Sunday, June 1, 2008

Marshal Goldsmith -ASTD 2008 San Diego

Marshall Goldsmith, one of the world's top executive coaches, presented the today at ASTD. the following is what I captured from his excellent talk. (Excuse the errors.. I am blogging live). It is important to note that he stressed that he learned most of what he shared through coaching. Teaching is his love.. and he told us anything he does is available from this web site :

Told us we can use anything from his site. A very open-source kinda guy! I am already a fan!

He began by quoting Drucker and reminded us that it is often what we stop doing that make us a better leader, not what we start doing.

Classic issues that executives struggle with:
  • Winning too much - #1 problem of executives! 75% of his clients fail this case study.. whereas they were right on something and showed everyone they know it. Too competitive!
  • Adding too much value - when someone gives us an idea.. we always have to suggest how to improve it. We still ideas from our team. ("My suggestions become orders" - CEO of Glaxo-Cline) Before speaking.. breath.. ask yourself is it worth it?
  • Telling the world how smart we really are - You don't have to prove your smart.. It is not important for your subordinates to know you know so much.. let them be the smart one
  • Passing to much judgment - Help more, pass less judgment.
Having spoken to thousands of people, he asks them all.. "What percent of interpersonal communication is spent on:"
  • "Listening to other people talk about how smart, special, or wonderful they are (or saying it)?"
  • "Listening to other people talk about how stupid, inept, or incompetent someone else is (or saying it)?"
The answer is 65% of all interpersonal communication is spent on this!

He stressed that we have to quit the following things:
  1. Using destructive comment, about individuals?
  2. Begin sentences with "No," "but," or "however."
  3. Begin sentences with "That's great, but (however)...
One item not seen on leadership profiles... He had reviewed many instruments.. "effectively "sucks up" to higher management" We have a great problem with individuals kissing up because we created an environment.

  • How much do you think your direct reports like you?
  • How much do your direct reports resemble you?
  • What is their contribution to our company and our customers?
  • How much positive recognition do you give your direct reports?
Goldsmith charge the group to pick one behavior you are going to work on. Then he did his famous Feedforward exercise: Go to other people and tell them what you want to work on.. ask them to give you feedback (ideas) without discussing the past, you must listen without judging , learn as much as you can. Move to as many people as you can in the time allowed. After the exercise.. he asked the group to finish the sentence "This exercise was...._____________" The answers were all positive, fun and useful, because:
  • successful people love getting ideas.
  • you don't have to think... you can listen and learn.
  • no judging is allowed, so it is a very positive experience
  • you are not obligated to do the idea.
  • reciprocity.. it is two way.. both give ideas and thanks
  • you do not have to know them get help or to help them
  • you do not have to be superior to help someone
His best coaching exercise:

Think about a 95 year old person who is about to die.. what advice would they give you?

Final comments:
  • Be happy now!
  • Friends and Family are important!
  • Have a dream!
  • Take the time to help people

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