4 Tips for Navigating Adversity and Change

 

In my work around the world, I hear a lot of frustration as people, leaders, and managers face significant industry changes and work harder than ever — frequently, they are frustrated because in the past, bad decisions were made at their organizations and they feel they are taking the brunt of those poor decisions.

For instance, in one bank that I know well almost every part of the business had a great year — except the division that lost billions of dollars and negated all of the other divisions’ success. This made life very tough for the employees in the successful divisions. So, what can we learn and how can we grow from adversity?

One of the most common characteristics of successful people is that we have a very strong “internal locus of control.” In other words, we believe that our success in life is a function of the motivation and ability that we bring to the world. Less successful people tend to see success as a function of external factors — or the environment.

Normally this belief in our control over our own destiny works in our favor. It makes us motivated and encourages us to build our skills. It helps us take responsibility. (It also keeps us from wasting money on lottery tickets!)

When negative environmental factors impact our success, our strong internal locus of control makes it hard for us to accept the reality of the external environment. We begin to get angry because “It isn’t fair,” and we ask questions like, “Why am I being punished for others’ mistakes?”

I cannot help any company get back the billions of dollars it has lost. And I cannot help individuals get a bonus or save their valued staff members. I will try to help you make the best of the situation. My suggestions are:

  1. Realize that we all make mistakes. The individuals who made bad decisions — or their bosses — are just humans. Historically, these people have made some very good bets. Recently they made some very bad bets. You don’t have to love them, but just accept them for being who they are. Carrying around anger directed toward your fellow employees does not help you, your company or the people who work with you.
  2. Forgive yourself. You are an adult. You chose to work with this company. In a way, you made a bet. Sometimes our choices don’t work out as we had planned. This does not make you a bad person — just a human being. At a deeper level, the person you are really mad at may be yourself. Don’t be personally ashamed because your company has lost money. While you can own your own performance, you can’t own the performance of people who you do not control.
  3. Reassess the situation. One of greatest challenges for investors is to learn the meaning of “sunk cost.” What’s done is done. Let it go. Objectively reconsider your situation. Given the world that exists today, do you want to stay? If so, make the best of where you are. Do you want to leave? If so, begin searching for another job.
  4. Remember your deeper mission in life. Behave in a way that optimizes benefit for yourself and the people that you love. Don’t cut off your nose to spite your face by letting your anger override your logic. I have seen many otherwise smart people make stupid decisions when they were angry. Don’t let this happen to you.

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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The Most Successful Leaders Know This!

 

Edited from Lifestorming by Marshall Goldsmith and Alan Weiss.

The most successful leaders know that building your legacy starts now. Not next week, not next year, and not when you decide to retire, but right now!

Legacy is often thought of as something left behind or handed down by a predecessor. While that may be true and common, what’s not so commonly understood is that legacies do not appear upon retirement, departure, or death.

Legacies are created daily.

Every day you’re writing the story of your life—another page, another chapter. Your legacy is on those pages. The question is, of course: Are others going to read a boring book where each page is basically identical to the one preceding it, or will they read a splendid story that evolves and contains surprises and leaves a strong message for the reader? And perhaps even a philosophy, a set of skills, or a value system?

Two thousand years after they wrote we still read Homer, Socrates, and Aristotle. Global religions were begun by individuals thousands of years ago. The plays of Shakespeare and Molière still delight us, as do the stories of Dickens and Chekhov. Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, and Frank Sinatra have left legacies with their music. Madame Curie, Jonas Salk, and Alexander Fleming created legacies in medicine.

But closer to home, more intimately, we are the beneficiaries of legacies within our families, our communities, our professions. For instance, your uncle may have left you the legacy of laughter. A business owner for whom you’ve worked may have left you with the legacy of entrepreneurialism. Many people may have provided you with the legacy of community service and philanthropy.

It may be somewhat shocking to hear this at first: You can consciously create your legacy, starting now. Too many people are unaware of this opportunity or ignore it, at their peril. Think about it: If you are consciously thinking about contribution and what you provide for others, not just for your lifetime but for theirs, might that not color and influence your behaviors and decisions today?

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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Lessons I Learned from the Father of Modern Management, Peter Drucker

 

At one meeting of the Board of the Peter Drucker Foundation, I asked Peter, “You have written so much about mission—what is your mission?”

Peter replied, “To help other people achieve their goals—assuming that they are not immoral or unethical!”

Along with his brilliance, he was a simple and humble man who wanted to help others achieve their goals. He not only taught me about management, he also taught me about life. By his example, he showed me the importance of loving what you do—and communicating this enthusiasm to others.

He loved his wife, family, friends, work, and life. His zest for living was always there—even at the end. I visited with Peter shortly before his death. He took the time to have a lively discussion about the state of the world and the future we face. I was amazed at his sense of history, his deep insight, his passion, and his caring. Peter Drucker did not just teach by what he wrote—he taught by who he was.

Here are learnings that I received from Peter Drucker, which have shaped who I am, what I do, and how I work in the world. I hope you’ll find them helpful too!

Peter once told me that companies should be able to “put their mission statement on a T-shirt.” The same can be true for you! For example, my own mission is to be the world authority in helping successful leaders achieve positive, lasting change in behavior. Your customers (or employers) will respect you more if you do not pretend to know everything about everything but instead have a unique brand.

Peter taught me three things about how to impact decision makers and thus make a huge impact at work. First, he taught me that our mission in life is to make a positive difference. It is not to prove how smart we are or how right we are. We get so lost in proving how smart and how right we are that we forget that’s not what we’re here for.

The second thing that Peter taught me about making a huge impact at work is that every decision in life is made by the person who has the power to make the decision. Make peace with that. Decisions are not necessarily made by the best person, the smartest person, or the right person.

And, third, he said, if I need to impact a decision-maker and they have the power to make a positive difference, the one word I should use to describe them is “customer.” I’ve put all this together in a short phrase that I teach to all of my clients. “The best leaders focus on making a positive difference and selling their ideas to decision makers, not on proving how smart or how right they are.”

Finally, Peter taught me this wonderful phrase that inspires me to action every day: “The greatest wisdom not applied to action and behavior is meaningless data.”

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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5 Things that Matter Most in Leadership & Life

 

Edited from Lifestorming by Marshall Goldsmith and Alan Weiss.

The evolutionary journey is not grandiose, but gradual. It’s about doing something—even small things—every day, not waiting for huge leaps and otherwise doing nothing. Children evolve very quickly. Why should we be different as adults?

The challenge is that in adults, evolution must be self-intentional. If we don’t deliberately pursue our evolution it won’t happen. If we don’t continually strive to learn we will stagnate and stop our growth. We may be comfortable, but our contribution will stop.

To continue our evolution in leadership and life, we must continue to learn. In the most positive sense, learning is power, and those of us engaged in lifelong learning—whether seven or seventy—are constantly enhancing our power. Our evolutionary journey is one of accumulating power so that we can help ourselves and others. This is the essence of leadership.

We have to be lifelong learners and continually gain power over:

  • Health: What do we need to do to sustain good health, especially as our physical condition changes? What can we be proactive about and what should we be reactive about? What are only fads and myths and what is fact? What kind of physical activity is best for us?
  • Money: How much will we need at different points in our life for what kind of lifestyle? How should investment strategies change? How much risk tolerance do I have and should I have? What kind of banking relationships should I create?
  • Relationships: Are there long-term, poor relationships that ought to be repaired (or abandoned)? Are you developing new and appropriate relationships for you career? Are you making the most of relationships to expand your horizons, gain work, and grow?
  • Happiness: Are you enlarging your sources of happiness? Can you synthesize happiness by making lemonade from lemons and a citrus industry from lemonade? Are you creating happiness for others and sharing yours with friends and family?
  • Meaning: Happiness and meaning are interrelated. Too many of us believe that we are engaged in a search for meaning. The truth is that we should be oriented toward creating meaning. The creation of meaning involves the perpetuation of our own happiness.

Lifestorming is about the independent and bold creation of meaning for ourselves, shunning the external meaning often foist upon us by society and the media. Our position is that just as no one should consume wealth without creating wealth, no one should consume happiness without creating happiness., and so on. There should be no one who is simply a taker and consumer.

Truly successful people are happy because they lead lives full of meaning. There is meaning in their lives because they are happy. They realize the reciprocity between happiness and meaning. We need meaning and happiness to lead great lives. This is the essence of lifestorming.

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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Are Your Beliefs Hindering Your Success? Take This Test and Find Out!

 

Edited from Lifestorming by Marshall Goldsmith and Alan Weiss.

In our eagerness to succeed—perhaps the most intense type of social pressure in American society—sometimes, instead of living our real values, we adopt the values we think we’re supposed to have. For instance, when we hear that charismatic people are successful, we try to seem charismatic (even if that’s an awkward fit for our personality). Some of us try to hang onto our authenticity by describing ourselves how we want to be seen. These methods don’t work! Your belief system needs to be adjusted to what is and who you are, so that you can make decisions and take actions in the present that reflect the real you and what you’re actually doing—authentically – and that will lead you to success.

I was lucky enough to be with one of the most respected consultants in organizational change, Richard Beckhard, a couple of days before he died. Dick was a great coach and mentor to me, as well as an inspiration for many people in our field. When I last visited him, Dick knew that his life was almost over. His doctor respected him enough to let him know that he was not going to recover, and he needed to say his last farewells.

As I watched Dick answer a series of phone calls, I found him not only saying good-bye. He was continuing to help other people. I was amazed at the excitement and enthusiasm he was able to convey. He was working with people in the same caring and effective way he always had.

My first thought was, “Dick, why don’t you just let it go and take care of yourself? You’ve done enough.” Fortunately, I kept my mouth shut. Dick was still smiling, still able to laugh, still filled with passion. He knew that he wasn’t going to be around to collect the consulting fees for his final assignments. It didn’t really matter. He was still doing a great job—even from his deathbed. In that instant, I made a decision. I decided that I wanted to be like Dick Beckhard when I grew up.

I like recalling that moment, because it’s a relatively rare example of when one of my beliefs changed. People often change their beliefs about critical issues if they’re willing to listen to opposing views, even on controversial topics (yes, it can happen, even though it’s far too rare in our political discourse). Many have obviously changed their beliefs about drinking while driving, or cigarettes, or what does and does not constitute a medical disorder. But most of us hold to our beliefs even though they limit our ability to contribute, grow, and succeed.

Here’s a quick test to challenge and evaluate your beliefs:

  1. What are your basic beliefs about yourself; e.g., what you are great at (teaching), what you just can’t do (play an instrument), how you respond (impatient), and so forth?
  2. What merits reconsideration and/or change (you could take piano lessons, learn to swim better, leave your corporate job and start your own business)?
  3. What actions and behaviors should be modified, created, abandoned, in light of those changes (resign from a group, confront a poor relationship, make different investments)?

You probably don’t do this too often, if at all. Yet without a conscious evaluation of our beliefs, they can become sclerotic. We assume they’re true and shouldn’t change. We act, therefore, as if they are continually valid in determining our lives. But none of us is the person we were a year ago, let alone five years ago, or whenever these beliefs were inscribed in our cerebellum. In fact, one of my lines that draws the greatest acknowledgements in audiences is, “I’m constantly surprised by how stupid I was two weeks ago.”

Maybe it’s time to change our attitudes!

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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7 Signs You’re Exuding Confidence as a Leader

 

Edited from Lifestorming by Marshall Goldsmith and Alan Weiss

Have you ever met a very confident leader? A person who exudes self-esteem and somehow commands respect. This person isn’t really different from anyone else, they just seem different because they consistently demonstrate a high level of confidence in themselves, their actions, and their decisions. This person has a presence that most people don’t have. For those in leadership and potential leadership positions, you likely want to be one of these people. Just how do you go about that?

Presence isn’t a magical quality – it is something that you can acquire. First, though, you need to understand what it really is. If you do a quick search on Google, you’ll be met with over 500,000,000 hits on the word “presence.” (Yes, over 500 million.)

Let’s try to simplify this.

The word “presence” has gained new currency among leadership thinkers in recent years. We could quibble with the term (somehow “charisma” has more, well, charisma than presence), but not with the notion behind it: That those who have it are immediately effective, highly regarded, and heeded. Who hasn’t wished to be that person who:

  • Is never interrupted when speaking.
  • Causes a hush in the room.
  • Makes an endorsement that is immediately effective.
  • Has people clamoring to be part of the team.
  • Admits to an error with no repercussions.
  • Always receives the benefit of the doubt.
  • Can propel a new idea forward, or derail it.
  • Is sought out as a teammate and a dinner companion.

We’ve found that people can gain presence during the evolutionary journey. It isn’t so much a learned skill as it is the accumulation and resultant synergy of experiences, new learning, fearlessness, and high esteem (confidence). Sometimes you may possess it and not even realize it.

What are the attributes of presence in a person? There are seven listed below. How do you rate on these? Rate yourself from 1 to 5 on each attribute (5 being the highest, 1 being the lowest). This should give you a good idea in which areas you want to focus to improve your presence, or not!

Acquiring presence is a legitimate and important goal in your evolutionary journey (no matter what term we use to describe the behaviors or explain the impact). The key is self-esteem, that strong sense of worth that is undisturbed and undiminished by wins and losses, complaints and plaudits, ups and downs. We’re at our best when we are simply our best selves. Judy Garland said once, “Always be a first-rate version of yourself and not a second-rate version of someone else.”(1)

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.

(1)  https://www.goodreads.com/author/quotes/179335.Judy_Garland

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This Quiz Reveals Your True Leadership Potential!

 

Edited from Lifestorming by Marshall Goldsmith and Alan Weiss.

Most of us think of leaders as people of character. What exactly does that mean? Character evolves; circumstances change; what worked in one situation is unsuccessful in another. We take our definition from Robespierre, who claimed that, “No man can step outside the shadow of his own character.” And we add to it that we believe the shadow changes because of our growth and the angle of the light.

Here are six elements of what we’ve come to call character:

  1. Intelligence: The ability to apply critical thinking skills to problems and challenges. Separating how one thinks about something from what one feels about it. Aptitude for learning. The ability to quickly discern and apply patterns and identify distinctions.
  2. Drive or assertiveness: The ability to identify the need for and to create urgency. A goal orientation. Moving through and around obstacles that block others. Finding ways to make something happen rather than creating excuses about why something can’t happen.
  3. Happiness: As characterized in Dan Gilbert’s work at Harvard (1), happiness isn’t merely about the fortunate circumstances life brings us by chance, but our ability to create “synthetic” happiness (which we often dismiss negatively as rationalization). My getting fired was one of the best things that ever happened to me, just as a broken arm or a missed flight may be one of yours.
  4. Empathy: Part of strong character and a virtuous life is the ability to put yourself in others’ shoes and understand how they feel. The extension of kindness and the genuine regard for others is a wonderful character trait. This is why passive-aggressive behavior (“Your daughter was accepted at Michigan? Congratulations. Was that her back-up school?”) reflects weak character, because it is malicious and seeks to undermine others.
  5. Reciprocity and friendship: The ability to give as well as take, to contribute as much as benefit, is a strong element of character. Introversion is not a negative, but the unwillingness to help others and to create friendships is. Healthy people maintain friendships, although they frequently change with our circumstances.
  6. Intimacy and trust: Strong character demands the ability to form loving bonds and to allow for vulnerability. The people we coach who make the most progress the fastest are those who are comfortable exposing their fears and weaknesses—being vulnerable in front of others. People incapable of creating strong, intimate bonds in their lives are affected by a key character flaw.

Now for the test.

Rate yourself on a one-to-five scale on our six elements. Ratings are as follows:

  • I can’t really say that this is at all like me.
  • Occasionally, I could be described this way.
  • In some circumstances, I’m always like this.
  • This usually describes me.
  • I’m like this.

Score

  1. Intelligence ____
  2. Drive ____
  3. Happiness ____
  4. Empathy ____
  5. Reciprocity ____
  6. Intimacy ____

We’re not asking you to total these elements because the point is to raise each of them to the maximum level. There is no total score above which you are fine if any of the individual ones are low. Our feeling is that a 4 or 5 is needed in each element. Which, if any, are your weak points?

To build character, you need to build these six elements. To evolve character, you need to evolve these elements. Our recommendations:

  1. Intelligence: Read widely and diversely, including fiction, history, biography, science, and philosophy. Don’t allow social media to be your news source. Read the New York TimesWall Street Journal, and similar publications daily. Try to solve word and math problems. Practice writing your opinions in a blog or newsletter, then move to letters to the editor and op-ed pieces. Attend discussion groups, participate in mastermind groups, and invest in self-development experiences. The finest return you’ll ever obtain derives from an investment in yourself.
  2. Drive: Create short-term deadlines. Identify two priorities a day (personal and/or professional) that must be completed. Use a calendar to record your metrics for progress by predetermined dates. Don’t look for blame; find the causes of obstacles and then work to remove them. Don’t rely on others or wait for others, take control of your route to your goals.
  3. Happiness: Find the silver lining in any circumstance. Convince yourself that failing is a learning experience and that failing is far better than never trying. Make the best of situations. If your travel connection is missed, use the time to call friends or prospects, or to write a proposal you’ve been meaning to get to. Buy a book you wouldn’t otherwise have picked up. At the beginning of the day remind yourself of why you’re going to make it a great one, and at the end of the day review what went well, no matter how minor. Focus on the improvements in your behavior (your character) and not on achieving victories that are defined by someone else’s criteria.
  4. Empathy: Think about similar circumstances you’ve experienced as you listen to someone else. Try not to make judgments, but to listen and understand. Don’t position yourself as a teacher but rather as a colleague. Ask for more details, even if you believe you’ve understood the circumstances. Encourage the other person to talk.
  5. Reciprocity: Identify how you would like to be treated if you were the other person (not necessarily as you’ve been treated in the past). Don’t hesitate to give more than you received. Don’t expect a thank you for something that you’re doing as a courtesy or to help. (A lot of us allow a car to cross in front of us in heavy traffic, but some of us become incensed when the other driver doesn’t offer a formal thanks!) Accept the fact that reciprocity doesn’t have to be immediate in all cases.
  6. Intimacy: Be willing to talk about “defeats” and setbacks. Call a failure a failure. Ask others you trust (trust, hence intimacy) what reactions and advice they have. Be open to hearing another’s burning issues even if you consider them to be trivial or irrelevant. Proactively ask for help and opinions. Make an effort to stop being embarrassed by personal questions and expressions of personal feelings.

Note 1: Stumbling on Happiness, Knopf, 2007

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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4 Things Successful People Do to Have Great Relationships!

 

Edited from Lifestorming by Marshall Goldsmith and Alan Weiss

Relationships fuel our journey. Some are constant sources of power, some are present for certain intervals and provide guidance and help. There are others, however, which should be avoided, ended, or minimized because they represent unwanted detours, excess weight, or distraction.

First let’s review different types of relationships.

Some are permanent; examples can include our families, life partners, close friends, and professional colleagues. These are the lifelong bonds we have with some people. These venerable relationships endure not necessarily because of frequency of contact, but because of the nature of the relationship.

Some relationships are transient. Some friends, acquaintances, coworkers, and colleagues enter and leave our lives. Parting can be voluntary or involuntary. Such relationships can be highly valuable and rewarding, even if only for the short term.

Finally, many some relationships are virtual. By virtual relationships, we’re talking about the nature of the relationship itself. These are connections we have (note that they’re called “followers” or “friends” or, literally, “connections”) with electronic representations of people. Virtual friends may be transient or permanent—and, many permanent and transient relationships are enhanced by the use of social media. However, there is a difference between the use of social media as a communications tool for face-to-face relationships versus a source for developing new relationships.

With these distinctions in mind, let’s now focus on sustaining your journey through relationships, whether permanent or temporary or virtual, with these four goals in mind:

  1. We have to give to get. For relationships to be fulfilling we have to invest in them; we can’t simply be takers. What we offer needn’t be tangible (although it can be); it can be listening, support, feedback, or empathy. Relationships are two-way streets. You can’t hog the road.
  2. Relationships are based on trust. Trust is the belief that the other person has your best interests in mind and that you have his/her best interests in mind. Honest feedback and advice, even when painful, are part of caring for the other person.
  3. Relationships are not a zero-sum game. For me to win, you don’t have to lose. For you to win, I don’t have to lose. We can both win (or lose). I am not diminished by your victories. We rejoice in success and bemoan loss for either party.
  4. Relationships need to be appropriate. If you’re promoted, your former colleagues are now subordinates, and your former superiors are now peers. You can reach a level of familiarity and ease in a personal relationship that may not be right for a professional relationship. Similarly, social relationships have their own unspoken rules. You probably wouldn’t act the same way your college friends as you would with your prospective mother-in-law.

One of the things that makes successful people so successful is that they have great relationships. Practice living the four goals above and you will have them too!

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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The Greatest Threat to Success and How to Avoid It

 

In a recent dialogue with my friend and Lifestorming co-author, Alan Weiss, we talked about the greatest threat to success and how the most successful people in the world avoid it. The greatest threat to achieving success is not admitting we need help to get better and be the best!

One thing that every great leader, athlete, and talented person has that helps make them the best at what they do is a coach. They all have help. Can you imagine Pau Gasol or Serena Williams without a coach? How about Floyd Mayweather? Of course not! Why would we think that these greats need help but we can do it by ourselves?

A product of my deepest learnings over the past few years as a coach, boils down to a simple sentence, and it’s this “We all need help and it’s okay!”

When I started in the coaching field 30 years ago, no CEO would admit to having a coach. They would have been ashamed to have a coach. Today this has changed. One thing that I’m very proud of is that in my book Triggers 27 major CEOs endorsed the book. They proudly admit to getting help.

To me, this is much healthier. We’ve all got behaviors we’ve been working on for decades. Say we want to be a better listener. We vow to change and yet we don’t. Why is making this promise to ourselves again today going to make us different tomorrow? It’s not. We have to admit we need help and it’s okay! Admitting we need help makes a significant positive difference for all of us.

In my own life, I pay a woman to call me on the phone every day. Why? My name is Marshall Goldsmith. I’m the world’s leading executive coach. I was ranked number one leadership thinker in the world. I pay a woman to call me on the phone every day. She listens to me answer my daily questions, questions that I write and I answer, every day. Why do I do this? My name is Marshall Goldsmith. I’m too cowardly to do this by myself and too undisciplined. I need help, and it’s okay!

How about you? Where are some areas where you might need a little help? Make a checklist of behaviors and actions that you want to improve on and then ask someone to help you by listening to you gauge how you’re doing every day. It’s simple and still hard to do because we have to look at ourselves every single day. We give ourselves feedback every single day and we ask someone else to help us be accountable. It’s a great tool.

As my friend Alan said when we were talking about this process writing our book, “This feedback is invaluable. And that’s how we can all improve. In terms of Lifestorming, the more we think about ourselves, the more we think of ourselves, the less threatening it is to ask for help.”

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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1 Thing that Will Hold You Back No Matter How Good You Are!

 

Get ready, this is going to sound a little harsh.

The one thing that will hold you back in business no matter how good you are is being arrogant enough to think that you, your product or service, are so good that people will just search you out. This isn’t so! In order to have a successful and satisfying professional career, you’ve got to market yourself. You’ve got to promote your business!

Below are three suggestions for you as you build your business career.

  1. Find your own market niche. Work to develop a special competency that differentiates you from everyone else. Look for market needs that everyone else may not have considered. Ask yourself: What should be done that isn’t being done?
  2. Become a world expert. As intimidating as this sounds, achieving serious “world-class” expertise may not be as daunting as you might believe. If you pick a reasonably narrow area of specialization, focus on it, and learn as much as you can, you will start to accumulate immense knowledge within a few years. While you can never become the world authority on everything, you can definitely become a world authority on one thing.
  3. Build your own brand. Peter Drucker once told me that companies should be able to “put their mission statement on a T-shirt.” The same can be true for you! For example, my own mission is to be the world authority in helping successful leaders achieve positive, lasting change in behavior. Your customers (or employers) will respect you more if you do not pretend to know everything about everything but instead have a unique brand.

Keep in mind that as the pool of talent grows, it’s only going to get tougher out there. Make peace with this reality, learn the business, find your niche, market yourself, and you are going to be a lot more successful!

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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