Category Archives: Professional Development

Can you tell me about your weakness? In an interview.

I completed a number of interviews a few days ago and as part of the interview process I asked everyone’s favourite,

“Can you tell me about a weakness?”

These are some of the answers I heard in those interviews.

  1. I don’t have any weaknesses.
  2. Some people tell me I’m a control freak.
  3. I can’t say that I really have any professional weaknesses.
  4. Nobody is game to tell me.
  5. Do you have any weaknesses?
  6. I’ll let you know when I find them.
  7. Some people tell me that I’m difficult to work with.
  8. I tend to take on too much on and can’t say no.
  9. I’ve been told I don’t take things seriously.
  10. Getting up in the morning and probably getting to work on time.
  11. I find it difficult to follow verbal instructions.
  12. I’m impatient with dumb people.

If you’re the employer what is one word that comes to mind when you hear these responses?

RISK. It screams risk.

One piece of advice that most hiring/HR managers would give you for free, is to “Be Prepared”. Hope is not a strategy worth pursuing.

Don’t walk into an interview without some preparation, seriously, rehearse some of the questions you are likely to encounter. DO some homework on the role, the industry and potentially key people.

Remember, you’re not going for the robot delivery or a disingenuous demeanour or just not being prepared at all. Keep this in the back of your mind, the hiring/HR manager is trying to decide whether or not you are a risk to the organisation and its people.

Don’t give the hiring/HR manager a reason to dismiss the application. It really is a fight for survival, well, that’s the way I look at it. You are competing with other candidates and competition these days is fierce. For some, the difference between getting a job or not getting a job,  is the difference between putting food on the table or not putting food on the table. The workforce is like the jungle, and it’s survival of the fittest out there.

Maybe another way to think about this is if you going for a job worth say $50,000pa what investment would you make to get the job. That is, how time would you invest to ensure you are as prepared as you can be to get the job. Is it 30 minutes, 60 minutes, 2 hours or 5 hours? It’s up to you.

So, the weakness question is really trying to extract from you whether or not you are self-aware and more over can self-regulate in teams and organisations.

Let’s look at self-awareness. It is defined as:
 The accurate appraisal and understanding of your abilities and preferences and their implications for your behaviour and their impact on others.

You must understand how your behaviour affects your environment, whether it be positive, negative or indifferent.

Let me give you an example. Some weeks ago in a coaching training session for supervisors, all learners were requested to present a simple psychological model using specific language and framing strategies. The whole group of 16 except for 1 completed the task. That one person used a manipulation and sniper strategy to deflect their failure to prepare, and they also attempted to manipulate other members of the group in an effort to turn them against the exercise and the material.

Whilst it was entertaining seeing “below the line behaviours” in action, these behaviours ultimately meant to me, the others in the group, and to the organisation that in fact this person’s behaviour was a risk. In other words, this person would rather “be right” than “getting it right” (You know the type, argumentative, and insistent with no real point other than wanting to be right.)

Which brings me to self-regulation:

Selfregulation is the ability to monitor and control our own behaviour, emotions, or thoughts, altering them in accordance with the demands of the situation.”

When selecting one or more weakness examples, be strategic in your selection. Here are a couple of rules.

  1. Don’t pick a weakness that is specific to the job.
  2. Don’t pick a weakness that is not easily fixable.
  3. Don’t pick something that may be considered as trivial or not valuable.

Example 1

Tell me about a weakness?

One of my weaknesses is time management. For some reason, I wasn’t getting all my work done in the allocated time and having to stay back to complete it. When I realised that is was unsustainable. I sought some feedback and I out of my own pocket undertook a time management course. This has enabled me not only to become a more effective planner, but it enabled me to have productive conversations so I could get my work done on time, every time. Let me give you an example. I would use the Eisenhower Matrix to determine with my supervisors the important vs the urgent tasks.

What’s important about a weakness question is that you are able to identify the challenge in past tense, and then how you solved it and what that has translated to in the present.

Example 2

Tell me about a weakness?

I have received feedback in my annual performance appraisal process that I need to take more time providing full information and not assuming team members know what to do.

I engaged a business/leadership coach that provided me with not only the awareness but also the language required to engage at a higher level and therefore empower my team members to get the best possible results. It didn’t take very long and it was the best career investment I have ever made. Let me give you an example, I was in a project team that had a very tight timeline. As part of the planning process, I put together a communication plan with specific needs at every point. The result was I communicated more effectively and therefore we were a more efficient as a team.

Example 3

Tell about a weakness?

In a project, I tend to be a little too direct and straight forward. Whilst this is my natural tendency I realised it may not be the best way to get the best out of the team or external customers. Upon realising very quickly that I could do this better, I sourced and enrolled in a conflict management course. This had a 2-fold effect on my performance,

  1. I became better at providing feedback in difficult situations and
  2. I was able to pre-emptively recognise low-level conflict situations before they become real issues.

So what’s the lesson here? BE PREPARED. Have at least 3 weakness and examples of how you solved them and the value you brought to the organisation. Remember, what hiring/HR managers are really attempting to do is identify and reduce risk. Your job in the interview is to demonstrate that you are in fact self-aware and you are able to self-regulate in uncertain situations. Do these things, and you’ll survive the jungle.

Professional Reading/Listening list for 2016

Professional Development is not a maybe I’ll get to it. It’s absolutely critical to your professional and financial life.

Reading, seminars, listening to books are invaluable tools that broaden your paradigm and open you up to new ways of thinking and viewing the world.

From a work perspective what PD does is it puts you in the “value” up scale not the “risk” scale.

Below is a list of audiobooks that I have listened to in 2016. In total, I have listened to well over 480 audio books in 13 years and that does not include ongoing formal education and seminars/coaching I’ve attended and completed.

Gary Tremolada trainer leadership coach

Some might be thinking, “I’m just too busy” and can’t fit another “to do task” in the list. You know what not many can, so listening and or read in N.E.T (no extra time events), like commuting and exercising.

The fact is that one of these books or classes are run by some of the world’s best instructors. They may give you an insight that will change your life both professional and personal life forever. Biggest investment you can make is in yourself. Get to.

Get to.

2016 Professional Reading Author MM/DD/YYYY Total Hrs
1 Retire Inspired Chris Hogan 12-26-16 9:24:00
2 Dave Ramsey’s The Total Money Makeover | Summary & Review Ant Hive Media 12-26-16 0:36:00
2 The 4 Disciplines of Execution Sean Covey, Chris McChesney, Jim Huling 12-26-16 8:27:00
3 How You Decide: The Science of Human Decision Making The Great Courses 12-26-16 11:50:00
4 Influence The Great Courses 12-08-16 6:11:00
5 The Psychology of High Self-Esteem Nathaniel Branden 11-21-16 5:31:00
6 Elevate: Self Awareness Through Courage, Potential, and Fulfillment Dr. Keppen Laszlo 10-10-16 7:56:00
7 Naked Statistics: Stripping the Dread from the Data Charles Wheelan 10-10-16 10:48:00
8 I Know What to Do, So Why Don’t I Do It? Nick Hall 10-10-16 10:05:00
9 The Science of Mindfulness: A Research-Based Path to Well-Being The Great Courses 10-10-16 13:57:00
10 Job Interview Patterns Aleksey Sinyagin 09-08-2016 2:13:00
11 How to Build a Blog that Counts Raj Subramanyam 09-08-2016 5:42:00
12 The Little Book of Persuasion: Defend Yourself by Becoming a Skilled Persuader Sia Mohajer 09-08-2016 2:27:00
13 The Coaching Habit Michael Bungay Stanier 09-08-2016 3:10:00
14 Fanatical Prospecting Jeb Blount 09-08-2016 8:26:00
15 Algorithms to Live By Brian Christian, Tom Griffiths 09-08-2016 11:50:00
16 It’s Your Ship D. Michael Abrashoff 09-08-2016 6:24:00
17 The Greatness Within You Les Brown Les Brown 09-08-2016 4:46:00
18 The Way of the SEAL PDF Mark Divine, Allyson Edelhurtz Machate 09-08-2016 7:50:00
19 The Neuroscience of Fair Play: Why We (Usually) Follow the Golden Rule Donald W. Pfaff, Ph.D. 07-21-16 7:41:00
20 Do You Talk Funny? David Nihill 07-21-16 4:12:00
21 Hypnosis for business William Lockhart 07-21-16 4:10:00
22 Hypnosis: Instant Hypnosis Secrets You Need to Know Dane Xander 07-21-16 0:42:00
23 Big Results: The Steps to Getting the Results You Want, and Why Setting Goals Never Works Robert Greene 07-21-16 0:38:00
24 Conversation Tactics: Wittiness, Banter, Likability: Strategies to Command Social Situations, Book 3 Patrick King 07-21-16 2:32:00
25 Options Trading: A Beginner’s Guide to Options Trading: Learn How to Make Money with Stock Options Matthew Maybury 07-21-16 1:24:00
26 The Energy of Words: Use the Vibration of Language to Manifest the Life You Desire Michelle Arbeau 07-21-16 7:28:00
27 Anyone Can Write Books: Get Motivated, Get Inspired, Conquer Your Limitations, and Write Some Books! Dominic Cruz 07-21-16 0:30:00
28 Law of Attraction Harrold Glenn 07-21-16 0:50:00
29 Ask: The Counterintuitive Online Formula to Discover Exactly What Your Customers Want to Buy…Create a Mass of Raving Fans…and Take Any Business to the Next Level Ryan Levesque 06-16-16 6:13:00
30 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management Kevin Kruse 06-16-16 3:10:00
31 Managing Projects Harvard Business Review 06-16-16 1:11:00
32 Triggers Marshall Goldsmith, Mark Reiter 06-16-16 6:36:00
33 Are You Fully Charged? Tom Rath 05-21-16 3:22:00
34 Negotiating the Impossible: How to Break Deadlocks and Resolve Ugly Conflicts (Without Money or Muscle) Deepak Malhotra 05-21-16 6:59:00
35 The Essential Workplace Conflict Handbook: A Quick and Handy Resource for Any Manager, Team Leader, HR Professional, or Anyone Who Wants to Resolve Disputes and Increase Productivity  Barbara Mitchell, Cornelia Gamlem  05-21-16 4:25:00
36 Living with a SEAL Jesse Itzler 05-21-16 5:18:00
37 The Secret to Success Eric Thomas 04-29-16 5:29:00
38 Now Is Your Moment of Greatness!: 30 Rags to Riches Stories That Will Inspire You Maxwell Harris 04-29-16 3:00:00
39 #AskGaryVee Gary Vaynerchuk 04-29-16 11:37:00
40 Living Forward Michael Hyatt, Daniel Harkavy 04-29-16 4:20:00
41 How to Talk to Anyone: 92 Little Tricks for Big Success in Relationships Leil Lowndes 03-04-2016 8:59:00
42 Acing the Interview: How to Ask and Answer the Questions That Will Get You the Job! Tony Beshara 03-04-2016 9:05:00
43 Flawless Consulting: A Guide to Getting Your Expertise Used, Third Edition Peter Block 03-04-2016 9:21:00
44 The Like Switch PDF Jack Schafer, Marvin Karlins 03-04-2016 7:40:00
Hours 264:25:00
Days 11.5 days
Weekly 5hrs
N.E.T No Extra Time

2017 reading list goal is to get to 60 audio books.

John Kotter’s 8 Step organisational Change model pt3

Creating the Guiding Coalition

kotter change model gary tremolada

The Guiding Coalition is central to the network and consists of volunteers representing all levels, departments and skills in the hierarchy. All members are equal.

Before you can begin to build a guiding team, people need to influenced and persuade to begin a journey. The other part of this process is to ensure once you have the team ensure that you have the right behaviours, skills and leadership capability. So, the difficult conversations need to occur in an open and honest manner. Monitoring and in some way encouraging positive conflict can be useful in letting go of the norms.

Keep it simple, ensure that the team has clear objectives and that senior/executive management are able remove barriers as the team is moving to its objectives.What’s more, most team members have other jobs to do and are unlikely to be fully committed to the change project. Of course, everyone is polite. And they say the right things. But words rarely translate into concrete actions when trust is low. People rarely say what’s on their mind, problems surface and so does blame or what I call B.O.X behaviours. (Blame, Objections and Excuses) Therefore, team member can be trained on how to have a difficult conversation. The norm is to focus on O.P.B (Outcome, Process and Behaviour).

Part 4 Kotters change model


This app knows how you feel — from the look on your face

Gary Tremolada
Rana el Kaliouby (Computer scientist)

Our emotions influence every aspect of our lives — how we learn, how we communicate, how we make decisions. Yet they’re absent from our digital lives; the devices and apps we interact with have no way of knowing how we feel. Scientist Rana el Kaliouby aims to change that. She demos a powerful new technology that reads your facial expressions and matches them to corresponding emotions. This “emotion engine” has big implications, she says, and could change not just how we interact with machines — but with each other.

Click TED Talk

5 Essential Skills for an Entrepreneur

entrepreneur gary tremolada trainer facilitator

The five essential entrepreneurial skills for success: Concentration, Discrimination, Organisation, Innovation and Communication.
Harold S. Geneen

Concentration: focused and persistent in a single course of action in-spite of the environment. You only need to right once. Expect resistance.

Discrimination: Being able to make the right decisions given available information and market intelligence gathered. Moreover, being able to recover from incorrect decisions quickly.

Organisation: Use the Pareto Principle the 80/20 rule. Focus on the the items that will give the most return. 20% of the things you do will give you 80% of the results.

Innovation: Look for better ways, there are always better ways of doing things. Remember, there is always resistance to change.

Communication: Get really good at influence, persuasion, verbal and written communication. You must be able to get you point across to the greatest amount of people and more over to the right people. Understand their language. Develop you sales skills.

Cornell Note Taking System

I was in a coaching session yesterday and what occurred to me was the person I was coaching didn’t quite organise the information discussed  in the session. In-fact is was just a jumble of notes with not real clear structure.

So, it go me thinking. Where did I learn how to take notes? Is there a system? Funny enough I learnt this system in 1995 from a university lecturer. At the time I wasn’t paying much attention about who invented. A quick search on Google yielded the answer. Cornell Note Taking System, by Walter Pauk.

Its the system that I have used for years. There are many others, this is the one I use.

The sheet of paper should be organised like the picture below.

cornell notes system gary tremolada

The Cue Column: This is where you put the main ideas of the meeting. The salient  points not a summary, just keywords.

Note Taking Area: Take detail notes/diagrams that are related to the cue column. Explain in detail what the cue means.

Summary: Keys points, key action items, time lines, people involve.

Give it a go, it will definitely organise your information for quick reference.