Get Out of Your Own Way at Work

Goulston - get out of your own way

Dr. Relly Nadler:
On this week’s show is about how to become a respected leader with Dr. Mark Goulston, author of Get Out of Your Own Way at Work. Dr. Mark Goulston is the best-selling author of four books including the one above and Help Others Do the Same. He appears frequently in print media and on television and radio, including The Harvard Business Review, Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Fortune, Time, Newsweek. He’s also been an ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN, Fox and BBC News as well as Oprah and Today.

The key to being a star performer, which is someone who is performing in the top 10%, is emotional intelligence. Dr. Mark Goulston is going to talk about that also, today. As a leader moves up the corporate ladder, about 85% of the competencies for success are in emotional intelligence when compared to IQ (how smart you are) and technical expertise.

The reason we are focusing on leaders and trying to get them into the top 10% is that we know that leaders in the top 10% produce twice as much revenue to the organization as managers in the 11th – 89th percentile. When you add coaching to training, training can help productivity about 22%, but when you add coaching to training it can bump that up to about 88%.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: As we were saying, today’s guest is Dr. Mark Goulston, he’s an executive coach, advisor, he’s trained as a clinical psychiatrist who has also done FBI and police hostage negotiation training. He has been an advisor to so many companies; we have a partial list of his clients which include GE, Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, Kodak, Federal Express, Accenture, AstraZeneca, and Xerox, just to name a few.

He’s a nationally renowned expert in emotional intelligence and he writes The Leading Edge which is a column and a blog at Fast Company, and Directions for the National Association of Corporate Directors.

We are going to welcome Mark to the show.

Dr. Mark Goulston: It’s a pleasure. I could listen to you go on and on about me. I’m really looking forward to this and I can hardly wait to hear what I say.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Mark, let’s start off with maybe you could tell us a little bit about yourself. How do you come to be Dr. Mark and to become a great advisor on the subject of personal leadership?

Dr. Mark Goulston: I would be happy to. Oh, by the way, speaking of Dr. Mark, I have a syndicated column through the Chicago Tribune, which is now has started in Tribune Papers in the Job and Career Section called Solve Anything with Dr. Mark. It’s in the Sunday Los Angeles Times, hopefully we will be going into the Chicago Tribune soon, so if you are near a Tribune paper hopefully in the next month or so, you’ll be able to find that in the jobs section.

Getting back to your question though. I was trained as a clinical psychiatrist and I had no intention or thoughts of going into the business world except I am a psychiatrist and I happen to be interested in people and psychology and we didn’t call it emotional intelligence back then, it was just understanding people.

One of the parts of my career was that I was specialized in sort of the darker side of life. Death, dying, violence, suicide and I did house calls to dying patients; a number of them quite prominent. I think what happened is that found myself being able to calm down and bury the hatchet in a family at the 11th hour and then the family said, well now that the founder is gone and the second generation can’t stand each other, can you come in and get us to behave.

So, that is how I transitioned into the business world. Something that I have learned about, and this will be the first take home of several in today’s talk, is something I recently am calling the CPI Index. This gets also to the issue of how to be a respected leader because as I think back to why is it that these families listen to me and why did the founder even listen to me as he was dying, and I think what I had in retrospect was something that I call the High CPI Index. What CPI stands for is “clarity,” “preparation,” and “integrity.”

Those are the things that increase what I call our respectability. People who are clear, well-prepared, and have high integrity, we have a lot of respect for them. The reason we know this is that when people are the opposites, we lose respect for them. When someone, instead of being clear, is confused or confusing, they exasperate us and we lose respect for them.

When someone is not prepared and shoots from the hip, we lose respect for them. Or, if they come up with problems without having thought about what the solutions might be, we lose respect for them.

Finally, when people instead of having integrity don’t say what they mean and don’t do what they promise to do, we lose respect for them. I think one of the best examples of someone with a very high CPI Index is Clint Eastwood because he is very clear, he’s very prepared, and he does what he says he will do. I think because of that, studios and finances will allow him to make movies that they wouldn’t allow other directors and producers to do.

I think the importance of being a respected leader, as I see it, is that when we trust people we like them, but we don’t necessarily do what they say. But when we respect people, we not only trust them and like them and even love them, we do what they say because we want their esteem for us. We don’t want to disappoint people who we respect.

As I go around the country and my writing and in my coaching and in my executive advising, my focus is on how to help people be a respective leader. In fact, something that I have done recently, because what I realized is that I represent the soft side of life, the ROI-minded, often more men than women; I have to command their respect early on so I have to demonstrate clarity, preparation and integrity.

Something as I am initially meeting with companies that might hire me; often what I will say is interesting. I’ll ask them, what does success look like from this engagement? Often they will say, well, we would like our managers to become better leaders and we would like them to delegate more, to communicate more, to be more inspiring; those kinds of things.

Now what I tend to say when that happens, I’ve done this with a lot of companies on Wall Street, I said, that is a pretty low bar. They say, what? I said, that’s all you want? They said yes. I can tell you that I got their attention by saying that. I said, let me tell you want success looks like to me and it’s non negotiable.

I find that when you command respect people not only like you, they do what you say because they want your esteem. Someone mentoring me that you know well Cathy, is Warren Bennis. I meet with Warren probably every month to two months, and he can tell me to stand on my head and I would do it. Now, he wouldn’t say that, but it’s because I want his esteem.

To be honest, it’s like the movie, As Good As It Gets. He makes me want to be a better man when I’m with him.

Getting back to the story that I was talking about; how do you as a service provider, as an executive coach, which is sort of the soft side of business skills—the emotional intelligence side—how important it is to command the respect of the people that you are working with. I have a meter inside me that says, when I find myself trying to convince them of the value that I offer, I have either lost them or I have lost their respect. So one of the other little tips that I tell people is, you want to not only have clarity, preparation and integrity, but you want to be compelling, more compelling than convincing.

Compelling draws people to want to hear more. So finishing up the story: recently as I have been working with companies, I’ll ask them what does success look like, and I get them to visualize what that is, and then I get them to define some of the parameters. As I mentioned, recently a company that I work with all Wall Street said, well, better delegation, better communication, and inspiration, and I said to them, that’s a pretty low bar.

That was immediately compelling. I mean a few people in the room had been looking at their Blackberry’s immediately looked up at me as if to say, who is this guy? I said, I’ll tell you the bar that I set and it’s non negotiable. If it doesn’t speak to people in the room, then I probably don’t want to work with you.

What I say is, to me, I only want to work with managers who want to become the kind of leaders whose people at the end of the career say the best years of my career were when I worked for that person. So, my model are people like John Wooden from UCLA, Pete Carroll from USC. USC, one of the Heisman Trophy winners, Matt Leinart, he won it in the Junior year, but he decided to play another year at USC risking injury because I think what he realized is this is as good as it gets to be able to play under Pete Carroll when I’m just going to go into the NFL and make money, I want to get the most out of it.

I think I know, and I think we all know, who those kinds of leaders are and that we should aspire to be like them.

Listen to this fascinating discussion, above.


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