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    #142 Marshall Goldsmith: The Essentials Of Leadership

    Empathy is about understanding others without agreeing with them, but it does not mean living in their reality. Being empathetic requires discipline to let go of the past and focus on being fully present for others.

    enJuly 12, 2022

    About this Episode

    My guest today is Marshall Goldsmith, one of the world’s leading executive coaches.

    We discuss the surprising lessons he’s learned coaching some of the best CEOs in the world, where confidence comes from, common mistakes leaders make, why changing behavior is easier than changing perception, how to change others’ perceptions when you change your behavior, the three words that kill any conversation, the relationship between intensity and consistency, and so much more.

    --

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    Follow Shane on Twitter at: https://twitter.com/ShaneAParrish

    🔑 Key Takeaways

    • Leadership involves working with others, changing beliefs, and receiving feedback for self-improvement in order to effectively achieve objectives.
    • Seeking feedback and making initial improvements are not enough. Consistent follow-up and ongoing efforts are necessary to demonstrate growth and transformation, build trust, and ensure that others perceive our desired behavior changes.
    • As leaders, our focus should be on making a positive difference in the world, letting go of the need to always win, and being mindful of our words and actions.
    • Evaluating the impact of our input is vital in both professional and personal settings. True leadership involves prioritizing others' growth and considering whether our actions will enhance relationships.
    • A good coach focuses on working with clients who are genuinely invested in change and believes in aligning aspirations, ambitions, and daily activities for a fulfilling life, not solely tying self-worth to achievement.
    • True contentment lies in embracing the process, valuing the pursuit of our goals, and disconnecting our happiness from external achievements. It's about finding fulfillment in the journey, not just fixating on the end result.
    • Surround yourself with a supportive network, embrace the present moment, and let go of past mistakes to foster personal growth and combat loneliness.
    • Embrace the present moment, avoid living through others or dwelling on past achievements, and strive for a fresh start each day without comparing to others.
    • Leaders need to adapt to higher standards and treat employees with respect, as employees now have the power to choose better environments and do not tolerate bad leaders. Simple gestures of gratitude are more effective than fancy recognition programs.
    • Recognize and appreciate others, pause before interactions, ask for direct input, and balance empathy to improve communication skills.
    • Empathy is about understanding others without agreeing with them, but it does not mean living in their reality. Being empathetic requires discipline to let go of the past and focus on being fully present for others.
    • Avoid using negative words like "no," "but," and "however" as they can shut down conversations. Foster open-mindedness and be willing to consider other perspectives for better communication and stronger relationships.
    • Our mission in life is not to prove ourselves, but to focus on making a positive difference by approaching others as customers, selling what we can sell, and letting go of what we cannot change or sell. Humility and learning from others are crucial in this journey.
    • Effective leaders consider multiple perspectives, prioritize their commitment, encourage open discussion, and recognize the impact of external factors in decision making.
    • By becoming aware of external triggers and consciously choosing to take control, we can transform our lives. Discipline and awareness are vital in shaping our desired outcomes, and seeking help and utilizing daily self-assessment can greatly enhance our personal growth.
    • Living a fulfilling life requires consistent effort, self-reflection, and accountability for our actions. It may not be easy, but the rewards are worth it.
    • Reflect on daily actions, be fully engaged and present, and prioritize what really matters in life for ultimate success and fulfillment.
    • Embrace the present, cherish relationships, pursue dreams, prioritize happiness and helping others, take risks, make a positive impact.

    📝 Podcast Summary

    The Importance of Collaboration and Self-Improvement in Leadership

    Leadership is about working with and through others to achieve objectives. It is not about doing everything by oneself. Anyone can become a leader, as long as they have the basic qualities to get along in life. Leaders are not solely born, but they can also become more effective through research and practice. Many individuals hold self-limiting beliefs about themselves and their abilities, which hinders their growth. It is important to change both our beliefs and our habits in order to change our behavior effectively. To facilitate this process, receiving confidential feedback from colleagues is crucial. Leaders should be open to feedback and actively work on improving themselves, recognizing both their strengths and areas for development.

    The Importance of Follow-up and Commitment in Creating Lasting Changes

    In order to make lasting changes, it is crucial to follow-up and stick with our commitments. Marshall Goldsmith emphasizes the importance of seeking feedback from others and actively working on improving ourselves. However, he acknowledges that simply asking for input is not enough; consistent and ongoing efforts are needed to truly demonstrate growth and transformation. Without follow-up, people may perceive our behavior as unchanged, even if we have made progress. By regularly checking in with others and addressing any lapses in our desired behavior, we can build trust and credibility. Ultimately, it is not what we say that matters, but what others hear and perceive.

    Transitioning from achiever to leader: a shift in mindset

    Transitioning from being an individual high achiever to a leader requires a shift in mindset. As leaders, it's important to recognize that it's no longer about constantly being right or proving how smart we are. Instead, the focus should be on making a positive difference in the world. This means learning to let go of the need to always win and constantly add value. It also involves being mindful of our words and actions, taking a moment to breathe and ask ourselves, "Is it worth it?" before responding. By adopting this approach, we can become better leaders and lead happier lives.

    Knowing when to hold back: Adding value vs. imposing unnecessary ideas or comments.

    Adding value is not always beneficial, both in professional and personal settings. It is important to recognize when to hold back and refrain from imposing unnecessary ideas or comments. Taking a moment to pause and breathe can help evaluate whether our input will truly improve a situation or relationship. In the workplace, it may be worthwhile to ask if our comments will enhance another person's commitment, and at home, if it will strengthen our connection with loved ones. Additionally, when it comes to coaching and leadership, customer or employee selection is crucial. Picking the right individuals and focusing on their growth rather than our own ego ultimately yields better results. True leadership means understanding that it's about them, not about us.

    Successful Coaching and Personal Growth

    The value of being a good coach lies in working with clients who are genuinely invested in making a change. Marshall Goldsmith emphasizes that successful coaching is not about claiming superiority or forcing change upon individuals who have no interest in it. Instead, he believes in selecting clients who are committed to receiving feedback, engaging in conversations, following up on actions, and working hard to improve themselves. The true measure of a great coach is the ability to work with exceptional individuals and learn from them. Goldsmith also highlights the importance of aligning aspirations, ambitions, and daily activities to lead a fulfilling life. He advises against tying one's self-worth solely to achievement, emphasizing that true value as a human being should not be dependent on results.

    Redefining Success: Finding Happiness in the Journey, Not the Outcome.

    Placing too much importance on external achievements can lead to a never-ending cycle of dissatisfaction and the misconception that happiness is contingent upon achieving more. Marshall Goldsmith highlights the flawed mindset of constantly seeking validation through achievements, emphasizing that we should not define our worth as individuals based solely on the outcomes we achieve. Instead, he suggests focusing on the process, finding fulfillment in the pursuit of our goals, and disconnecting happiness from external achievements. By adopting a mindset that values the journey rather than fixating on the end result, we can cultivate a sense of contentment and live a more fulfilling life.

    The Power of Supportive Communities

    Having a support group and a sense of community is more important than ever in today's world. Marshall Goldsmith emphasizes the importance of surrounding yourself with people who can provide genuine support and help without trying to bring you down. In his example of a group he formed during COVID, he highlights the value of having a safe space where individuals can talk about their lives, share their successes and failures, and seek assistance. This sense of community not only combats loneliness but also fosters a feeling of being part of something larger than oneself. Additionally, Marshall encourages letting go of past mistakes and not dwelling on them, as each moment offers an opportunity for a fresh start and growth. So, the key takeaway is to prioritize building a supportive network and embracing the present moment and its potential for progress.

    Letting Go of the Past and Focusing on the Present

    It is important to let go of the past and focus on living our own lives. Marshall Goldsmith emphasizes the need to not live vicariously through others, whether it's through media or reminiscing about past achievements. Instead, he encourages embracing the present moment and finding meaning in current actions. Shane Parrish suggests the "25 hour rule," which allows for a fresh start each day, without clinging to past successes or failures. Both speakers highlight the importance of moving forward and not getting trapped in the past or comparing ourselves to others. Additionally, Goldsmith touches on the importance of being inclusive and understanding that different people have different reference groups, which can help reduce biases and discrimination.

    The Changing Expectations of Leaders

    Leadership is evolving and the expectations of leaders have significantly changed. While leaders today exhibit better behavior compared to the past, the standards for leadership have risen even faster. In today's world, companies cannot tolerate bad leaders because employees have more power and choice. The old days of putting up with bullies and disrespectful leaders are gone. Employees now have the option to say goodbye and seek better environments. Additionally, the way we give praise and recognition has also shifted, especially with remote work becoming more common. A simple yet effective approach is to regularly make a list of people who have made important contributions and express gratitude through email, voice mail, or a small note. Fancy recognition programs are not necessary.

    Strategies for Effective Communication in Person and Over Zoom

    Effective communication, both in person and over Zoom, requires certain strategies. One technique mentioned is the importance of recognizing and appreciating others by asking them what they are proud of. This not only builds connection but also brings forth information that may have been previously unknown. Another significant point is the need for leaders to pause and breathe before each interaction, especially during multiple Zoom calls. Taking a moment to assess what is important in that specific context and who is involved can prevent everything from becoming a blur. Additionally, instead of seeking generic advice, leaders should ask the individuals they work with directly for suggestions on improving communication. Lastly, while empathy is valuable, it can be both beneficial and manipulative depending on its application. Understanding, feeling, and caring for others should be balanced to avoid potential pitfalls.

    The Importance of Empathy and Being Present for Others

    Empathy is about understanding and being present for others without necessarily agreeing with them. It requires the ability to see the world through their eyes, feel what they feel, and think what they think. However, it is important to remember that empathy does not mean living in someone else's reality or carrying the emotions from previous roles or experiences into the present moment. Being empathetic means being fully present in the current situation, whether it's a board presentation, a funeral, or an award ceremony. It takes discipline and self-awareness to let go of past roles and focus on being where one needs to be in the present. Great leaders demonstrate this discipline and prioritize being present for others, even when it may not be the most significant moment for themselves.

    The Power of Words: Eliminating "No," "But," and "However" for Effective Communication

    The words "no," "but," and "however" can kill conversations and hinder effective communication. Starting a sentence with these words can shut down the other person's perspective and disregard everything they say. By avoiding these words and being more open-minded, we can become better listeners and improve our relationships. Marshall Goldsmith encourages his clients to use this tool by fining them $20 if they start a sentence with any of these words, with the money going to a charity of their choice. This exercise helps them become more conscious of their communication habits and encourages them to find more constructive ways to express disagreement. It is essential to cultivate a mindset of openness and willingness to consider other perspectives for meaningful conversation and growth.

    Empowering individuals to make a positive difference in life through change and influence.

    Anyone can change and make a positive difference in life. It is not true that our traits or abilities are hardwired or genetic, and we have the power to change and influence the world around us. The important lesson shared by Peter Drucker is that our mission in life is not to prove how smart or right we are, but to focus on making a positive difference. Every decision is made by the person who has the power to make it, and we should make peace with that. In order to create change and influence others, we should approach them as customers and sell what we can sell or change what we can change. Ultimately, it is crucial to let go of things that we cannot sell or change. This conversation also highlights the importance of humility and learning from others, as demonstrated by the story of Fred, the CEO who had a transformative experience after being given guidance.

    Effective leadership requires open-mindedness and thoughtful consideration of differing opinions in decision making.

    Decision making and the ability to accept and respect differing opinions are essential for effective leadership. It is crucial for the decision maker to consider all perspectives and rationale behind each option before making a final decision. While it is advised to lean towards the decision that the decision maker is more committed to, there should always be room for open discussion and understanding of opposing viewpoints. It is important to acknowledge that even the best decisions can sometimes fail due to uncontrollable variables. Additionally, the conversation highlights the importance of creating an environment that supports success and being aware of the impact of external triggers on our behavior. Ultimately, it boils down to the debate of whether we are controlled by our environment or if we have control over it.

    Taking Control of Our Environment and Unlocking Positive Changes

    We have the power to control our environment and make positive changes in our lives. We must first become aware of when we are being controlled by external triggers and consciously choose to take control. Discipline and awareness are crucial in staying on track and becoming the person we want to be. We need to acknowledge that our environment can manipulate us, but by accepting this fact and being open to it, we become less likely to be controlled by external influences. Marshall Goldsmith emphasizes the importance of seeking help and not relying solely on willpower. He introduces a simple tool of daily self-assessment and accountability, which can greatly impact our ability to improve in any area of our lives.

    Taking daily action for a meaningful life.

    Living a meaningful life requires daily effort and self-reflection. Marshall Goldsmith emphasizes the importance of taking action and being accountable for our actions, rather than merely talking about our values. He presents six questions that can guide us towards a better life: Did I do my best every day to set clear goals? Did I do my best to make progress toward achieving my goals? Did I do my best to find meaning every day? Did I do my best to be happy? Goldsmith highlights the challenges and difficulties of consistently practicing these habits, even for highly successful individuals. It requires humility, self-awareness, and a commitment to personal growth. Ultimately, the key takeaway is that living a fulfilling life is not easy, but it is worth the effort.

    Aligning aspirations, enjoying the process, and reflecting on daily actions for success.

    Success is defined by aligning our higher aspirations in life, what we are trying to achieve, and our enjoyment of the process. Marshall Goldsmith emphasizes the importance of reflecting on our daily actions and behaviors. He encourages us to ask ourselves crucial questions like, "Did I do my best to be happy today?" and "Did I do my best to build positive relationships?" Being fully engaged and present in our lives is of utmost significance. Goldsmith shares the story of a basketball star who realized the importance of being mentally present with his wife after reflecting on his exhaustion during a game. Finally, he advises us to imagine ourselves as a wise ninety-five-year-old, giving valuable advice to our present selves on what really matters in life.

    Wisdom for a Fulfilling Life

    The advice from wise old individuals holds immense value. Their wisdom reflects the importance of living in the present and finding happiness in the current moment rather than constantly chasing future achievements. It emphasizes the significance of cherishing relationships with friends and family, as they are the ones who truly matter in the long run. Additionally, it encourages individuals to pursue their dreams, regardless of others' opinions, as it is their own life to live. On the business front, the key takeaway is to prioritize enjoying life and helping others over materialistic goals and status. Ultimately, the conversation highlights the power of taking risks and seizing opportunities, as regrets more often stem from missed chances rather than failed attempts. The ultimate goal is to make a positive impact on others' lives, even if on a small scale.

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    --

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    Blake Eastman: Learn to Read Anyone

    Blake Eastman: Learn to Read Anyone
    Blake Eastman has dedicated his entire life to psychology and nonverbal behavior.
     
    In 2009 he founded The Nonverbal Group, a  behavioral research and education company in New York City which conducts large scale studies on human behavior and uses a wide range of technologies to systematically deconstruct and improve human communication.
     
    Eastman dives deep into a number of subjects revolving around how we communicate with one another, including the ability to read nonverbal cues, his thoughts on big talkers vs. silent types, how we can communicate with our partners without complaining, the value of watching ourselves communicate on video, understanding the power structures and social dynamics at work, and so much more.
     
    Eastman has also served as an adjunct psychology professor at the City University of New York for six years where he taught General Psychology, Developmental Psychology, and Group Dynamics. He is also a former professional poker player and the founder of School of Cards, the first brick-and-mortar poker school in New York City.
     
    Listen and Learn

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    #184 Best of 2023: Conversations of the Year

    #184 Best of 2023: Conversations of the Year
    The Knowledge Project closes 2023 with a look back at some of the best conversations of the year. Featuring interviews from nine of the most downloaded and acclaimed episodes of 2023, this collection of conversations offers a variety of insights into the power of intention, how to become a better listener, how to give and receive feedback at work, the Four Pillars of Integrity, facing the realities of life, the importance of having deadlines, taking responsibility, building trust in a large organization, and when to double-down on your plans for success.
     
    Guests on this episode include: Mindfulness expert Jack Kornfield, executive coach Carloyn Coughlin, organizational expert Aaron Dignan, leadership expert Jim Dethmer, venture capitalist Ravi Gupta, author and Wired co-founder Kevin Kelly, doctor of psychology Julie Gurner, veteran CEO Frank Slootman, and performance psychologist Gio Valiante.

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    Paul Assaiante: Learning to Face Your Fears

    Paul Assaiante: Learning to Face Your Fears

    When Paul Assaiante announced his retirement from coaching the men's squash team at Trinity College in Connecticut earlier this year, it marked the end of the most successful run for any coach in the history of college athletics.

    During his tenure, Assaiante guided Trinity to 17 national titles, including 13 consecutive championships and 252 wins in a row from 1999 to 2011.

    On this episode of The Knowledge Project, Assaiante draws on his 30 years of coaching to discuss the lessons he learned during his career. These lessons include how to conquer fear and anxiety, why safety is actually found when facing adversity, the importance of practice, and what's keeping you from reaching your goals.

    Assaiante is also the author of the 2012 book, Run to the Roar: Coaching to Overcome Fear. Listen and learn.

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