Helping successful leaders get even better

Dr. Relly Nadler:
 Today’s show we are very fortunate and privileged to have Dr. Marshall Goldsmith, a world authority in helping successful leaders get even better by achieving positive, lasting change in behavior for themselves and the people on their teams.

We’ll talk about Marshall’s book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. It’s a New York Times bestseller, a Wall Street Journal #1 Business book, and the winner of the Harold Longwind Award as the best business book of 2007.

I’ve had many clients that have really been enjoying this and we are looking forward to picking Marshall’s brain a little bit more about how to use this.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: I’m very excited that we have Dr. Marshall Goldsmith here with us today. He’s going to give us lots of tips and tools.

I’m a big fan of Marshall’s and we’ve been friends for quite some time. I’m thrilled to have him here. Recently, I’m so excited, the American Management Association named Dr. Goldsmith as one of 50 Great Thinkers and Leaders who has influenced the field of management over the past eighty years.

Business Week listed him as one of the most influential practitioners in the history of leadership development. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources, and he has top HR honors that are unbelievable, we won’t even go into them here.

His work has been featured in a New York Profile, Harvard Business Review interview, Business Strategy Review, a cover story with London Business School, and major business press acknowledgments everywhere, just to name a few, The Wall Street Journal is one of the biggest ones because it is where Marshall was named one of the Top 10 Executive Educators in the world. Forbes listed him as one of the five most respected executive coaches. The Economic Times in India; one of the Five Guru’s of America, and the Economist in the UK named Marshall one of three most credible executive advisors in the new era of business. Fast Company named him America’s Preeminent Executive Coach.

I cannot tell you what a thrill it is to have Marshall here today. We worked on a couple of projects together including a book called, Global Leadership Next Generation, and some books for the Drucker Foundation. We saw each other at a Linkage Conference a week or so ago, and I am on cloud nine. Thank you for being here, Marshall.

Dr. Marshall Goldsmith: Cathy, thank you for asking me.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Thanks, Marshall. I’ll start off with a question. We are going to start with some general questions that we typically ask our guests and then we will get specifically into some of the tips and strategies from your book.

To start off, maybe tell us a little bit about yourself and how you came to work in the field of talent management and leadership.

Dr. Marshall Goldsmith: Well, I do three things. I teach classes for business leaders and that would be either executives or high potential leaders. I do that either inside corporations or at business schools.

Then I do what is called executive coaching. My clients are either CEOs or could be CEOs at big companies.

Then I write and edit books and articles.

Those are the three things I do.

I got into the field when I was a young college professor. I was a Dean when I was 29. I met a famous man in Dr. Paul Hersey. I learned what he did and he kind of helped me out, and I followed him around. One day he got double booked and he said do you think you could do what I do. I said, “I don’t know.” He said he would pay me $1000 for one day. I was making $15,000 a year, so I said well buddy, sign me up!

I was fortunate enough to do a program for the Metropolitan Life Insurance Company. I was very successful, and that’s how I got into executive education.

A lot of life is luck. Of course, I had a lot of great people help me out.

Dr. Relly Nadler: Well good. As you kind of move forward, maybe highlight, you talked about Paul Hersey, a couple of other key people who may have influenced you as a leader.

Dr. Marshall Goldsmith: Well, the people that have influenced me, again, I have been very fortunate. I’ve had the privilege of spending over 50 days with Peter Drucker before he died. I was on the board of the Peter Drucker Foundation. Richard Beckhard is a great mentor of mine. I got to spend a lot of time with him.

Frances Hesselbein is a good friend of mine, CEO of the Leadership Institute, a woman who has greatly helped me.

If I had to say the people that have influenced me, those would be the ones.

An again, it’s just very fortunate. The first book I did was called The Leader of the Future, which was many years ago. It was Frances Hesselbein and Richard Beckhard, and Peter Drucker and me. I was certainly, to say I was the junior member of that crew would be a generous estimate. I was sort of the nobody member of that crew.

They were kind enough to help me and really give me a big boost in my career and my life.

I’ve been very, very fortunate to be around some very influential people who have taught me a lot.

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Marshall, one of the things that you have become extraordinary at is helping people manage talent within themselves and their companies as they grow as leaders. Can you talk a little bit about how you see the future of talent management and leadership development shaping up given the changes in what we see as market conditions underway?

Dr. Marshall Goldsmith: Well Cathy, as you know, it’s tough out there. I think one of the things you are seeing is just increasing global competition. I don’t know; my experience is the people that I work with today seem busier than they have ever been in their lives, that’s my reaction. It seems to be that so many people are working 60-80 hours a week with new technology that follows you everywhere you go, global competition.

I see people as working really hard and being under a lot of pressure today, much more than the past.

Let me give you an analogy. In the old days, you go to work even for a company like IBM in around 1980; you could have fired a cannonball down the hall at 5:00 pm and hit no one, right, the place was empty. These people worked 40 hours a week and took five-week vacations. As far as I can see, those days are pretty much gone. People around out there seem to work really hard.

Cathy, before we go on and answer the question, do you have a similar feeling?

Dr. Cathy Greenberg: Oh, absolutely. I know Relly probably feels the same way, but every company I walk into is working 24/7 and the other night, as a matter of fact, at 3:00 am in the morning my AIM was pinging me. I got up and I had a woman in the UK who was pinging me about a question and she was very, obviously, embarrassed. She woke me up, but I felt compelled. My accountability got me out of bed and I was pinging her back.

Dr. Marshall Goldsmith: Yah! I think that in the future, talent management and leadership development, a couple of suggestions.

One, I did a research study called Leadership is a Contact Sport. If your leaders would like to see the study you can either email me, [email protected], email you guys, I’ll send you a copy of it.

It’s a study we did with 86,000 people in eight major corporations. In our research, we found that the key to effective leadership development, and really this goes back to what you are talking about, is you have to build in follow-up. If you just send people to classes and that is all you do, there’s really not a lot of evidence that you are going to see positive, long-term change in behavior. They have to do something when they get back to work.

I think one of the changes in leadership development is going to be more focus on follow-up, measurement, and long-term change.

I think the other thing that is going to change the future of talent management is people are going to have to learn to do things efficiently.

I wrote another article called Team Building Without Time Wasting. I think really, there is going to be a focus on doing things that are giving ideas that leaders can implement without sucking up hours and hours and hours of their time. They don’t have hours and hours of their time.

Then, I guess, one final trend I see coming down the road and that I’m very excited about, is something called peer coaching. I have to Ph.D. students writing dissertations on peer coaching right now. So far the results have been spectacular. I think peer coaching is exciting because; I mean, CEOs are not going to get peer coaches, but every first line manager is not going to get a fancy executive coach. Peer coaching is something that you can scale to the masses of people and you can really get a lot of positive long-term impact by training people to be peer coaches.

The peer coach, you might say, well, maybe the peer coach is not as good as your manager being a coach or, why isn’t your manager the coach. Sometimes at the first level, the manager I meet are managing 20 people. They are managing 20 people and they are getting hundreds of emails a day. How much coaching are these people going to do given those schedules? Not much.

What I like about peer coaching is everybody coaches one person. Everybody is a coach and everybody has a coach. Maybe the peer coach is not as good as the manager, maybe the peer coach is better. The peer coach is probably better than 1/20th of the manager. That’s a very exciting development.

I would say long-term measurement is one change as opposed to just going to programs. You have already talked about that one.

Then a second trend is doing things that are very efficient as opposed to time-consuming.

Then the third trend, I think that is very exciting, is peer coaching.

Listen to the entire interview, above.


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