Q&A with Marshall Goldsmith: What triggers our bad behaviours?


How important is specificity to changing behaviours?

The more specific the goal is the more useful it will be. Figure out what behavioural change will lead to the most positive change in your life. Then figure out what this impact is in relation to those around you. For every person I coach, I get feedback from co-workers, family members, friends. Gather a bit of feedback, discuss it, and then follow-up with those stakeholders throughout the process.

A chapter in the book is on employee engagement and advocates for employees being more accountable for their own engagement. How can employers distribute this responsibility across the organisation?

Despite all this organisational investment in engagement, levels are at an all-time low, and one reason for this is that most engagement plans ignore half the equation: the employee’s responsibility for his or her own behaviour. Do what you can to empower employees to take ownership of their own engagement by asking them to self-assess. Make a routine of active questioning at the day’s end: Did you do your best to be happy? Did you do your best to be fully engaged?

In your book, you say that simple is not the same as easy. Where does this misconception come from, and how detrimental is it?

When you read most self-help books, you quickly realise that most of what you are reading falls into the ‘nothing I haven’t heard before’ category. The problem, therefore, is not hearing what to do or knowing what to do – the problem is doing it. Solutions are usually simple, but not always easy to implement. Thinking that simple means easy becomes a problem because people are then embarrassed to ask for help with something that’s ‘simple’, and this can prevent good behaviours from taking hold.

How do we get past the fear of failure or the idea that asking for help is weak?

People don’t see the connection between failure and innovation – it’s healthy to try and to fail on occasion. If you don’t fail, you don’t learn. The case studies in this book come from people who have acknowledged that they failed in some way and need to change. It’s becoming more acceptable even at the top of organisations. Ignoring insecurities and shortcomings doesn’t benefit you; it just shows your ego.

What’s one takeaway you want readers to ask themselves to change their behaviour?

Everyone should implement daily questions. I have someone call me every night and ask me the same questions so I can reflect on how proactive I was that day about my behaviour. Focus on the ‘you’ that you want to create in the future, and figure out what you want to preserve, what you need to eliminate and what you need to accept. Those four points work at an individual, team and corporate level.

Marshall Goldsmith is patron of the AHRI Marshall Goldsmith Award for Talent Development. Applications for AHRI Awards opens February 2016

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Janine Alexander
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Janine Alexander

The point about the other half of the equation ie the employee’s responsibility for self-determination reminds me of JFK’s counsel:
“Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”.

This is a tough nut to crack given the individual’s shirking of responsibility for the self, and preference for blaming anyone or anything else but him or herself.

More on HRM

Q&A with Marshall Goldsmith: What triggers our bad behaviours?


How important is specificity to changing behaviours?

The more specific the goal is the more useful it will be. Figure out what behavioural change will lead to the most positive change in your life. Then figure out what this impact is in relation to those around you. For every person I coach, I get feedback from co-workers, family members, friends. Gather a bit of feedback, discuss it, and then follow-up with those stakeholders throughout the process.

A chapter in the book is on employee engagement and advocates for employees being more accountable for their own engagement. How can employers distribute this responsibility across the organisation?

Despite all this organisational investment in engagement, levels are at an all-time low, and one reason for this is that most engagement plans ignore half the equation: the employee’s responsibility for his or her own behaviour. Do what you can to empower employees to take ownership of their own engagement by asking them to self-assess. Make a routine of active questioning at the day’s end: Did you do your best to be happy? Did you do your best to be fully engaged?

In your book, you say that simple is not the same as easy. Where does this misconception come from, and how detrimental is it?

When you read most self-help books, you quickly realise that most of what you are reading falls into the ‘nothing I haven’t heard before’ category. The problem, therefore, is not hearing what to do or knowing what to do – the problem is doing it. Solutions are usually simple, but not always easy to implement. Thinking that simple means easy becomes a problem because people are then embarrassed to ask for help with something that’s ‘simple’, and this can prevent good behaviours from taking hold.

How do we get past the fear of failure or the idea that asking for help is weak?

People don’t see the connection between failure and innovation – it’s healthy to try and to fail on occasion. If you don’t fail, you don’t learn. The case studies in this book come from people who have acknowledged that they failed in some way and need to change. It’s becoming more acceptable even at the top of organisations. Ignoring insecurities and shortcomings doesn’t benefit you; it just shows your ego.

What’s one takeaway you want readers to ask themselves to change their behaviour?

Everyone should implement daily questions. I have someone call me every night and ask me the same questions so I can reflect on how proactive I was that day about my behaviour. Focus on the ‘you’ that you want to create in the future, and figure out what you want to preserve, what you need to eliminate and what you need to accept. Those four points work at an individual, team and corporate level.

Marshall Goldsmith is patron of the AHRI Marshall Goldsmith Award for Talent Development. Applications for AHRI Awards opens February 2016

1
Leave a reply

avatar
100000
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Notify me of
Janine Alexander
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Janine Alexander

The point about the other half of the equation ie the employee’s responsibility for self-determination reminds me of JFK’s counsel:
“Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country”.

This is a tough nut to crack given the individual’s shirking of responsibility for the self, and preference for blaming anyone or anything else but him or herself.

More on HRM