improvement
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Name of instructor
Date

Agenda
1. Warm‐up case & Framework
2. Learning Mindsets and Styles
3. Sustained Commitment
Stress and attention management
Resilience
4. Immunity to Change
5. Wrap‐Up
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What is Self‐Management?
Self‐Management =
Self‐Awareness * Self‐Improvement
focus today
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1. Warm‐Up Case
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Competence Development
Your friend George is painfully aware that he
needs to work on his communication
competences to successfully launch into his
envisioned career in consulting
.
George seeks your help and advice on what to do
to develop his communication competences.
What advice would you give him?
Develop 3 concrete recommendations. (7 mins
prep)
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Framework for Competence Development
personal goal
(personal project)
remove
obstacles
provide
reinforcement
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learn
practice

Building and Rebuilding Competences:
Tiger Woods’ Swing
https://www.youtube.com/wat
ch?v=_wHkA_983_s
1978‐1997:
quick, fluid, violent,
very loose
2000‐2004:
balanced, compact, accurate
(coach: Butch Harmon)
2004‐2010:
flatter, less lower‐body
movement, less accurate
(coach: Hank Haney)
2012‐:
more lower‐body torque,
harmonious body movement
(coach: Sean Foley)
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goals: start at the end, and pick a vehicle to get there.
pick ONE skill and define your desired target
performance (1 sentence of “what success looks
like”)
don’t try to develop multiple different skills at once
set SMART goals
find a ”loveable project” that allows you to
practically work on your skill
project helps connect and integrate individual learning
and practice efforts into a coherent whole
project completion helps as motivational target
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learn … from big to small
overview + context
models + frameworks
key SUBskills
checklists +
routines
personal goal
(personal project)
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practice … makes perfect
hours
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practice ‐ RECOMMENDATIONS
pre‐committing dedicated time
burst & rest
feedback loops
repeat often, v. often
muscle
memory
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reinforcement & obstacles
remove
obstacles
provide
reinforcement
external
lack of equipment,
resources, time, etc.
distractions
internal
fear, anxiety, stress, etc.
habits / routines
psychological
build habits
milestones & rewards
resilience mechanisms
social
public commitments
buddy / partner
coach / mentor
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2. LEARNING MINDSETS AND STYLES
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Growth vs. Fixed Mindset
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Self‐Talk to Nurture Growth Mindset
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aspiration
self‐awareness
curiosity
vulnerability
READING:
Andersen, E. (2016). Learning to Learn.
Harvard
Business Review
, 94(3), 98‐101.
focus on research:
effectiveness of self‐talk
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OPTIONAL READING:
Neck, C. P., & Manz, C. C. (1996). Thought self‐leadership: The impact of mental strategies training
on employee cognition, behavior, and affect. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 17(5), 445‐467
field experimental study in an
accounting department of a firm
under bankruptcy protect, with
severe morale problems
self‐leadership training (self‐talk,
mental imagery, thought patterns,
relapse prevention) had significant
positive sustained effects on
increased mental performance
enthusiasm
job satisfaction
training
group
control
group

Learning Styles Theory
preferential way in which a person absorbs, processes, comprehends
and retains information
depend on cognitive, emotional and environmental factors, and prior
experience
according to research, students using their preferred learning style
show an increase in their levels of comprehension, motivation and
metacognition, and performance.
http://vark‐learn.com/introduction‐
to‐vark/research‐statistics/
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Learning Styles “Meshing” Theory
preferential way in which a person absorbs, processes, comprehends
and retains information.
depend on cognitive, emotional and environmental factors, and prior
experience
according to research, students using their preferred learning style
show an increase in their levels of comprehension, motivation and
metacognition
http://vark‐learn.com/introduction‐
to‐vark/research‐statistics/
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Pashler, H., McDaniel, M., Rohrer, D., & Bjork, R. (2008). Learning styles: Concepts and
evidence.
Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 9, 105–119.
Rogowsky, B. A., Calhoun, B. M., & Tallal, P. (2014). Matching learning style to instructional
method: Effects on comprehension. Journal of Educational Psychology, 107, 64–78.

Learning Styles Self‐Assessment
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concrete
experience (CE)
observation and
reflection (RO)
testing implication of
new concepts in new
situations through
active experimentation
(AE)
formation of abstract
concepts and
generalizations (AC)
experiential
learning
cycle

3. SUSTAINED COMMITMENT
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common stressors
What stresses you out?
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Common stressors
What stresses you out?

Work factors Non‐work factors
Workload
Role conflict and ambiguity
Interpersonal conflict
Responsibility for other people
Etc…
Family/domestic demands
Economic challenges
Personal affairs
Etc…

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Stress

Personal factors
Personality
Self‐efficacy
Stress mindset
Time/Attention management skills
Balanced lifestyle/support system

stress management for university students
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OPTIONAL READING:
Regehr, C., Glancy, D., & Pitts, A. (2013). Interventions to reduce stress in university students:
A review and meta‐analysis. Journal of affective disorders, 148(1), 1‐11.
arts‐based interventions:
music making, poetry recitation and discussion
psycho‐educational interventions:
background info on stress, personality, and tools for
stress management
cognitive/behavioral/mindfulness
interventions:
cognitive therapy (e.g. self‐talk), body awareness
exercises, breathing, yoga, meditation
effectiveness unclear
effectiveness unclear
effective!
Focus on Research:
Stress Mindsets
Three‐step process to help you practice a
“stress helps” mindset:
1. (Acknowledge) stress when you
experience it and notice how it impacts
you psychologically and physically.
2. (Recognize) that stress is a response to
something you care about. Try to connect
to the positive motivation behind the
stress.
3. (Make use) of the energy stress gives
you.
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Activity: Attention Management
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“Most knowledge workers spend their
days
in a state of constant distraction
and task switching. The results are
perpetual stress, and being busy instead
of being productive.”
Maura Thomas (HBR, 2015)
“How well you
protect and use your
attention
determines your success.”
Graham Allcott (How to be a
Productivity Ninja, 2014)

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(fully)
adaptive behavior
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e.g. RESILIENCE
(fully)
adaptive behavior
rule‐based
behavior
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resilience in entrepreneurship
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“Our greatest weakness lies
in giving up. The most
certain way to succeed is
always to try just one more
time.”
Thomas Edison
elements of (psychological) RESILIENCE
face down reality: manage your own expectations of what is most
likely to occur instead of fooling yourself with overly optimistic
assessments
find meaning in setbacks/hardships: benefits (in the future) that will come
from your present challenges (e.g. learning, character‐building, sharing insights
with others, etc.)
continuously improvise: never resign to situation you are in, instead mobilize
resources and utilize them in unusual ways
source: Coutu (2002). How Resilience Works. HBR; Judge & Hurst (2008). How the Rich (and Happy) Get Richer (and
Happier): Relationship of Core Self‐Evaluations to Trajectories in Attaining Work Success. JAP.
manage your self‐evaluation: maintain positive evaluations of your control,
emotional stability, self‐efficacy, and self‐esteem
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Beyond psychological resilience
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Psychological
Resilience
Physiological
Resilience
Social
Resilience

4. IMMUNITY TO CHANGE
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single loop learning
DRUCKER:
intellectual arrogance
bad habits
double loop learning
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the knowing doing gap:
tracing your immunities to change
“I have metal fillings in my teeth. my refrigerator magnets keep
pulling me into the kitchen. that’s why I can’t lose weight!”
external
restraining
forces
internal
restraining
forces
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TESTING
ASSUMPTIONS
“Salad Day” trial
for 1 month
try to find 2
“exercise
activities” with
family friends
CHANGE 5
GOALS
I am committed
to losing weight
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OVERCOMING THE KNOWING‐DOING GAP
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because?:
feel healthier
feel more
energized
fit into that
Gucci suit
how?:
exercise more
eat healthier
BARRIERS TO
CHANGE
(behaviors)
no time for
exercise
eat out at
restaurants
eat too much
eat food high in
fat
2 HIDDEN
COMMITMENT
(values, attitudes)
conflicts:
“I don’t have
time for this…”
“I want to be
with family and
friends, not on a
treadmill”
worries:
“Life’s too short
for bad/bland
food”
3 UNDERLYING
ASSUMPTIONS
exercise takes
time away from
work /
family&friends
healthy food
doesn’t taste
good
4
REVISING
ASSUMPTIONS
6
“Healthy food can
be tasty”
“I can exercise with
friends & family”
the root of your
immunity to change
example 1
TESTING
ASSUMPTIONS
play “supportive
collaborator” role
in one team
engage in
debates/conflicts
and monitor
outcomes
CHANGE 5
GOALS
I am committed to
being a better team
player.
1
OVERCOMING THE KNOWING‐DOING GAP
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BARRIERS TO
CHANGE
(behaviors)
don’t collaborate
enough
make unilateral
decisions
don’t really take
people input into
account
2 HIDDEN
COMMITMENT
(values, attitudes)
conflicts:
don’t like
debating things
(waste of time)
high quality
standards
worries:
I might not get
credit for my
good ideas
3 UNDERLYING
ASSUMPTIONS
assume no one
will appreciate
me unless I’m
visible source of
success
debate and
conflict only have
negative effects
4
REVISING
ASSUMPTIONS
6
“teamwork can be
satisfying and
effective”
“conflict can be
the root of your productive”
immunity to change
because?:
better relationships at
work
promotion criterion
how?:
invite contributions
help others
be flexible and reliable
etc.
example 2
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STEP 1: CHANGE GOAL(S)
Imagine your are talking to your close friends, colleagues, or team
members. These are people who have gotten to know you quite
well. They wish good things for you.
They are on your side.
What would they recommend?
“What management competences should I improve?
If you had to name the single thing that you think
would make the most difference for me, what would it
be? ”

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STEP 2: BARRIERS TO CHANGE
Most behavioral change is challenging existing habits – this is
hard, because habits die hard.
From the perspective of your friends, colleagues, team
members:
“Which of my behaviors, habits , etc. are most likely
to hold me back from achieving my change goal?”
In other words: if you were to fail to change, which of
your behaviors, attitudes, etc. would your colleagues
likely blame the failure to change on?

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STEP 3: IDENTIFY WORRIES / COMMITMENTS
If you imagined you adopted the exact opposite of the
behaviors, habits etc. you listed in step 2, how would you feel?
What competing commitments / values / priorities do
you have that would conflict with these opposites?
What
concerns / worries would you have? What
would be the clear disadvantages of these “opposites”
for your professional life?

Examples of Worries/Commitments
source: DeLong / DeLong (2011). The Paradox of Excellence. HBR
worry
worry
worry
commitment
worry
commitment worry
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STEP 4: UNCOVER ASSUMPTIONS
The conflicting commitments and worries you
identified in step 3, are usually
based on assumptions,
e.g. assumptions about negative consequences of
alternative behaviors, other people’s expectations of
you, professional norms, etc.
Reflect for yourself:
What are the assumptions that support your
competing/conflicted commitments, and that feed
your worries?

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STEP 5: TEST ASSUMPTIONS
Assumptions are based on personal experience or excepted
“common knowledge”, but they may or may not be true.
Reflect for yourself:
How can you safely test whether these assumptions
are actually true?
(e.g. would “opposite” behaviors really have the negative
consequences you worry about? are your other existing
commitments
really irreconcilable with your improvement
goal?

TESTING
ASSUMPTIONS
play “supportive
collaborator” role
in one team
engage in
debates/conflicts
and monitor
outcomes
CHANGE 5
GOALS
I am committed to
being a better team
player.
1
OVERCOMING THE KNOWING‐DOING GAP
44
BARRIERS TO
CHANGE
(behaviors)
don’t collaborate
enough
make unilateral
decisions
don’t really take
people input into
account
2 HIDDEN
COMMITMENT
(values, attitudes)
conflicts:
don’t like
debating things
(waste of time)
high quality
standards
worries:
I might not get
credit for my
good ideas
3 UNDERLYING
ASSUMPTIONS
assume no one
will appreciate
me unless I’m
visible source of
success
debate and
conflict only have
negative effects
4
REVISING
ASSUMPTIONS
6
“teamwork can be
satisfying and
effective”
“conflict can be
the root of your productive”
immunity to change
because?:
better relationships at
work
promotion criterion
how?:
invite contributions
help others
be flexible and reliable
etc.
example 2
why ? why ? why ?
immunity‐to‐change model works at different levels: individual, group, and
organizational
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individual
goals
identify
individual
barriers
(assumptions)
individual
testing
and behavior
change
group
goals
identify group
barriers
(assumptions)
group testing
and behavior
change
organizational
goals
identify
organizational
barriers
(assumptions)
organizational
testing
and behavior
change
individual level
group level
organizational level

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self‐improvement
as a daily habit

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self‐improvement
as a leadership
strategy

5. Key Takeaways
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KEY TAKEAWAYS
RESILIENCE
(persevere through
adversity and stress)
REFLEXIVITY
(examine yourself, and
your relationship with
your environment)
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learning
styles
immunity to
change
sustained
commitment
psychological
reinforcements
learn
practice
personal goal
(personal project)
remove
obstacles
provide
reinforcement