Author Archives: Dr. Bill

The Magic Response that will Make You Great at Receiving Criticism-Once and For All!

Are you great at receiving “constructive” criticism? Yeah, I thought so too. After all, I get paid to be a precise communicator as speaker, consultant and coach. Unfortunately, as I would soon learn, I needed a second opinion.

A quick poll of my business colleagues and family yielded the general consensus: “You are not terrible at receiving criticism, but you often have a comeback, explanation or a rebuttal. Especially, if you disagree with the feedback given you. You are smart, but you can be defensive.” To that, I responded: “Yes, but what if the feedback isn’t remotely accurate?” “Bingo, there you go!” was their quick return. Touche!

What about you? Chances are, you are not as good at receiving criticism as you think either. Most of us are not- even those, ironically, with advanced degrees in communication-related fields.

Can you radically improve in a short amount of time. Yes!

Marshall Goldsmith, noted business coach, offers a transformative response to criticism you can put to immediate use. It is simple to execute but it will mean holding your tongue and treating all feedback you receive, one-on-one, similarly-something that is emotionally challenging to do, especially if you are used to being right or having the answers! But, if you learn to faithfully apply Goldsmith’s technique, it will change your business and personal life as it has mine. Why is it so powerful? Because some of the most valuable feedback we will ever need to hear will, sadly, remain unsaid. Others will quietly determine it is not worth the cost of offering it to us.

Goldsmith’s technique is challenging to use consistently but is straightforward. In response to any feedback or criticism you receive simply respond:

“Thank you for pointing that out. I will give what you said careful consideration.”

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Dr. Bill’s Business Book of the Month: “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” by Marshall Goldsmith

You have been a leader for years, you know your industry inside and out. What is one of the biggest challenges you will face in this phase of your career?  For many, it is no longer having the same level of feedback about your job behavior or performance you once received.

In the beginning our work life, feedback can be nearly constant, but as we grow in responsibility, the valuable mentorship and coaching we had early in our career can difficult to find, or we can suppose that we have less to learn. While most top organizations continue to provide feedback in some form even to their leaders, the lack of feedback can be particularly perilous in smaller organizations or in ones in which leaders are running their own businesses.

The marketplace has changed tremendously over the past two decades and it is easy to dismiss new realities and skill sets as just a fad, especially when they require a tectonic shift in the way we have always managed or led. Two realities are at play: First, there are ways of operating that worked well for years that are suddenly irrelevant today. Second, just because you have excelled so far does not mean those same skills will take you were you need to go in the future.

It is the rare top leader that actively seeks out challenging ongoing feedback about his or her performance, blind spots emotional intelligence, and social skills.  In his classic book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, author Marshall Goldsmith, challenges career professionals to do just that and shows you exactly how. For this reason, it is mandatory reading for all my executive coaching clients, and this month’s Business Read of the Month.



Calculating the True Cost of Workplace Conflict

If your organization or team is involved in an ongoing conflict, it is crucial to calculate its true financial and marketplace costs. Beyond the obvious losses of productivity and morale, conflict can also steal the valuable time and attention of leadership, damage market reputation, and repulse top job seekers and clients.

A Case Study:

XYZ corporation has been dealing with a conflict within one of their work groups for the past three months. There are 10 people on the team and their salaries average $45,000/year, a very modest income by today’s standards. Their conflict is “medium” in severity- everyone on the team feels the conflict, but just half seem to be directly affected by it.

Trust between some team members has been lost. No one has quit or been fired just yet, but there are rumors that a few team members are beginning to put out their resumes. There are no legal issues or claims to date, but H.R. and leadership have been involved and aware of the problem for some time.

In unresolved conflict, tangible and intangible costs accrue monthly. We will consider both. Below is a breakdown of the standard costs associated with our modest conflict case study along with some explanation as to how we arrived at these numbers:

Cost #1: Wasted Time— based on the specific factors above, this cost is $9540/month. This accounts for the loss in which XYZ Company paid employees for time worked and got nothing.

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Helping, Healing and Hope: Common Reactions to Mass Casualty Events


This week our nation mourns the tragic aftermath of the Las Vegas massacre, the worse mass shooting in U.S. history. As of this writing, 59 concertgoers lost their lives, and more than 500 were injured. In total, 22,000 attendees left the venue in terror or risked themselves to assist others. Just one step removed, their grief will be shared in the coming days by hundreds of thousands who will know someone personally who was there. Beyond this group, are the millions of us who were glued to our televisions when the news broke and wept with those who shared their eyewitness accounts and stories of personal loss. Many felt a degree of their anxiety and sadness, even though we may have been thousands of miles away, or knew no one present.

These growing incidents of mass domestic violence frighten, sadden and shock us. As psychologists explain, they shatter our sense of a “just world,” the belief that if we are careful, good and kind, we will be safe. And, we can easily relate to at least one or more of the victims—a teacher, a Disney employee, a policeman, a nurse, and we think, “I could have been at that concert too.”

Can there be a “normal reaction” to such a horrendous event?

Mass shooting research and response informs us that at least a third of those who attended the Las Vegas concert will need counseling. Some may benefit from psychiatric help as well. A testimony to the resiliency of the human spirit, others will experience a short period of acute distress over a few days, but will not exhibit ongoing, debilitating stress symptoms or PTSD that would signal the need for ongoing mental health treatment.

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Counting the True Costs of Ongoing Corporate Conflict

What is the true cost of ongoing team or interdepartmental conflict?

A team of 20, $45K per year employees who are experiencing a medium level conflict will cost the organization $91,000/month.

In this short video, Dr. Dyment examines the immediate financial impact as well as the wider effect on morale, public relations and the ability to retain and hire the best personnel.

Responding to Critical Workplace Incidents

What is a “critical incident”?

How can your organization best respond to a traumatic event?

In this short video (4:50 minutes), The Dyment & Associates team, a “first responder” for more than 20 years, shares their six-step, rapid-response process-the critical incident stress debriefing.