YAPClassic: Dr. Marshall Goldsmith on Becoming a Better Leader
YAPClassic: Dr. Marshall Goldsmith on Becoming a Better Leader
Do you want to become the person you’ve always wanted to be, but can’t seem to beat out bad habits that hold you back, or form new habits that help you succeed? The leading expert on leadership and coaching for behavioral change, Dr. Marshall Goldsmith pinpoints common behavioral problems and how to overcome them to enact meaningful, lasting change. Through feedforward, the daily question process, gratitude, and 360-degree feedback, anyone can become a great leader and level up. In this episode, Hala and Marshall chat about why success makes you fail, the 20 habits that hold people back, how to avoid and overcome bad triggers, the power of listening, and how to live a happier life.
– Key Lessons learned from Peter Drucker
– What Buddhism taught him
– Defining “feedforward”
– Why success makes you fail
– Superstition trap
– Defining success
– Key concepts from his books
– The Daily Question Process
– Habits that hold people back
– Why the inherent urge to win?
– How to break the habit of being negative
– The power of gratitude
– 360-degree feedback
– Excuses people have for change
– Defining a behavioral trigger
– 4 stages of the feedback loop
– How to avoid triggers
– Why the environment matters
– How to change our habits
– Magic moves: apology and optimism
– What makes listening so powerful?
– Mojo vs nojo
– Advice for a happy life
– And other topics…
Dr. Marshall Goldsmith is recognized as the leading expert on leadership and coaching for behavioral change. He has been named one of the Top Ten Business Thinkers in the World and the top-rated executive coach at the Thinkers50 ceremony in London since 2011.
Marshall is the author of several Wall Street Journal and New York Times #1 bestsellers including Triggers and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, which is also the winner of the Harold Longman Award as Best Business Book of the Year. His newest book, The Earned Life: Lose Regret, Choose Fulfillment comes out May 2022.
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YAP Episode #42: Become a Better Leader with Dr. Marshall Goldsmith https://youngandprofiting.com/42-become-a-better-leader-with-dr-marshall-goldsmith/
Marshall’s Email: [email protected]
Inc.com: Do You Have Mojo or Nojo?: https://www.inc.com/marshall-goldsmith/mojo-nojo.html
Inc.com: Why Leadership is a Contact Sport: https://www.inc.com/marshall-goldsmith/contact-sport-overview.html
Marshall’s Website: https://marshallgoldsmith.com/
Marshall’s Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marshallgoldsmith/
Marshall’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/coachgoldsmith/
Marshall’s Twitter: https://twitter.com/coachgoldsmith
Marshall’s Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Marshall.Goldsmith.Library
Marshall’s YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCtvlM6xRUC_ErV_q1FgUgiA
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[00:00:00] I knew that you studied directly under the father of modern management.
Hala: His name is Peter Drucker. What was he like? And what were some of the key lessons that he taught you?
Marshall: Well, I feel very blessed. I mean, I've got ranked number one leadership thinker in the world twice. My intellect compared to his, is that of a ten-year-old child. This guy was so, so smart. He taught me many things and I'm going to share just a couple with you.
Marshall: One is he said, you know, we spend a lot of time helping leaders learn what to do. We don't spend enough time helping leaders learn what the stop. He said, half the leaders I meet. They do not need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop. Well, that one comment led to my book. What got you here?
Marshall: Won't get you there. Now the second thing he taught me, which is really good for younger people who are listening to your podcast right now. If your listeners don't understand anything I've said, but this one thing it's going to help them be more effective in life and happier including you. So this is just a great thing to learn.
Marshall: He said [00:01:00] our mission in life is to make a positive difference. Not that we're smart, not to pervert. Well, we get so wrapped up trying to prove how smart we are and right, we are. We forget we're not here on earth to do that. We're here to make a positive difference. If we don't make a positive difference, it doesn't really matter how smart we are or how right we are.
Marshall: Then he said, number two, every decision in the world is made by the person who has the power to make the decision, not the smartest person, the best person, a fair person or logical person decisions are made based on one and only one variable power. Whoever has the power to make the decisions. When you make.
Marshall: And he said, if I need influence you and you have the power to make the decision, there's one word to describe you. That's called customer one word described me. It's called salesperson. You sell what? You can sell. You change what you can change. If you can sell it, you sell it. If you can't sell it, you can't change it.
Marshall: Take a deep breath and let it. It's just such good advice. And before you deal with any topic, ask yourself one question. Am I willing at this time to make the investment required, to make a positive difference [00:02:00] on this topic? Am I willing at this time to make the investment required to make a positive difference on this topic?
Marshall: If the answer is yes, go for it. The answer is no.
Hala: That's really good advice. Something else that fascinated me about yourself and something that I feel is really different is that you describe yourself as a philosophical Buddhist. So what steered you towards Buddhism and what is being a Buddhist.
Marshall: Well, you're a little young for this, but back in the olden days, I was what was called a hippie.
Marshall: I spent for example, 19 69, 3 months out on the road, hitchhiking, that was like living in another era. And back in that day, people often study different kinds of religions and philosophy. So I studied Buddhism. So I've been a Buddhist verb. Oh, almost 50 years. And I'm not a religious Buddhist. I'm a philosophical, Buddhist Buddha was brought up.
Marshall: Very rich. His father was a king. He was protected from life. And then it was living in a kind of bubble. One day, he was able to sneak out of [00:03:00] the bubble and he looked around and learned something. He said, people get over. Then he was able to sneak out a second time. He learned people get sick. Third time when people die, you get old, you get sick and you die.
Marshall: Shit happens, not so good. Then he realized I can't be happy with more, all this money and stuff. It doesn't make any difference. Then he went out in the woods and starved himself and he tried to be happy with less. And he learned you can't be happy with less. He finally realized you can only be happy with one thing, what you have.
Marshall: There's only one time you could be happy and in Snell and there's only one place you can find peace that's here. Yeah. And that's, to me, the essence of Buddhism and in my coaching, I teach something called feed forward. Everybody asks for input. I teach them to listen to it, to thank people and they will promise to do everything.
Marshall: But you do what you can. And Buddha said only do what I teach. If it works for you. That's where I got the idea. If it doesn't work for you, it's okay. Don't do it. So when people give us [00:04:00] ideas to try to help us, rather than judging them or critiquing their ideas or putting them down, you know, the learning point is you say, thank you for the idea.
Hala: That's awesome. Super interesting. So like I mentioned, you are a world renowned leadership coach. Your clients are top performing CEOs and executives, but it's honestly a bit intuitive to think that top leaders who have achieved so much success, have trouble changing any unfavorable behaviors that they have on their own and need to seek outside help from people like yourself.
Hala: However, I know that's exactly what your popular book, what got you here, won't get you. There is all about, and you have said in the past, that success makes you fail. So can you explain why that is true and why it's extremely hard for successful people
Marshall: to change? Well, you're making a great point. Any human, in fact, any animal will replicate behavior.
Marshall: That's followed by positive reinforcement. And the more successful we become, the more positive [00:05:00] reinforcement we get and we fall into something called the superstition trap. What is it sounds like this, I behave this way. I am successful. Therefore I must be successful because I behave this way. Well, the reality is we all behave the way we behave and everyone I work with is mega successful and they're all successful because they do many things.
Marshall: Right. And it's some things. And I've never met anyone so wonderful. They had nothing on the, in spite of list. Well, we've all got something on in spite of list. So one thing I'm very proud of in my book triggers is 27 major CEOs endorsed the book. I'm so proud of that. It's 30 years ago, no CEO would admit to having a coach.
Marshall: They would have been ashamed of head coach embarrassed to have a coach. Well, today they're not as. Well need help. Twyla Tharp world's greatest choreographers had the same personal trainer for 27 years while she had the same trainer for 27 years. I'm Twyla, Tharp. I need help. And it's okay. [00:06:00] It's why she looks so good.
Marshall: Top 10 tennis players. How many of them have a coach? 10. Why did they have a coach? You're trying to get better. So I think it's really just a healthy way to look at life.
Hala: Yeah. So do you feel like there's a right balance between success and failure?
Marshall: On a more existential level. How do you define success?
Marshall: I'll give you just a few key variables. One is be healthy. If you're not healthy, the rest of this doesn't matter too much to you need enough wealth to have at least a middle or upper middle class kind of income. Extremely poor people are not particularly happy, but after you get to kind of a middle level of income from there on up more money, doesn't make you happier.
Marshall: Lottery. Winners are not that much. So you need wealth to a degree, you need health, then you need to have great relationships with people you love. So, you know, your listeners shouldn't get so focused on their career. They know the people they love, and then assuming you have enough wealth, you're healthy.
Marshall: You've got great relationships with people who love [00:07:00] what matters. Two things. The first is happiness who buy happiness. What I mean is you love the process of what you're doing. You just enjoy doing it. And the second is meaning that is the outcomes of what you're doing are important to you. And what's really important in life is you need to experience both happiness and meaning simultaneously, if you just try to achieve happiness without meaning.
Marshall: Well, you know, like for me, when you're older, you're some like old man playing crappy golf with old people at the country club, eating chicken sandwiches and discussing gallbladder surgery. Well, you know, that doesn't work right. There's empty. It's empty. On the other hand, if you try to pursue meaning without happiness, you're victim.
Marshall: So you really need to number one, love what you're doing. And two, you need to see is it meaningful to you? And the key that may four successes, no one can find happiness for you. No one can find meaning for you, but you, I cannot tell you what you love doing that has to come from your heart. I can also not tell you what's [00:08:00] meaningful for you.
Marshall: That also has to come from your heart. So happiness, meaning to me, that's the ultimate goal of success. It needs to come though from the inside, not from the outside diseases. I'll be happy when, when I get the money status BMW condominium, I will be happy with it. Well, we all have the same when you know, the key is, you know, be happy now.
Marshall: Be happy with what you have.
Hala: Yeah. That's so touching and it's so true. You've definitely got to know from internally what really matters to you and make sure you fulfill those things. So really graded. So let's talk about your two most popular books. What got you here? Won't get you there and triggers.
Hala: They've been recognized by amazon.com as two of the top 100 leadership and success books ever written millions and millions of people have benefited from your books, which is so incredible. So as an introduction to the books and also your expertise to our listeners, if our readers had to take away one key concept from each of these books, what would that be?[00:09:00]
Marshall: Well, first, I'll start with what got you here. Won't get you there. Teach people there is asked for input from everyone around you. How can I be a better manager? How can I be a better team player? How can I be a better supplier? How can I be a better customer? How can I be a better son or daughter? How can it be a better father or mother better brother, sister, but a friend or family member get in habit of asking that question.
Marshall: How can I be a better then listen to what people have to say again. Don't promise to do everything they say. Just promise to listen and think about it. Pick the most important things for you to improve, and then just follow up on a regular basis. How am I doing follow up on a regular basis, get input. And if you do this, I mean, they have research from tens of thousands of people.
Marshall: They tend to become more effective, not as judged by yourself, but as judged by the most important people in your life. So that's from my book. What got you here? Won't you there in my book triggers, I'll teach your listeners something. It takes three minutes, a day costs. Nothing [00:10:00] will help them get better at almost anything.
Marshall: Now, some people are skipping. Three minutes a day, costs nothing. Let me get better at anything. Sounds too good to be true. The people that started doing this quit within two weeks, not because it does not work, they quit because it does work. This is called the daily question process. And that's you get out of spreadsheet.
Marshall: You write down a column of questions that represent what's most important in your life. Friends, family, coworkers, et cetera. Every question has to be answered with a yes or no, or number seven boxes across one for every day of the week. At the end of the week, the spreadsheet will give you a report card.
Marshall: I will warn your listeners in advance. The report card they see at the end of the week might not be quite as beautiful as a corporate values pie. Cause he's stuck up on a wall. I've been doing this for years and you do this every day. You learn that life. Life is incredibly easy to talk. Less incredibly difficult to live.
Marshall: And if you do this every day, it's humbling. Most people can't do it. I have a woman named Jasmine call me every day. She's going to call me right after [00:11:00] this call. Every day she calls me and she listens to me read questions. I wrote and provide answers. I wrote every day, someone asked me, well, why do you have a woman call you every day?
Marshall: Don't you know, the theory about how to change behavior. I wrote the theory about how to change. I have a woman call me every day because my name is Marshall Goldsmith. I got ranked number one, leadership thinker coach in the world. I'm too cowardly to do this stuff by myself and to, and discipline to do it by myself and I need help.
Marshall: And it's okay. Once we admit we need help, life is better for everybody in this daily question. Process is amazing. The first six questions I recommend are number one, and they all start with, did I do my best number one? Did I do my best to set clear goals? Number two, did I do my best to make progress for achieving my goals today?
Marshall: Number three, did I do my best to find me. Number four, did I do my best to be happy? Number five, did I do my best to build positive relationships? And finally, number [00:12:00] six, did I do my best today to be fully engaged? And our research on this is amazing just by asking these six questions every day, you tend to get better and amazing ways.
Marshall: And if your listeners would like to get articles, I wrote one called leadership is a context work. And that talks about the point that I made from what got you here. Won't get you there. Or another one called. Not the daily questions from the book triggers. If they just send me an email, I'd be happy to send them copies of both articles.
Marshall: And my email [email protected] Marshall has two ELLs.
Hala: Cool. So let's stick on this daily questions for a bit. Why is it necessary to make sure that you're asking active questions rather than passive ones?
Marshall: If you ask like employee engagement surveys, it's always as passive questions. If you ask a person a passive question, we tend to blame the environment. For example, do you have clear goals? People say, no. Why not? Well, they're [00:13:00] confused. Do you have meaningful work? No, they make me do trivial. So them it's their fault.
Marshall: See these active questions begin with the phrase. Did I do my best to, and what's amazing about that phrase is you cannot blame someone else. All you have to do is try. You don't have to succeed than I even try. And that's why the active questions are so powerful. Let me give you the hardest question you could ever test yourself on every day.
Marshall: It has four qualities and this is totally counterintuitive. Quality of number one is you write the question, write your own question. Why is it hard? You can't blame the idiot that wrote the quick. Number two, you know, the answer. Does that make it hard? You can't say you don't know how to do it. Number three, you know, it's important.
Marshall: It's not trivial. And then finally, number four, all you have to do to make a high score is try. You just have to try. Yeah. They might ask why is that so difficult? No one to blame. It's very hard to look in the mirror every day. No wonder. [00:14:00] But yourself. And I've been doing this for years and I've learned about 95% of all my problems I can see in one place.
Marshall: Just look in the mirror, very hard to face this for most people. Including me, by the way, it's hard to do this every day. That's why a woman call me. Yeah.
Hala: The thing I love about the daily questions is that it really helps to build a habit. You know, they say, if you don't do something daily, your behavior doesn't change.
Hala: You don't change yourself. So sticking on habits You outlined 20 habits that hold people back from reaching the top. Some examples are winning too much, adding too much value and playing. We don't have time to cover all 20 in detail, but I'd love to run through some core themes that I picked out that relate to these 20.
Hala: Maybe let's start off with a theme of being too competitive. So some habits you mentioned that I think fall into this category are winning too much withholding information, claiming credit when we don't deserve it and failing to provide recognition. So can you talk to [00:15:00] us about this type of quote-unquote bad behavior and how it negatively.
Hala: Impacts our relationships.
Marshall: Well, what happens is we have been programmed to succeed and win every one of your listeners, including you have taken test after test, after test in your life. And I looked up your background. You're a very good student, 4.0 grade average, you got a lot of reinforcement for doing one thing over and over again, proving a smart you are over and over and over.
Marshall: And it's real tough when you've had as much reinforcement as you've had for proving how smart you are to stop doing. Let's see, it's hard. Every time you made those A's people pat you on the back. Oh, congratulations. You're the valedictorian of the school. And almost everyone I coach is just like you.
Marshall: They're real smart, hardworking people. What's hard when you take tests day after day after day, not to just go through life. Proving how smart you are now. Let me give you a couple of examples of this winning too much. You want to go to restaurant X, your husband, my friend or partner wants to go to [00:16:00] restaurant.
Marshall: Y you have heated argument. You go to restaurant, Y food tastes awful and services, terrible option. How you could critique the food and point out our partner was wrong. I mean, you know, this mistake could have been avoided if only he listened to me, me, me and B shut up. Eat the stupid food. Try to enjoy it and have a nice evening.
Marshall: What would I do? What should I do? Almost all of my clients. What would I do? Critique the food. What should I do? Shut up. Well, very hard for smart successful people, not to critique the food. Another one, even worse. You have a hard day at work. You go home, your husband, boyfriend, or is there. And the other person says I had such a hard day today.
Marshall: I had such a tough day and if we're not careful, we replied. You had a hard day. You have a hard day. You have any idea what I had to put up with. You think you had a hard day? We're so competitive. We have to prove we're more miserable than our people we live with. I gave this example to my class at Dartmouth, a young guy in the back, raised his hand.
Marshall: He said, I did that last week. I asked him what happened. [00:17:00] You sit in my wife, looked at me. She said, honey, you just think you've had a hard day. It's not over.
Hala: That's so funny. You know why we have the urge to want to win so much? What's the meaning behind that? Like, why is that so inherent for humans?
Marshall: Well, we've been reinforced throughout our lives for winning and proving our smarter. And again, at the lower level of an organization, that's really not so bad.
Marshall: You can't even have to prove yourself every time you get promoted, though, you gotta learn to stop doing that. And the worst thing is CEO can do is try to prove how smart they are and win all the time at that level. You want to make everybody else a winner don't want to make it all about you. So it's a very difficult transition.
Marshall: One of my customers said for the great individual achiever, it's all about me for the great leader. It's all about. You see, it's hard to make this transition from being an achiever, which is mostly about me to being a leader, which is mostly about that.
Hala: Yeah. So let's talk about the habit of being [00:18:00] negative.
Hala: So always kind of giving negative feedback and also starting our sentences with no, or, but, or however, can you explain that habit?
Marshall: It's one of the classic challenges of the smart people like coaches. They tend to be a little stubborn. Now I'm assuming you're not stubborn, but many of the leaders that I coach are stubborn people.
Marshall: So one night I was having dinner with general Eric Shinseki's head of the United States army four star general, when I'm shown by two to four star generals. And he said, Marshall, who is your favorite customer? I said, sir, my favorite customer is smart, dedicated, hardworking, driven to achieve creative entrepreneurial cares about the company and customers.
Marshall: Great values, high intent. Stubborn opinionated know it all and ever wants to be wrong. I said, sir, you think any of the generals in this very room may feel such a description? You said mark. We have a target, rich opportunity. Nobody. However thing is a classic problem with stubborn people. If someone talks to us, first word amount is no.
Marshall: Would you say shut [00:19:00] up, you're wrong, but what does buttoning disregard everything you've said? One of my clients was stubborn and opinionated, so I was reviewing his 360 feedback report. He said, but. I said that's free. If you ever do that again, I'm going to find you $20. All the money goes to the charity of your choice.
Marshall: You said, but Marshall 20, no, 40, no, no, no. 60, 8,000. He lost $420 in an hour and a half at the end of the hour and a half. He said, thank you. He said, I had no idea. He said I did that 21 times. We throwing it in my. How many times would I have done it? Had you not been throwing my face 50 times, 100 times. He said, no wonder people think I'm stubborn.
Marshall: The first thing I do when people talk to me is I prove I know more than them or they're wrong over and over and over and over again, he got so much better being a good listener just by learning that. Yeah.
Hala: A big takeaway I got from your book is that you need to sometimes just like pause. And if you're going to say negative response, or if you're going to [00:20:00] say no, or, but start.
Hala: Thank you instead and show your gratitude. And one of my favorite stories actually that you tell is about gratitude. And self-control you talk about being in the car with your wife, for example, maybe on the way to the airport and getting loud with her for telling you to watch out for a red light. And, you know, I've had this happen to me, with my boyfriend, maybe 10 times, at least.
Hala: So could you tell us about this story and share the lesson on why the best response you can say when you're unsure or when you're going to say something negative is.
Marshall: Well, you know, it's interesting. Everyone says they want to encourage honest input. We want people to tell the truth and we don't want to punish the messenger.
Marshall: So I teach my classes was how many of you believe you should encourage honest input, encourage the truth? No one should not raise their hand. Right. And I said, well, you wouldn't shoot the messenger, Georgia. Oh no, no. Of course not. Then I gave him this case study. Yeah. I imagine you come home from work.
Marshall: You've had a hard day in the car to go to the store. You're driving this store. Lots of traffic cars cutting in front of you. People [00:21:00] honking their horns. The person in the front seat goes, look out. There's a red light up ahead. You say thank you. Or did you say, what do you mean? There's a red light there.
Marshall: Anything I can see I'm going to drive this car. What do you mean? Quiet? Let me drive. Well, almost everyone in the room. She goes plan B. So what was the cost of that person saying, Hey, there's a red light a bit. What could that have saved your life, their life and the lives of other aunts and people.
Marshall: Somebody gives us something as a fantastic, but essential benefit. It costs nothing. What should we say to this person? Just say that. Thank you and don't beat him up for dealing with the truth.
Hala: So let's talk about improving some of these bad behaviors You were a pioneer of the use of 360 degree feedback. Can you tell us about this process?
Marshall: In my coaching? Every leader that I work with gets confidential feedback from all of their key stakeholders.
Marshall: These will be their direct reports, their peers, their managers could be board members, and then they pick important behavior to them. Then they go back and talk to people [00:22:00] saying, thank you for this feedback. Here's what I've learned. Here's what I'm going to do about it. They practice in feed forward. They don't ask for more feedback about the past that I did sort of the future.
Marshall: They don't critique the ideas. They shut up. They think people don't promise to do everything. And then they follow up on a regular basis. And the follow-up is, you know, two months ago, I said, I want to be a better list or professional in less two months. And just for the next two, they follow up, follow up, follow up.
Marshall: And then we measure them. And again, the people that did this stuff tend to get better people that don't don't.
Hala: Yeah. So I'm not sure which book this was in. Exactly. But you say that people change their ways when they feel like something they truly value is being threatened. Can you talk about this and maybe also talk about some of the big excuses people have for change?
Marshall: change is hard. And if we're going to change anything, we really have to have that kind of, but what's in it for me in terms of values. And that's why feedback is important. Most people do value their families and they get feedback from their families [00:23:00] that they're not doing a good job. They want to get better.
Marshall: Most people value their coworkers. They get feedback from their coworkers. They're not doing a good job. They want to get better. So that's really. In my book triggers. I talk about why we don't do all of the stuff we know we should. And there are a variety of reasons. Years ago, my biggest client was Johnson and Johnson.
Marshall: And at the end of my class, about 98% of the people said they were going to do what I taught a year later, about 70% have done something that 30% of that. Yeah, I'm not ashamed of these numbers. I'm very proud. 70% of 2000 people is 1,400 people getting evaluated by 10 co-workers each. So about 14,000 people.
Marshall: I have a little better life. So I'm proud of that. I got to interview the people that did nothing. And I said, why don't you do. Well, the answers had nothing to do with ethics values are integrity. They won an award that year, most ethical company in the world. There are good people. I'm sure your listeners are good people and other do with intelligence.
Marshall: They're smart. I'm sure your listeners are smart. The reason people did, nothing had to do with. [00:24:00] Dream I've had for years. And I would bet even at your young age, you've already had this dream. The dream sounds like this, you know, I'm incredibly busy right now, given work at home and new technology that follows me everywhere and emails and voicemails with global competition.
Marshall: I, I feel about as busy as you ever have. Sometimes I feel over-committed every now and again, my life feels just a little bit out of control. But, you know, I'm working on some very unique and special challenges right now. I think the worst of this is going to be over in four or five months. And after that, I'm going to take two or three weeks and get organized and spend some time with the family and begin my new, healthy life program that everything's going to be different.
Marshall: And it won't be crazy anymore. Have you ever had a dream that resembled that dream? Yeah. How many years?
Hala: Well, you know what? I'm very much the person who doesn't believe in being busy and it's a matter of prioritizing, but as a younger person, I definitely acted like that.
Marshall: Yeah. Good, good, good, good. And so it's really important [00:25:00] and we use all kinds of excuses.
Marshall: Another excuses. One of my favorites is called a it's a special. You know, I'm going on that diet, but it's a super bowl. So I'm going to eat that super bowl, pizza and guacamole, or it's my birthday or it's my kid's birthday or my boyfriend's birthday or my mother's birthday, you know, somebody's birthday.
Marshall: So if we're not careful, we can make up this special day excuse to cover almost every. Every day is a little special or different than makes an excuse. And so in my book triggers, I talk about all these wonderful excuses we have that keep us from doing what we know we should. And it's hard. It's hard to face the reality of our lives.
Marshall: That's why the daily question processes.
Hala: Yeah. So let's move on to triggers since we're already talking about it. Can you explain to our listeners what a behavioral trigger
Marshall: is? Well, it triggers him any stimulus may impact our behavior. It could be a sight, a sound, a word, a person, any stimulus that impacts our behavior.
Marshall: And as we journey through life, You know, we all have this [00:26:00] image of the person that we want to become. Why don't we become this person? Well, every day we join through life. We have these triggers is events that occur. These sites is, and they usually sometimes push us toward becoming that person. We usually push us away from becoming that person.
Marshall: Somebody says something, we become angry. We go off the handle, the driving case study, you smell something, it food you didn't want to eat. You told yourself you shouldn't eat. So as we journey through life, very important to realize what are the triggers in my life that really set up behavior. That's inconsistent with the person I want to become and how can I, number one, anticipate these triggers.
Marshall: So then I can start becoming aware of them before they happen and anticipate them if possible, avoid them, and if not possible to avoid them, at least on how to adjust my behavior so that I'm not being controlled by these triggers. And if you're looking at. You can say, you know, how much do I control and how much am I controlled?
Marshall: And you can look at different dimensions. [00:27:00] If you ever been to a motivational speech, they're always the same, you know, you can do it, you can do it. It's all up to you. You can do it. Or the book, the secret, if I envision that it will happen. Well, you know, it's partly true and partly not. So. The other view is we're like a pinball machine pinball bouncing through life and BF Skinner.
Marshall: The Harvard psychologist basically said that we're just controlled by triggers in our environment. We have no control. Well, in my book triggers, I think they're both a little bit true. We have some control and part of my life is a function of what I can control. And part of it is I am being controlled and the whole idea of the book is really to just balance the equation a little bit more in terms of I'm in charge of my own life a little bit less.
Marshall: So I'm just being manipulated by, by.
Hala: Yeah, before we move on to environment, let's just dig deeper into habits and triggers and feedback loops specifically. I'd like you to explain what a feedback loop is to our [00:28:00] listeners. So it's comprised of four stages, evidence, relevance, consequence, and action. Could you maybe walk us through a real life example of a feedback loop so that our listeners could really understand what it is,
Marshall: where you're driving your car?
Marshall: And you see a sign that says speed limit 30 miles an hour. Coming up in a small town is evidence that something's going to happen. And then how important is the only thing I might get a ticket and then eventually think that's relevant. And then you've got this evidence which would lead to a consequence, which is something bad and you ultimately end up changing your behavior.
Marshall: So as we go through life, we're constantly given the opportunity to deal with these feedback loops. And the important thing is to say, all right, Am I being sensitive enough to these feedback loops. Am I aware of what's really going on around me? For example, we have a little child, a little child says, you know, I miss you, mommy, what does that mean?
Marshall: How can I process this and the coworker who seems upset? [00:29:00] Being able to read your environment as best you can so that you're learning from the environment at all times. And then you're able to make adjustments in your behavior that fit the needs of the people in your environment.
Hala: Yeah. So when it comes to triggers is the key to be aware of them and learn how to avoid or replace those.
Marshall: First become aware. What are the triggers that set me off. Then if you can avoid the triggers, avoid them. For example, you want to quit drinking. Don't go to bars. You want to quit smoking. Don't smoke. If you want to quit eating chocolate, get chocolate out of your house because when the stimulus is there, you much more likely to do it.
Marshall: So just avoiding it, if you can, is the first thing, but sometimes you can't avoid. So, if you can't avoid it, then you're going to need to learn, to adjust, to adjust your behavior. So it kind of fits that, you know, look, I love chocolate. I can't get it all the house. Cause my wife likes to eat it too. And she wants it to be here.
Marshall: But I need to realize when I see this [00:30:00] chocolate, I'm going to be tempted to eat it. So I have to adjust my behavior. Yeah.
Hala: And like you mentioned, like a big trigger is your environment. So in your book you say, if we do not create and control our environment, our environment creates and controls us when you call the environment, things like the devil and that we should treat it like our.
Hala: Why such the hard feelings. Could you dig into that a little
Marshall: deeper? Well, what happens is I'm reading a book now called deep work by Cal Peterson. I think it's a great book. It talks about social media and how we can become completely addicted to social media in a way that. Not healthy. The average kid is flunking out of school in the United States spends 55 hours a week on non-academic media.
Marshall: So yeah, it's like an addiction and it talks about how Facebook can be addictive and depressing. And the more hours you spend on Facebook, the more depressed you tend to be for two reasons. One, you see all these fake lives, you know, their vacations always [00:31:00] positive, and the kids are always beautiful. And you think, gee, my life isn't as good as that.
Marshall: Well, nobody's life is that good? It's a fake. Oh, you're posting fake lives and you realize that's not really me anyway, it's depressing either way. So I think, you know, very important to realize that we are bombarded by stimulus and this has to become less real in the new world. It's a lot more real and we need to really back away and say, am I being controlled by this?
Marshall: Or am I controlling this? And if we're not careful, we end up being controlled by this. Uh, when I was a professor at Dartmouth, a young man used to drive me a limo driver back and forth. And, uh, he flunked out of school. It's been 25,000 hours of his life playing video game world of Warcraft 25,000 hours.
Marshall: That's an, you get two PhDs in 25,000 hours. You played a video game. Well, that's an addiction, so you really need to be sensitive to how much am I controlling this? And how much is this controlling me? [00:32:00] Yeah.
Hala: Can you talk about some of the ways that we can change our habits? We talked about the daily questions, but are there any other commitment devices that we can employ
Marshall: get help in the same way that you know, I have help.
Marshall: I have some call me every day, why I need help. If you haven't fixed it by yourself in the last 10 years, you're probably not going to fix it by yourself next week. Just didn't meet you need help. And it's okay to need help. Like I said, my book triggers look at the names of the people that say book I'm CEO here in United States.
Marshall: I need help. I won the presidential medal of freedom. I need his help. I'm head of the world's largest pharmaceutical company. I need help. I'm president of world bank. I need help. Well, they're not too good to get it. So don't be above getting help because we almost all need help. And again, if you could do it by yourself, you would have done it by now.
Hala: Yeah. So you have these concepts of magic moves. Two of them, we covered the power of asking active questions, asking for help, which you just covered, but we didn't cover two of them. Apology and [00:33:00] optimism. Could you tell us more about these magic? Well,
Marshall: let's start with apology. Very important. All my clients who do this, they all get confidential feedback and none of them are feedback is perfect.
Marshall: So I'll have things to improve. So the first thing I tell them is is they apologize. Say for example, I've gotten feedback indicates I need to be a better listener if I've not listened to hear the other people. I'm sorry. Please accept my apology. There's no excuse. Well, if you want everybody else to take responsibility as a leader, Well, let them watch you take responsibility that I'm want you to take responsibility and that's, you know, a very important message to send a role model to people.
Marshall: Don't try to be better than everybody else. Just be a fellow human being and everybody takes responsibility. The other one's optimism. And this has been studied to death. I mean, if you don't believe you're going to do something, you probably won't. If you tell yourself I can't do this, that's just the way I am.
Marshall: Well, you probably are right. You can't do it. And this just the way you are, you have to tell [00:34:00] yourself. Why am I saying, this is just the way I am. Why am I saying I can't do this? Unless you have an incurable genetic defect, you can probably change. Well, since almost no one, I coach has incurable genetic defects.
Marshall: They can all get better. You know, you can't make yourself taller optimism. Won't make yourself taller, but you can become a better listener or better with people. You can be better at giving recognition. These are all positive things you can change. Yeah.
Hala: One thing that we didn't get to touch on that I think is actually really important.
Hala: And you just alluded to it is listening. What makes listening so powerful?
Marshall: Well, you know, if you want to show concern for other people, you need to be able to listen. What is the message you communicate to people when you're an adolescent? I don't really care about what you have to say, where you, and one thing I teach people on listening.
Marshall: This is somewhat counterintuitive as this. A lot of people think we don't listen, not by what we say, but how we look. So I always try to teach [00:35:00] my clients pretend you're on video and you're going to be judged by doing you look like you care. Number one, I'm probably helping you be a better listener, but people will feel you're a better listener.
Marshall: Now, have you ever had this happen before? Has anyone ever looked at you and said you're not listening? And then have you ever repeated what they said verbatim to prove they were wrong? Well, that doesn't really help the relation. When somebody says you're not listening. What they're really saying is you don't care.
Marshall: You see if you look like you cared, no one would ever say you're not listening. What they're really saying is you don't look like you care. And the higher up you go, the more important this becomes at the CEO level. This is critically important. Let's say I'm in a meeting. I've heard this presentation 20 times before.
Marshall: I know everything is going to be said. It's been vetted 12 times before I see it. On the other hand. If I look bored and disinterested the young person making the presentation, this will break their heart. It filters. So I teach people, look, you gotta look like you care, and that's not being a [00:36:00] phony, that's being a professional.
Marshall: You gotta communicate to that person. What you're saying is important to me and not just doing what you say and how you look, and if you don't, they'll just be devastated. So it's a great lesson to learn at all levels of management. When you're young, it's important when you're older.
Hala: Yeah, totally agree.
Hala: So to close out the episode, you have an article on Inc com. That's called, do you have mojo or no, Joe. And I thought it would be a cute and memorable way to end the show. Could you tell our listeners the difference between mojo and no? Joe
Marshall: mojo is that positive spirit towards life, which starts on the inside and radiates to the outside.
Marshall: And you see that when you go to the store, check into the hotel at the airport, You know, it's that positive spirit, which radiates to the outside. And no, Joe is exactly the opposite. It's that negative spirit, which radiates to the outside it's spirit that says, I don't want to be here. I don't like this.
Marshall: How it happened. I don't want to talk to you. So I think very important as we joined into their life until they [00:37:00] get two things, one generating that positive spirit inside ourselves, and going back to those questions, you know, am I doing my best today to be happy? Am I doing my best to find. Am I doing my best to be engaged, build relationships, generating that positive spirit inside yourself.
Marshall: And then number two, back to imagine you're on video, communicating that positive spirit to everyone around you. And I think as you mentioned, a couple of times, even more important at home than it is at work, communicating that spirit of I'm happy to see you. I love you. You're important to me. And good to do those good things at work, even better to do them at home.
Marshall: And how about no, Joe? Well, no, Joe is the opposite. That's you know, I'm frustrated, I'm angry. I don't want to be here. Go away. I'm gonna, I sit in American airlines. I have over 11 million frequent flyer miles. I want a three hour flight, one flight attendants, positive motivated, upbeat, enthusiastic. And the other is negative, bitter angry and cynical.
Marshall: I'm sure you've been on the same flight. [00:38:00] Well, what's the difference. It's not American airlines. It's the flight attendant it's what's in our heart is what's different and really don't get lost on the environment. Let me give your listeners my final good advice. Are you ready? I'd like everybody to take a deep breath.
Marshall: Imagine you're 95 years old and you're just getting ready to die right before you take that last breath. You're given a beautiful. The ability to go back in time and talk to the person that's listening to me right now, the ability to help that person be a better leader and have a happier life. What advice would that wise old person have for the young person that's listening to me right now?
Marshall: Well, whatever your listeners are thinking now do that in terms of performance appraisal, that's the only one that matters settled person says you did the right thing. You did. That'll person says you made a mistake. You did, you don't have to impress anybody else. So my friends interviewed old folks who were dying.
Marshall: I got the essence question. What advice would you [00:39:00] have on a personal side? Three things thing. Number one, three words. Be happy now, not next week or next month or next year. Yeah, happy now the great Western disease. I'll be happy when, when I get that money status, BMW condominium will have the same winter learning point from old people.
Marshall: I got so busy looking for what I didn't have it. Couldn't see what I did have. I had everything, all your listeners, many of them are smart people, hardworking people, good people compared to me, young people. Don't get so focused on what you don't have. Can't see what you do. Learning point number two, on the personal side, we've discussed several times, friends and family.
Marshall: You realize these people are important. Then number two is you have a drink, go for it. Cause you don't go for it. When you're 35, you may not. When you're 85 and it doesn't have to be a big one. I have a little one go to New Zealand, speak Spanish, whatever it is, just do it. Business advice. Isn't much different.
Marshall: Number one, life is short, have fun. Number two is do whatever you can do to help. And the main reason it has nothing to do with money or status or getting ahead, [00:40:00] main reason to do it as a 95 year old. You'll be proud of you because you did and disappointed because you don't. And then finally go for it.
Marshall: Old people. We almost never regret the risk we take and fail. We always regret the risk we failed to take. And finally, thank you so much for asking me to be on your podcast. And I hope that it's been useful to your listeners and help them have a little better life.
Hala: It has. So where can our listeners go to find more about you and everything that
Marshall: you do?
Marshall: Send me an email Marshall with two L's at Marshall goldsmith.com website. I've got 300 videos online, www Marshall goldsmith.com go to any of these sites. And I have this stuff on LinkedIn, 1.3 million. I can't do any more LinkedIn connections cause they tap out after I think 30 or 40,000, but I can do more followers and still go to any of those sites.
Marshall: And I'm happy to share everything I know with everyone.
Hala: Awesome. It was such an honor. I want to be respectful of our time. So thank you so much for joining young and profiting podcast.
Marshall: Oh, thank you [00:41:00] so much for inviting me and I hope we get to see you in New York. So.
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