5 Ways to Become a Better Leader!

It’s an age-old question: Are we influenced more by nature or nurture? Applied to leadership, the question becomes: Are great leaders born or made? It’s one of the most frequently asked questions in leadership development.

Let’s start with the definition of “leader.” My good friend and mentor, Dr. Paul Hersey, defined leadership as “working with and through others to achieve objectives.” Given this definition, anyone in a position whose achievement requires support from others can play the role of a leader. I love this definition because it supports the philosophy of “leadership at all levels,” which is so critical in today’s world of knowledge workers.

Indeed, millions of people who are currently working with and though others to achieve objectives are already leaders. Whether they think of themselves as leaders (not to mention whether they are fantastic or disastrous leaders) is another issue.

So can people who are already working to influence others become more effective leaders? The answer is an unqualified “yes.”

My partner, Howard Morgan, and I conducted an extensive study on leadership development programs involving more than 86,000 participants in eight major corporations. Our findings were so conclusive that they are almost impossible to dispute. Leaders who participated in a development program, received 360-degree feedback, selected important areas for improvement, discussed these with co-workers, and followed-up with them on a consistent basis (to check on progress) were rated as becoming dramatically better leaders—not in a self-assessment, but in appraisals from co-workers—6 to 18 months after the initial program. (If you’d like a copy of this study, you can find it here.

So, what did we conclude are the five ways to become a better leader?

Leaders who participated in the same developmental programs and received the same type of feedback—but did not follow-up—were seen as improving by no more than random chance would imply. Here are some specific ways to increase your leadership effectiveness:

  1. Get 360-degree feedback on your present level of effectiveness, as judged by co-workers you respect.
  2. Pick the most important behaviors for change—those you believe will enhance your effectiveness as a leader—e.g., “become a more effective listener” or “make decisions in a timelier manner”).
  3. Periodically ask co-workers for suggestions on how you can do an even better job in your selected behaviors for change.
  4. Listen to their ideas—don’t promise to change everything—and make the changes that you believe will further increase your effectiveness.
  5. Follow-up and measure change in your effectiveness over time.

Are leaders born or made? If you are working with and through others to achieve objectives, you are already a leader. Can you become a more effective leader? Definitely.

Triggers is a #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller! Order it at Amazon. See The Marshall Goldsmith Thinkers50 Video Blog for more of this video series.

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Why You Need a Personal Superhero!

My greatest hero is Buddha. He is my personal superhero.

Like all of my other wonderful heroes, Frances Hesselbein, Peter Drucker, Alan Mulally, and Dr. Paul Hersey, Buddha was a generous teacher.

The difference between the Buddha and my other heroes is that although I never met him, his teachings transcend space and time to me today and he illuminates my life thousands of years after his. Even more incredible, he didn’t even write a book! He teaches me across the space and time continuum and he does it through other people.

Let me give you one example of how I have tried to use Buddha’s teaching in my work. Buddha suggested that his followers only do what he taught if it worked in the context of their own lives. He encouraged people to listen to his ideas, think about his suggestions, try out what made sense – keep doing what worked – and to just “let go” of what did not work.

Similarly, I teach my clients to ask their key stakeholders for suggestions on they can become more effective leaders then listen to these ideas, think about the suggestions, try out what makes sense – keep doing what works – and let go of what does not.

When our stakeholders give us suggestions on how we can become more effective, we can look at these suggestions as gifts – and treat our stakeholders as gift-givers. When someone gives you a gift you wouldn’t say, “Stinky gift!” “Bad gift!” or “I already have this stupid gift!” You would say, “Thank you.”

If you can use the gift – use it. If you don’t want to use the gift, put it in the closet and “let it go.”

You would not insult the person who is trying to be nice by giving you a gift. In the same way, when our stakeholders give us ideas, we don’t want to insult them or their ideas. We can just learn to say, “Thank you.”

We cannot promise to do everything that people suggest we should do. We can promise to listen to our key stakeholders, think about their ideas, and do what we can. This is all that we can promise – and this is all that they expect.

Get in the habit of asking the important people in your life, “How can I be a better…?”

This works at work – in your efforts to become a better leader, team member, or co-worker.

This works at home – in your efforts to become a better friend or family member.

Who do you need to ask, “How can I become a better…?” How do you typically respond to suggestions? Do you treat them as gifts – or do you critique them and the person making them?

That is just one way that I use what Buddha has taught me.

Recently I was so inspired by Buddha’s role model that I decided to mentor 15 people at no charge. My idea was to pick 15 people to teach everything that I know. In return, these 15 would do the same thing for 15 others, for free.

I called the project #15Coaches.

The response to this offering was so overwhelmingly positive that I have decided to expand the group to 100 Coaches. What is so amazing to me about the breadth of responses is that everyone who applied has a desire to “give it back.” This is a wonderful optimistic message of who we are as a group!

Because of this incredible response, I have decided to expand the program and it is now called #100Coaches. I am currently selecting the next 75 coaches! For more details and updates, please go to my website (www.marshallgoldsmith.com) or follow me on social media.

Thank you all for your support of this great project!

#100Coaches

Triggers is a #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller! Order it at Amazon. See The Marshall Goldsmith Thinkers50 Video Blog for more of this video series.

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One Thing Super Successful People Don’t Do!

Super successful people do not “coast” on their success.

Over the years, I’ve worked with hundreds and hundreds of very successful people, and I’ve found they have one thing in common. They always keep challenging themselves. They always keep trying to be better.

I have a tendency to want to coast. If I’m good at something, my default is to keep doing it! This isn’t always a great asset.

One of my greatest heroes, Dr. Paul Hersey, co-creator of Situational Leadership™, was a wonderful mentor to me. Paul pointed out this fault of mine to me many years ago.

Paul was a great teacher and a generous man who taught me not only all about Situational Leadership, he also taught me about myself. When I first met Paul, he let me follow him around to try to learn what he did, which was to give talks to different business leaders. He was probably the highest paid person in our field at the time. One day, he got double-booked. He asked me, “Can you do what I do?” I said, “I don’t know.” He said, “I need help. I’ll pay you $1000 for one day.” This was 39 years ago, I was 28 years old, and I was making $15,000 for one year! I said, “You’re paying me $1000 for one day’s work? Sign me up coach!”

The program was for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. When I showed up instead of Paul, they were not happy. I did the presentation anyway, and at the end of the day was ranked first of all the speakers! They called Paul after the program and said “Marshall was great. Send him again.” Paul called me up and asked me if I wanted to do another program for them. Of course I did!

That’s how I got into the business.

I worked with Paul for quite a few years doing this. One day he told me that I was very good at what I did, selling days and speaking, but that I was making too much money and complacent in my success. He told me that I was just a hamster on a wheel not going anywhere, that I would probably make lots of money and have a good life, but if I continued doing what I was doing I wouldn’t become the person I could be.

I respected Paul immensely and his words triggered a profound emotion in me. I knew he was right. Unless I changed some behaviors of mine that had in fact led to my success, I would never create anything new for myself.

But I was too busy maintaining a comfortable life, and for 12 more years, I didn’t follow Paul’s advice. I just coasted on my success. The work I did was good. People were happy. It was very lucrative, but I wasn’t becoming the person I could be. I was living the tale I tell in What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. What got me “here,” which was a good place, wasn’t going to get me anyplace else.

It wasn’t until I met some of my other heroes, Frances Hesselbein, Richard Beckhardt, Peter Drucker, that I began to change. These other heroes of mine helped me focus on the things that Paul had suggested I engage in to grow: original thinking, writing, creating, and research.

Without these mentors, I would never have become the #1 leadership thinker in the world. And, without Paul’s advice, I would never have known that coasting on our achievements can be one of the biggest flaws of very successful people!

Triggers is a #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller! Order it at Amazon. See The Marshall Goldsmith Thinkers50 Video Blog for more of this video series.

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Marshall Goldsmith 15 Coaches Winners + Much More!

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Dallas to Riyadh!

A few months ago I came up with the idea of mentoring 15 people at no charge. My idea was to pick 15 people to teach everything that I know. In return, these 15 would do the same thing for 15 others, for free.

I called the project 15 Coaches.

I was inspired to do this by the many wonderful teachers and leaders who have so generously helped me – without ever asking for anything in return. It is my way of recognizing the amazing contributions they have made in my life.

I am so excited and moved by the more than 10,000 applications I have received!

For weeks I have been reviewing these applications. The many wonderful ideas of how applicants will pay it forward are humbling and inspiring. I wish I could mentor everyone who applied.

Given the overwhelmingly positive response I have received for this project, I have decided to expand the program from 15 to 100 coaches!

The project is now called 100 Coaches and I am currently working on the selection of the next 75 coaches!

The first group of 25 coaches will join me in Phoenix in December. There will be three more groups – one from Asia/India, one from the US, Europe, and South America, and one group of younger people and people from developing countries who are ready to make a difference in their communities and pay it forward.

In selecting the first 25 coaches, I have tried to achieve a great deal of diversity. The 25 have come from eleven different countries. They represent all kinds of different people who are interested in this field, including: thought leaders, authors, external coaches – to family business, small business and large business, internal coaches and executives.

Here is the list of the 25 coaches who will join me December 2-4 in Phoenix.

The First 25 of the 100 Coaches Winners

(Listed by group – not ranking)

Alexander Osterwalder – Thinkers 50 #1 Strategy Thinker 2015, co-founder Strategyzer, Osterwalder Strategy Facilitation, million-selling author Business Model Generation and Value Proposition Design, inventor Business Model Canvas

Herminia Ibarra – Thinkers 50 #8 Management Thinker 2015, #1 Leadership Thinker 2013, Professor at INSEAD, best-selling author Working Identity: Unconventional Strategies for Reinventing Your Career

Whitney Johnson – Thinkers 50 #49 Management Thinker 2015, Disruptive Innovation expert, author Disrupt Yourself: Putting the Power of Disruptive Innovation to Work

David Peterson – Pioneer executive coach, head of coaching at Google, author Development FIRST and Leader as Coach

Judith E. Glaser – Top executive coach, speaker, noted author Conversational Intelligence,Creating WE: Change I-Thinking to We-Thinking & Build a Healthy Thriving Organization and The DNA of Leadership

Michael Bungay Stanier – #2 ranked executive coach, speaker, senior partner Box of Crayons, award winning author Do More Great Work and The Coaching Habit

Doug Winnie – ActionCOACH #1 small business coach 2016

Everett Alexander – Start up and family business coach, financial advisor and fund manager

Pawel Motyl – Formerly CEO HBR Poland, noted speaker, consultant and executive coach, author Labirynt. Sztuka podejmowania decyzji

Bernie Banks – Former General US Army, head of Leadership Development West Point, currently Associate Dean Northwestern Kellogg School

Carol Kauffman – Founder/Executive Institute of Coaching Harvard Medical School McLean Hospital, chief supervisor Meyler Campbell Business Coaching Program

Praveen Kopalle – Professor Dartmouth Tuck School, head of Tuck coaching program

Sanyin Siang – Executive Director Coach K Center on Leadership & Ethics (COLE), laboratory for leadership, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business

Clark Callahan – Managing Director – Custom Programs, Harvard Business School Executive Education

Kathleen Wilson-Thompson – Executive Vice President and Global Chief Human Resources Officer HR Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. at Walgreens

Prakash Venkataraman – Senior consultant executive development LinkedIn, coach, facilitator, leadership development expert

Aicha Evans – Corporate Vice President and General Manager of the Communications and Devices Group at Intel Corporation, one of the highest ranking women in the chip industry

Deborah Borg – Chief Human Resource Officer Bunge Limited, former division president Dow USA, passionate about the human dimension of business and leadership in support of the business agenda

Bill Simpson – President and CEO Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company, dedicated to the greater mission of providing value to the Milton Hershey School and home for children

Garry Ridge – CEO WD 40, author Helping People Win at Work: A Business Philosophy Called “Don’t Mark My Paper, Help Me Get an A”

Pooneh Mohajer – Inc. Magazine nominee, co-founder and CEO TokiDoki, co-founder Hard Candy, visionary entrepreneur

Feyzi Fatehi – Inc. Magazine nominee, founder and CEO, Corent Technologies, author The 10x Innovation Revolution: Inspiring a Culture of Disruption and Entrepreneurship Within Any Organization

Gabriella Teasdale – President at Fundación Transformación PY, CEO Paraguay Leadership Team – John Maxwell Team

Asheesh Advani – CEO Junior Achievement Worldwide, author Investors in Your Backyard: How to Raise Business Capital from the People You Know andBusiness Loans from Family & Friends: How to Ask, Make It Legal & Make It Work

Ayse Birsel – Co-founder Birsel + Seck, famous designer, author Design the Life You Love: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Meaningful Future(

(After developing this list of wonderful people, I have read hundreds of comments online. While almost all are positive and encouraging, some have mentioned that we should include more young people or people who are not as fortunate. Based on this good idea – this is exactly what is going to happen!)

Stay tuned! I’ll be making more announcements on my website and social media channels with more information about the 100 Coaches project soon!

Life is good.

Marshall

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How to Tell If You Are in the Wrong Job

Every once in a while, you have a moment of clarity, a flash of insight into what you really want, who you really want to be, how you really want to live your life.

Can you recall a few of these glimpses?

I’ve had three such flashes of “temporary sanity” in my life. The first was years and years ago. I broke my neck surfing. I thought I would never walk again. For many months I went through an incredibly long rehabilitation process. During that period I reflected on what I wanted to do if I walked again I looked at what is really important to me and made a promise to myself to follow through on those things if I got better. The good news is that I am walking again and I have followed through on much of what I wanted to do.

The second time I had temporary sanity I was on an airplane. The pilot announced over the speaker system that we were going to have to crash land with no landing gear. I thought I might die! I asked myself, “What do I regret?” The answer I came up with was that I had never adequately thanked the many people who had been so good to me in my life. I told myself, “If I ever get back down on the ground safely, I will thank these people.” The plane landed safely and when I got to my hotel room, the first thing I did was write thank you notes to at least 50 people who had helped me in my life!

The third time I had such a flash of sanity, I was about 30 years old. I went on a volunteer trip to Africa with the Red Cross. I saw many starving children having their arms measured. If their arms were too big they did not eat. If their arms were too small they did not eat. Their arms had to be just the right size if they were to eat that day – meaning they were not too hungry to survive and not too well fed so as not to need food. It was during that trip that I realized how fortunate I am. I remember this trip and picture those children every time I feel “justifiably” upset, like when my plane is delayed for hours on end and I need to get to my next location. When this happens, I remember those beautiful children, and I repeat this mantra over and over in my mind: “Never complain because the airplane is late. There are people in the world who have real problems. They have problems you cannot even begin to imagine. You are a very lucky man. Never complain because the airplane is late.”

Every once in a while we all have these moments of clarity, these flashes of temporary sanity, especially when we go through traumatic, potentially life-threatening events. What are yours? What did you tell yourself that you really wanted to do, be, act, when you were faced with these events?

If you’re not doing those things now where you work, take a good look at your job. Ask yourself: Is this what I want to be doing? Do the company’s values align with mine? Am I living my life according to my temporary flashes of sanity, or am I just “selling days” paycheck to paycheck as my vision and hopes for myself fade into the background until the next moment of sanity comes, which could be a lifetime away.

Today, I am taking my own advice to heart again. In a recent moment of temporary sanity, I decided that I am going to teach 15 people everything I know, for free. This is my chance to honor the many wonderful teachers and heroes that I have had over the years and to give to others as they gave to me. If you’d like to follow the 15 Coaches project, please visit my website http://www.marshallgoldsmith.com/ or follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or here on LinkedIn. I’m going to announce the 15 Coaches on October 28 and will be documenting the entire process in my writings and videos.

Triggers is a #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller! Order it at Amazon. See The Marshall Goldsmith Thinkers50 Video Blog for more of this video series.

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Give away the bread!!!

Dear Friends – Please watch this video, if you can. It is one of my favorites.

Do you get more when you give more? I believe so, yes.

Our values are key to designing our lives, to becoming the people we want to be, to creating the life we want. If we live our values, it shows. For instance, two of my values are generosity and teaching. So, I give all of my material away on my website. You can copy, share, download, and duplicate it, it’s all free. In return for giving, I get more wonderful people in my life, more amazing experiences, more than I ever could have imagined. Counter-intuitive yes, and absolutely true in my experience.

I have an interesting story about generosity that I’d like to share with you. When I was young, there was a program in Kentucky, where I grew up, called the March of Dimes Bread Drive. My high school was one of the poorer schools in the area, and I was put in charge of the bread drive for my area. We would have been predicted to come in near last place. Instead we can in first place!

We were instructed to knock on doors in our neighborhood. When someone answered the door, we were to ask them, “Would you make a donation?” If the person made a donation, then we were to give them a loaf of bread.

I told my team, “We’re going to do something different. We’re going to give them the bread. At the end of the day, the bread will be thrown away in any case. If the are too poor to make a donation – let them have the bread.” Then we’ll tell them, “If you want or are able to make a donation that would be nice, if not that’s okay too. Either way, we’re going to give you the loaf of bread.”

You see, to me, it was demeaning to try to bribe someone with a loaf of bread. If they can give you something back for it, great. But, maybe they can’t right then, maybe they can’t afford it, maybe they aren’t capable of it. That’s okay too.

It was during that March of Dimes Bread Drive that I really started to live the philosophy of giving.

It’s been a good philosophy of life for me to just “give people the bread.” And, in Valley Station, Kentucky those many years ago, that is how my little March of Dimes Bread Drive team ended up raising more money than any other team in the county!

Today, I’m giving the bread away again with my legacy project 15 Coaches. With 15 Coaches, I am going to teach 15 people everything I know, for free! This is my chance to honor the many wonderful teachers and heroes that I have had over the years and to give to others as they gave to me.

If you’d like to follow the 15 Coaches project, please visit my website, http://www.marshallgoldsmith.com/, or follow me on TwitterFacebook, or here on LinkedIn. I’m going to announce the 15 Coaches on October 28 and will be documenting the entire process in my writings and videos.

I am so honored to have this opportunity to once again, “Give Away the Bread!”

Triggers is a #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller! Order it at Amazon. See The Marshall Goldsmith Thinkers50 Video Blog for more of this video series.

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One Quick Exercise for Planning Your Life

My friend, designer Ayse Birsel, recently taught me an incredibly powerful way to plan for a successful life. I believe that success is defined by each individual differently – because we have different values. Success could be a new job, a better relationship with your spouse, a great school for your kids, a bigger salary, or all of the above. Everyone is unique. This exercise will work for anyone! For me, success is achieving my mission: helping successful people get even better.

According to Ayse, our point of view informs how we think about something. Last year I had a great year as a professional. As a coach and executive educator, I try help successful leaders become even more successful. As an author, I try to help my readers achieve positive, lasting change in behavior.

Ayse suggested that I try a little exercise to expand my point of view, to look at myself and what I do and see differently. Since I am a fan of hers, I did as she asked. The results have been phenomenal!

Why don’t you try this exercise now? (This exercise is adapted from Design the Life You Love: A Step-by-Step Guide to Building a Meaningful Futureby Ayse Birsel, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House.)

Ayse says, “Here inspiration is a key tool. When designing your life, inspiration takes the form of other people. I call them heroes—real or fictional—people we know personally or know of.”

“Just write your hero’s name, draw an icon for them, and list their qualities. You can have one or many heroes—list as many as you’d like and continue to add as new heroes come to mind. These heroes tell us something about our values, beliefs, and the kind of life we aspire to live. Many things can change in life but our values are a constant. They are the foundation of our life design.”

Now cross out your heroes’ names and put in your own name. To the degree possible, be a leader, manager, coach, person just like that, and you will be more successful!

In doing this exercise myself, I found that all of my heroes are generous teachers, like Buddha, Frances Hesselbein (former Girl Scout CEO), Alan Mulally (former Ford CEO), Peter Drucker (Father of Modern Management), and Paul Hersey (Co-creator of Situational Leadership®). Reflecting on what I learned from my heroes, I made a decision. I decided that just like my many teachers before me, I will give to others what has been so freely given to me.

How will I do this? With my new project 15 Coaches. 15 Coaches is my legacy project. I am going to teach 15 people everything I know, for free! This is my chance to honor the many wonderful teachers and heroes that I have had over the years and to give to others as they gave to me. If you would like more details, please go to http://www.marshallgoldsmith.com/15-coaches/.

This little exercise changed my life in a very positive way! I hope that it does the same for you!

Dear Friends,

Thank you so much for your incredibly positive response to my 15 Coaches – Pay It Forward project. So far over 10,000 people have applied. I have received thousands of positive notes. I have one hope for you. Do the same thing when you get older. It is worth it!

Triggers is a #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller! Order it at Amazon. See The Marshall Goldsmith Thinkers50 Video Blog for more of this video series.

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How to Save Yourself from a Job You Hate!

Saying no is difficult for me. I want to do everything! I want to help everybody! Helping people makes me feel good. I love the variety of opportunities that I have every day, and I love the way I feel when I say yes!

Unfortunately, I don’t love how I feel when I am stuck doing a job I don’t like or want to do anymore. And, I’ll tell you a secret, sometimes I feel this way!

There are a couple of options here.

  1. Say no when I am asked to do something. (This is practically impossible as I love the way I feel when I say yes more than I hate the way I feel when I’m doing something I don’t want to do!)
  2. Ask myself, is this the best use of my time and do I really want to this? (Again, unfortunately, given my nature, I may think ‘no,’ but I say “yes”!)

Let me analyze this a bit here. Much of my time is spent doing things because I did them in the past. These things are no longer something I want to do, they are an obligation. I feel trapped because I don’t have any other ideas than to continue doing what I’m doing.

If you’re like me, you might want to try a tool taught to me by one of my clients. This client is a venture capitalist, and before he commits to any new project, opportunity, or job, he decides on an exit strategy. He plans how he will leave the current opportunity when the time comes. He is in the business of investing in new projects, so he is in a constant state of needing to exit so that he can continue to create new opportunities.

(I love this week’s video! Please click on the video and watch if you get a chance.)

I have taken my client’s lesson to heart. I now think of an exit strategy before I commit. I plan an exit strategy before I say yes. If it is appropriate, I communicate this plan so there are not expectations of me that I do not want. If it is not appropriate, I write down my long-term plan and my exit strategy and review it monthly, adjusting it as needed, but not adjusting for expectations! I adjust so that I can continue to accept new opportunities without feeling obligated to stay in the past.

You may have heard about my 15 Coaches Legacy Project. Existentially, 15 Coaches is my exit strategy. I know I won’t be here forever. What do I want to accomplish before I “leave”? What do I want to do now so that when I am 95 years old and I look back on my life I don’t say, “I wish I would have” or “why didn’t I do that?”

I want to mentor 15 people, to teach 15 people everything I know! There is no cost for this mentoring. In return, these 15 people will have to commit to teach 15 people everything they know when it is their turn. It is my hope that this exit strategy will help hundreds or even thousands of people! If you would like to get involved or learn more details about the 15 Coaches Legacy Project, please visit http://www.marshallgoldsmith.com/15-coaches/.

Triggers is a #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller! Order it at Amazon. See The Marshall Goldsmith Thinkers50 Video Blog for more of this video series.

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Be a Better Leader – Be More Like Your Heroes!

Recently I was at a workshop with my good friend designer Ayse Birsel. Ayse has created a program that helps leaders Design the Life You Love. During the program, Ayse asked us (the participants) to list our heroes.

I made my list. Here are some of the people who were on my list.

  • Frances Hesselbein, Former Girl Scout CEO
  • Alan Mulally, Former Ford CEO
  • Paul Hersey, Co-creator of Situational Leadership®
  • Peter Drucker, Father of Modern Management
  • Bob Tannenbaum, UCLA Professor
  • Warren Bennis, Renowned Leadership Expert
  • Richard Beckhard, World Leading Organizational Development Consultant
  • Buddha

Then, Ayse asked us to put down next to each person’s name, what we found so heroic about them. I did that and this is what it looked like.

  • Frances Hesselbein – extremely generous, great teacher
  • Alan Mulally – extremely generous, great teacher
  • Paul Hersey – extremely generous, great teacher
  • Peter Drucker – extremely generous, great teacher
  • Bob Tannenbaum – extremely generous, great teacher
  • Warren Bennis — extremely generous, great teacher
  • Richard Beckhard — extremely generous, great teacher
  • Buddha – extremely generous, great teacher

Finally, Ayse asked us to cross out our heroes’ names and put in our own name.

Marshall Goldsmith – extremely generous, great teacher.

Ayse said “That is your heart’s desire – to be an extremely generous, great teacher like your heroes. This is the kind of leader you want to show up as.” I thought more specifically about what each person has taught me. Below is the short list of what I have learned from them. Each of these people has taught me so much. This is just a kernel of the wonderful learnings that they gave to me so freely.

  • Frances Hesselbein taught me that listening is an art, and that it is oftentimes crucial to our success to “listen first, speak last.” Read more here.
  • Alan Mulally taught me the #1 Greatest Lesson for Coaches – If you are a coach, make it about your clients, not about you and your own ego. Read more here.
  • Paul Hersey taught me that sometimes being too good at something can hold us back from being the best we can be, it can hold us back from investing in our future and achieving our true potential. Read more here.
  • Peter Drucker taught me one of the most fundamental concepts that I use in all of my coaching and client work – how to effectively influence decision makers keeping one key notion in mind. “Every decision that impacts our lives will be made by the person who has the power to make that decision – not the ‘right’ person, or the ‘smartest’ person, or the ‘best’ person – make peace with this fact.” Read morehere and here.
  • Bob Tannenbaum taught me that sometimes it’s easier to see our problems in others than to see them in ourselves. Sometimes what really bothers us about someone else is just a reflection of our own behavior. Read more here.
  • Warren Bennis taught me by example that if the answer to the question, “Do you love what you do?” is “I don’t know,” it is time to rethink what you are doing and perhaps change it. Read more here.
  • Richard Beckhard taught me that while we may think it would be great to have enough money to never work again, we’d never have to wake up early, go to work, or meet deadlines again. It is hard to find fulfillment in what we won’t have do. We can only find fulfillment and meaning in what we will do. Read more here.
  • And, finally, Buddha… Buddha taught me to do only what he taught if it works in the context of my own life. He encouraged people to listen to his ideas, think about his suggestions, try out what made sense – keep doing what worked – and to just “let go” of what does not work. This is the essence of my feedforward coaching.Read more here.

Here is my suggestion for you. Make a list of your heroes. Next to their names, write down why they are your heroes. Now cross out their names and put in your own name. To the degree possible, be a leader, manager, coach, person just like that.

After doing this exercise myself and reflecting on what I learned from my teachers, I made a decision. I decided that just like my many teachers before me, I will give to others what has been so freely given to me.

How will I do this? With my new project 15 Coaches. 15 Coaches is my legacy project. I am going to teach 15 people everything I know, for free! This is my chance to honor the many wonderful teachers and heroes that I have had over the years and to give to others as they gave to me. If you would like more details, please go tohttp://www.marshallgoldsmith.com/15-coaches/. The response to this project has been amazing! As of September 24th, we have over 6,000 applicants!

Triggers is a #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller! Order it at Amazon. See The Marshall Goldsmith Thinkers50 Video Blog for more of this video series.

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Giving Away All I Know – ‘Pay It Forward’!

A Letter from Marshall Goldsmith

Dear Friends,

I am 67 years old.

It is time for me to give back!

Last year, I was recognized as the Thinkers 50 #1 Leadership Thinker and the #1 Executive Coach in the World. My latest book, Triggers, was a #1 New York Timesand Wall Street Journal bestseller. This year, the editors at Amazon.com listed my books, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There and Triggers as two of the top 100 leadership and success books ever written (in their ‘to read in your lifetime’ series). Over my nearly 40 years in Executive Education, I have had the privilege of working with over 200 major CEOs.

My new project is called 15 Coaches. I am going to teach 15 people everything that I know – for free. This is my small way of honoring the many wonderful teachers and leaders who have so generously helped me – without ever asking for anything in return – people like Frances Hesselbein, Alan Mulally, Paul Hersey, Richard Beckhard, Warren Bennis, Peter Drucker – and many more.

The only ‘fee’ for this mentoring is that the 15 Coaches who are selected have to promise to do the same thing for 15 other people when they get older. My hope is that this pay it forward project may ultimately benefit hundreds, or even thousands, of people.

Applicants for 15 Coaches could be other coaches, consultants, professors, teachers, HR professionals or leaders in any type of organization – anyone who feels that he or she can benefit from what I have learned in my four decades of coaching and teaching. I would love to end up with a diverse group that includes people from around the world and from both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations.

Applications are due October 15th. (Link here.)

Many of the top leaders and thinkers in the world have graciously agreed to work with me on this project. They are donating their valuable time to help our 15 coaches make a positive difference. We will have our first meeting on December 2 (for dinner) through December 4 (ending around 2 PM) in Phoenix, Arizona. We will be joined by several fantastic leaders and thinkers, including Alan Mulally, former CEO of Ford. Alan has been recognized by CEO Magazine as CEO of the Year in the United States and byFortune Magazine as the #3 Greatest Leader in the World.

Given that we already had many applicants, it is obvious that only a small percentage of the people that apply will be selected. As a small ‘thank you’ for applying, all applicants will be able to attend my series of webinars – at no charge – in 2017.

If you would like to apply, please visit www.MarshallGoldsmith.com/15Coaches and submit your application.

Thank you so much for your interest in my work and for considering this invitation!

Life is good.

Marshall

PS – As of today, September 21th, over 5,500 people have applied for 15 Coaches. Thank you so much for this wonderful response! Applications are open until October 15th. Please apply, if you are interested. Even if you are not selected, you can participate in the webinars.

Triggers is a #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller! Order it at Amazon. See The Marshall Goldsmith Thinkers50 Video Blog for more of this video series.

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