Maximizing Success

Career coach James Waldroop offers his strategies for turning Achilles’ heels into personal success

Are you a bulldozer at work? A Mr. Spock? A loose lips? A peacekeeper? If you find yourself falling into one of these roles at the office, James Waldroop has the cure.


Waldroop, founder of Peregrine Partners and author of the forthcoming book, Maximizing Success (Currency/Doubleday), recognizes 12 Achilles’ heels that manifest themselves in destructive behavior and that inhibit personal success.

We’ve adapted the following diagnostic test from Waldroop’s book. It’s an interactive quiz designed to alert you to self-defeating behaviors, and to offer suggestions for overcoming personal habits that may be sabotaging your career success.

If you identify with any of the answers for the following scenarios, you are likely suffering from one of the Achilles’ heels outlined by Waldroop.

Following the diagnostic, visit Coaching Strategies to read more about each of the 12 Achilles’ heels and specific tips to begin battling each.

Finally, see Ingredients for Success for an outline of Waldroop’s recipe for thriving in your work and in your life.



1. Every office is like a mini soap opera, abuzz with gossip and office politics. How do you deal with the social side of work?


A. I resent it. I don’t understand why schmoozers and brownnosers are always rewarded. Diligent work and quality should garner the same rewards.

B. Politics? What politics? I talk to a couple of people, but the vast majority aren’t really worth my time. I’m here to work, not to get caught up in whiny B.S. If that’s what office politics is all about, then I guess I just don’t get it.

C. I dive right in. I am always in tune with office news and gossip. I have friends in various departments, and I know exactly what’s going on across the organization — personally and professionally.

2. Launching new projects is an integral part of this organization. As launch day approaches, you often feel:

A. A bit nervous. I fear we may have too many cooks in the kitchen. I steer clear of nasty disputes that make working in groups uncomfortable. I prefer to take one step at a time to avoid conflict.

B. Excited! I’m off and running. I am irritated by the number of people included in projects because I’d like to take them on myself. I often do that, regardless of others on my team.


C. Bored. This job doesn’t excite me, and it certainly doesn’t challenge me. I often find myself wishing I had my friends’ jobs. If only I had gone to B-school …

3. When faced with a group project, you often begin by:

A. Finding holes in the plan. I often disagree with the rest of my team because I am the only one gutsy enough to broadcast problems. In general, I champion change!

B. Expressing relentless ambition. I get so excited, but something always slides out of place, and it never turns out the way I want. I know my ideas are solid, but the execution is flawed, and we end up with a less-than-great product.

C. Keeping the integrity and brand of the organization intact. I keep the “idea people” grounded, because I recognize where a project will flop. I am the voice of rationality and reason.

4.Your true feelings about your career most resemble:


A. Constant defeat. I work hard, but I constantly mess up. I don’t seem to have what it takes to make it to the top or to succeed within this organization.

B. Good and solid. I know I work hard, and I feel extremely productive. I think I’m doing a great job because I end up working later than many people and my coworkers call me the company martyr.

C. Flat. I don’t remember what drove me to this work, or this job. I don’t hate it, but this job doesn’t get my juices flowing like it once did. I’m too comfortable to look for another job, but my heart just isn’t in this one.

Go to Coaching Strategies to read a full list of Waldroop’s 12 Achilles’ heels that minimize success along with specific coaching strategies to begin battling these afflictions.

Go to Ingredients for Success to learn what it takes to max out your personal potential.