Spend a day with one of the world’s top leadership development thinkers — the venerable Dr. Marshall Goldsmith — and this is the zen of his message.
He filled an auditorium, no surprise, with a rapt audience. Interestingly, his focus was as much on the personal aspect of our lives as the professional. A confirmation of the confluence we are experiencing in this challenging, new, 24/7 world.
His sober summary of what we face:
- Globalization – It’s tough, the bar is raised
- New technology – Labor-saving devices extend the workday, not leisure time
- Current economic crisis – Outcome is unknown
- Work/life balance – A ”union mentality”that no longer reflects reality
- Pace of change – F A S T
Getting rid of stress is key to behavioral change and life improvement, according to Goldsmith. Unload the unproductive aspects of daily life and gain energy for the goals we seek to achieve.
As an example, his research shows that 65% of all interpersonal communication is spent on either crowing or groaning, i.e., people talking about how smart, special or wonderful they are — or listening to someone do the same; people talking about how smart, special or wonderful they are — or listening to someone do this. Reduce these stats and you will reduce your stress.
Pick the right marks. For the people or things that drive us crazy, he has succinct advice: “If they do not care, don’t waste your time. If you do not care, don’t waste your time.”
Streamline your efforts. Ask yourself, what one behavioral change will make a significant positive difference in my life? How will this change make a difference? List the benefits. Repeat the process. Follow-up and accountability are key to achieving the result.
In his notable Feedforward exercise, participants ask others in rapid-fire succession for quick ideas/suggestions for a pressing issue/problem. Boom, boom, boom. You receive a litany of fresh, unedited, actionable feedback. The benefits and requirements:
- Letting go of the past
- Listening to suggestions without judging
- Learning as much as you can
- Helping as much as you can.
Ask for input. Offer to help.It’s not what we say. It’s what we do.
To develop yourself as a leader and partner, Goldsmith lays out these steps:
Ask → Listen → Think → Thank → Respond → Involve → Change → Follow-up
Here’s the best part: The importance of having Mojo in work/life, as opposed to Nojo(a wonderful counterpoint phrase invented at the request of his book editor).What do you radiate? It makes a difference at work and at home!
Every decision in the world is made by the person who has the power to make the decision.
Therefore, he suggests, at any point in the day, ask yourself:Is what I’m about to do in the best interest of myself and the people I love?
Be accepting. Be happy. Let go.
Thank you, Marshall!
September 12, 2009