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Great Leaders Masterclass with Marshall Goldsmith

Marshall sits down with some of the greatest leaders of our time to discuss work and what is really important in life.
Marshall Goldsmith
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An understanding of how great leaders think and act.

Watch #1 Executive Coach Dr. Marshall Goldsmith as he sits down for intimate and thoughtful discussions with some of the great thinkers of our time:

  • Frances Hesselbein

  • Mark Thompson

  • Sally Helgesen

  • Alisa Cohen

  • Sam Shriver

  • Chris Cuomo

  • Alan Weiss

  • Nathan Lyons

and many more!

At the recent Thinkers50 ceremony in London, Marshall was recognized  again as the World’s #1 Leadership Thinker and #1 Executive Coach. His  newest book, Triggers, is a #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal  best seller, as well as an Amazon Best Business Book of the Year.  Dr. Goldsmith is the author or editor of 35 books, which have sold over  two million copies, been translated into 30 languages and become  bestsellers in 12 countries.  His two other New York Times bestsellers  are MOJO and What Got You Here Won’t Get You There – the Harold Longman  Award winner for Business Book of the Year.  In February 2016,  Amazon recognized the ‘100 Best Leadership & Success Books’ in  their To Read in Your Lifetime series.  The list included classics and  newer books – management and self-help books.  Both Triggers and What  Got You Here Won’t Get You There were recognized as being in the top 100  books ever written in their field.  Marshall is only one of two authors  with two books on the list.   

Marshall’s professional acknowledgments include: Harvard Business Review  and Best Practices Institute – World’s #1 Leadership Thinker, Global  Gurus, INC and Fast Company magazines – World’s #1 Executive Coach,  Institute for Management Studies – Lifetime Achievement Award for  Excellence in Teaching, American Management Association – 50 great  thinkers and leaders who have influenced the field of management over  the past 80 years, BusinessWeek – 50 great leaders in America, Wall  Street Journal – top ten executive educators, Economist (UK) – most  credible executive advisors in the new era of business, National Academy  of Human Resources – Fellow of the Academy (America’s top HR award),  World HRD Congress (India) – global leader in HR thinking. His work has  been recognized by almost every professional organization in his field. 

Dr. Goldsmith is a Professor of Management Practice at the Dartmouth  Tuck School of Business.  His Ph.D. is from UCLA’s Anderson School of  Management where he was the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year. He is one  of a select few executive advisors who has worked with over 150 major  CEOs and their management teams. He served on the Board of the Peter  Drucker Foundation for ten years. He has been a volunteer teacher for US  Army Generals, Navy Admirals, Girl Scout executives, International and  American Red Cross leaders – where he was a National Volunteer of the  Year.   Marshall’s other books include: Succession: Are You Ready? – a WSJ  bestseller, The Leader of the Future – a BusinessWeek bestseller. Three  of his books have been American Library Association – Choice Award  winners for best academic business books of the year. Over three hundred  of his articles, interviews, columns, and videos are available online  at MarshallGoldsmith . com for viewing and sharing. Visitors to this  site have come from 197 countries and have viewed, read, listened to,  downloaded, or shared resources over 25 million times.



At the recent Thinkers50 ceremony in London, Marshall was recognized  again as the World’s #1 Leadership Thinker and #1 Executive Coach. His  newest book, Triggers, is a #1 New York Times and Wall Street Journal  best seller, as well as an Amazon Best Business Book of the Year.

Talking About Great Leaders With Mark Thompson

There’s No Shame in Asking for Help!
3 Indisputable Reasons Why Everyone Needs a Coach!

Everyone needs a coach. But, not everyone wants a coach or wants others to know that they need a coach!

The End of Shame

Under the guidance of a coach, it’s OK to admit what you don’t know and ask for help!

Advice for the younger generation

Pick a Path!
What are Triggers?

I share my advice for young high potential leaders who are just entering the workforce or who are trying to move up the career ladder. First, it’s tough out there and it is probably only going to get tougher. Job security is a thing of the past.

The #1 bad habit of successful people is winning too much.

My clients go through a process called feedforward to determine the  behaviors they need to change. Winning too much tops the list! It  underlies nearly every other behavioral problem. For instance, when we  argue too much, it’s because we want to win!

Two Words That Will Kill Any Conversation

It doesn't matter how friendly your tone is or how honey sweet you’re in  a conversation and you start your sentences with one of these words (or  both), the message to your recipient is "You are wrong."

Choosing Triggers

Are you a highly responsive person? Are you so easily triggered that you  respond in an uninterrupted A to B sequence that leaves no breathing  room for hesitation, reflection and choice?

Design the Life You Love!

Design the Life You Love!

Design the Life You Love!    

Design Your Life - Reconstruction

Many people believe that happiness is a product of something from the outside. Is this true? I think maybe not!    

Design Your Life: Exit Strategy

How to Save Yourself from a Job You Hate! Saying no is difficult for me. I want to do everything! I want to help  everybody! Unfortunately, I don’t love how I feel when I am stuck doing a  job I don’t like or want to do anymore.

Design Your Life: Heroes

Do you get more when you give more? I believe so, yes. Our values are key to designing our lives, to becoming the people we  want to be, to creating the life we want. If we live our values, it  shows. For instance, my values are generosity and teaching. So, I give  all of my material away on my website. You can copy, share, download,  and duplicate it, it’s all free. In return for giving, I get more  wonderful people in my life, more amazing experiences, more than I ever  could have imagined. Counterintuitive yes, and absolutely true in my  experience.

One Thing Super Successful People Don’t Do!

Super successful people do not “coast” on their success. Over the years, I’ve worked with hundreds and hundreds of very  successful people, and I’ve found they have one thing in common. They  always keep challenging themselves. They always keep trying to be  better.  I have a tendency to want to coast. If I’m good at something, my default  is to keep doing it! This isn’t always a great asset.

Leadership: A Conversation with Marshall Goldsmith and Sam Shriver

5 Ways to Become a Better Leader

Let’s start with the definition of “leader.” My good friend and mentor,  Dr. Paul Hersey, defined leadership as “working with and through others  to achieve objectives.” Given this definition, anyone in a position  whose achievement requires support from others can play the role of a  leader. I love this definition because it supports the philosophy of  “leadership at all levels,” which is so critical in today’s world of  knowledge workers.

Disastrous at Delegating? 4 Tips to Become a Pro!

To get delegation right, begin by scheduling one-on- one conversations  with each of your direct reports.  Ask each direct report to list his or her key areas of responsibility.  Then ask them, “Within this area of responsibility…  1. Are there areas where I need to ‘let go’ or delegate more to you?  2. Are there areas where I need to get more involved or provide more  help to you?”  If you are like most leaders, you will probably find that while there  are some areas where you need to let go more, there are other areas  where your direct reports would appreciate more of your involvement.  Tailor you delegation strategy to fit the unique needs of your team.  After getting your direct reports’ input on how you manage them, get  their ideas on how you manage yourself. Ask,  1. Do you ever see me doing things that I don’t need to be doing?  2. Can I let go of some of my work and give it to my staff members?  If you are like most leaders, you are probably wasting some of your time  on activities that a manager at your level doesn’t need to do. By  delegating these activities to staff members you may simultaneously free up some of your own time (for more strategic work) and help to  develop them.  After getting input from your direct reports, don’t promise to do  everything that everyone suggests. Just promise to listen to their  ideas, think about all of their suggestions, get back to them, and do  what you can.

Learn to Respond, Not React!

One of my favorite stories is a lesson about taking responsibility for  our own lives. It is about learning to respond rather than react when we  are confronted by “life”. I heard this simple Buddhist story many years  ago, and it goes like this: 

A young farmer paddled his boat vigorously up river. He was covered with  sweat as he paddled his boat upstream to deliver his produce to the  village. It was a hot day, and he wanted to make his delivery and get  home before dark. As he looked ahead, he spied another vessel, heading  rapidly downstream toward his boat. He rowed furiously to get out of the  way, but it didn’t seem to help.  He shouted, “Change direction! You are going to hit me!” The boat came  straight towards him anyway.

It hit his boat with a violent thud. The  young man cried out, “You idiot! How could you manage to hit my boat in  the middle of this wide river?”  As he glared into the boat, seeking out the individual responsible for  the accident, he realized that there was no one. He had been screaming  at an empty boat that had broken free of its moorings and was floating  downstream with the current.  The interesting thing is that we behave one way when we believe that  there is another person at the helm. We blame that stupid, uncaring  person for our misfortune.

We get angry, act out, assign fault, and play  the victim. In other words, we are not engaged in a positive way for  ourselves, but in a negative and defensive way that makes nothing  better!  We behave more calmly when we know that what is coming towards us is an  empty boat. With no available scapegoat, we don’t get upset. We make  peace with the fact that our misfortune was the result of fate or bad  luck and we do our best to rectify the situation. We may even laugh at  the absurdity of a random unmanned boat finding a way to collide with us  in a vast body of water. 

The challenge for all of us is to recognize that there’s never really  anyone in the other boat. We are always screaming at an empty vessel. An  empty boat isn’t targeting us. And neither are all the people creating  the sour notes in the soundtrack of our day.

If we start treating all  boats as empty, we will have no other choice but to 1) accept what is  and 2) change what we can change.   It is up to us to choose how we react to the empty boats in our lives. 

We can either yell and scream at the empty boats and endure the  collision or choose to get out of the way the best we can, accepting  what happens, and do our best to continue on our way along the river.

How to Motivate Someone Who Has No Interest in Changing

Every once in a while, I run across someone who doesn’t want to change.  How do I motivate them to change when they don’t want to? What do I do  to convince them that the change is good for them? Nothing! 

Have you ever tried to change the behavior of an adult who had  absolutely no interest in changing? How much luck did you have with your  attempts at this “religious conversion”? Have you ever tried to change  the behavior of a spouse, partner or parent who had no interest in  changing? How did that work out for you?  My guess is that if you have ever tried to change someone else’s  behavior, and that person did not want to change, you have been  consistently unsuccessful in changing their behavior. You may have even  alienated the person you were trying to enlighten. 

If they don’t care, don’t waste your time.  Research on coaching is clear and consistent. Coaching is most  successful when applied to people with potential who want to improve —  not when applied to people who have no interest in changing. This is  true whether you are acting as a professional coach, a manager, a family  member, or a friend.  Your time is very limited. The time you waste coaching people who do not  care is time stolen from people who want to change. As an example, back in Valley Station, Kentucky, my mother was an  outstanding first grade school teacher.

In Mom’s mind, I was always in  the first grade, my Dad was in the first grade, and all of our relatives  were in the first grade.  She was always correcting everybody.  My Dad’s name was Bill. Mom was always scolding “Bill! Bill!” when he  did something wrong. We bought a talking bird. In a remarkably short  period of time the bird started screeching “Bill! Bill!” Now Dad was  being corrected by a bird.  Years passed.

When Mom corrected his faulty grammar for the thousandth  time, Dad sighed, “Honey, I am 70 years old. Let it go.” If you are still trying to change people who have no interest in  changing, take Dad’s advice. Let it go.

7 Ways to Leverage Power

Power is an interesting concept when leading and working within organizations. Power is not always just as it appears on the organizational chart!

Learning From Lifestorming with Alan Weiss

4 Ways You Need to Know to Get the Go Ahead!

4 Ways You Need to Know to Get the Go Ahead! By Marshall Goldsmith 

In our book Lifestorming, Alan Weiss and I discuss that one of the most  important elements in life’s journey is granting ourselves permission.  It’s something that many of us do not do and it can significantly hold  us back from success and happiness both personal and professional.   We’ve found that when it comes to getting the go ahead, there are four  positions that most of us will take.   1) The first is you assume you never have permission.

You don’t cross  against the light even when you can see there’s no traffic for a mile.  You don’t contradict a buyer, no matter how egregious the error. You  would never ask a desk clerk for an upgrade, or duck under the endless  ropes to make quicker progress toward the entrance. You never push back. 

You do not, ever, break from precedent. You have no editor, only a  go/no go choice, which is usually shut down.  2) The second position that we might take is to formally ask. You ask  your partner if it’s okay to write a check for something from your joint  account. You ask a client if you can talk to people as you travel  through the site. You raise your hand and never just ask a question. You  wait to see if someone else does what you want to do first, as a  precedent. You constantly ask others to approve your approach, proposal,  article, and breakfast choice.   3) Third you may formally grant yourself permission. You review the  situation and affirm for yourself that it’s okay to knock and enter the  room. You say to yourself, “Well, they wouldn’t have offered if they  didn’t want me to use it.”

You compare your work to others to ensure  that you’re on the right track. You justify and validate internally why  it’s okay to proceed. You might not break new ground, but you take  advantage of ground already broken by others. You self-edit.  4) And, finally, the fourth position is that you simply assume  permission. With the right ethical bearing, you don’t commit antisocial  behavior, such as cutting a line, but you go to the elite members’ hotel  lounge and assume you’re entitled to because you have a large suite.  You tell your client when, based on your criteria, there’s been a bad  decision. You ask a question without asking to be acknowledged first.  You realize that some rules and even laws are situational and you use  good judgment to guide your behaviors. You have neither an external nor  an internal editor.

We think that the ideal setting for most people is to take positions  three and/or four. Based on three decades of working with all kinds of  people across many industries, we know how common it is to operate  between the second and third positions, however, the healthiest people,  and those most in control of their journey, operate between positions  three and four. They know at times they do require permission (I can’t  steal my sister’s car) and at times they can simply act (She’s away at  school and the car needs to be driven). 

In life, the most important person that you have to get permission from  is yourself. It may not always seem this way, but in the grand scheme,  this is very true. If you want to learn more about granting yourself  permission, read our book, Lifestorming: Creating Meaning and  Achievement in Your Career and Life!

4 Things Successful People Do to Have Great Relationships

One of the things that makes successful people so successful is that  they have great relationships.

The first thing you need to do when  working towards great relationships is define exactly what type of  relationship you are working on!  4 Things Successful People Do to Have Great Relationships [Edited from Lifestorming by Marshall Goldsmith and Alan Weiss] Relationships fuel our journey. Some are constant sources of power, some  are present for certain intervals and provide guidance and help. There  are others, however, which should be avoided, ended, or minimized  because they represent unwanted detours, excess weight, or distraction. 

First let’s review different types of relationships.  Some are permanent; examples can include our families, life partners,  close friends, and professional colleagues. These are the lifelong bonds  we have with some people. These venerable relationships endure not  necessarily because of frequency of contact, but because of the nature  of the relationship.  Some relationships are transient. Some friends, acquaintances,  coworkers, and colleagues enter and leave our lives. Parting can be  voluntary or involuntary. Such relationships can be highly valuable and  rewarding, even if only for the short term.   Finally, many some relationships are virtual. By virtual relationships,  we’re talking about the nature of the relationship itself. These are  connections we have (note that they’re called “followers” or “friends”  or, literally, “connections”) with electronic representations of people. 

Virtual friends may be transient or permanent—and, many permanent and  transient relationships are enhanced by the use of social media.  However, there is a difference between the use of social media as a  communications tool for face-to-face relationships versus a source for  developing new relationships. With these distinctions in mind, let’s now focus on sustaining your  journey through relationships, whether permanent or temporary or  virtual, with these four goals in mind:  1. We have to give to get. For relationships to be fulfilling we have to  invest in them; we can’t simply be takers. What we offer needn’t be  tangible (although it can be); it can be listening, support, feedback,  or empathy. Relationships are two-way streets. You can’t hog the road.  2. Relationships are based on trust.

Trust is the belief that the other  person has your best interests in mind and that you have his/her best  interests in mind. Honest feedback and advice, even when painful, are  part of caring for the other person.   3. Relationships are not a zero-sum game. For me to win, you don’t have  to lose. For you to win, I don’t have to lose. We can both win (or  lose). I am not diminished by your victories. We rejoice in success and  bemoan loss for either party.  4. Relationships need to be appropriate. If you’re promoted, your former  colleagues are now subordinates, and your former superiors are now  peers. You can reach a level of familiarity and ease in a personal  relationship that may not be right for a professional relationship.  Similarly, social relationships have their own unspoken rules. You  probably wouldn’t act the same way your college friends as you would  with your prospective mother-in-law. 

One of the things that makes successful people so successful is that  they have great relationships. Practice living the four goals above and  you will them too!

This Quiz Reveals Your True Leadership Potential!

Most of us think of leaders as people of character. They aren’t people  who live vicariously through others, but people who live their own lives  and lead by example.  What exactly do we mean by character?

Character evolves; circumstances  change; what worked in one situation is unsuccessful in another. We take  our definition from Robespierre, who claimed that, “No man can step  outside the shadow of his own character.” And we add to it that we  believe the shadow changes because of our growth and the angle of the  light.  Here are six elements of what we’ve come to call character:

Intelligence: The ability to apply critical thinking skills to problems  and challenges. Separating how one thinks about something from what one  feels about it.

Aptitude for learning. The ability to quickly discern  and apply patterns and identify distinctions. Drive or assertiveness: The ability to identify the need for and to create urgency.

A goal orientation. Moving through and around obstacles  that block others. Finding ways to make something happen rather than  creating excuses about why something can’t happen. 

Happiness: As characterized in Dan Gilbert’s work at Harvard, happiness  isn’t merely about the fortunate circumstances life brings us by chance,  but our ability to create “synthetic” happiness (which we often dismiss  negatively as rationalization). My getting fired was one of the best  things that ever happened to me, just as a broken arm or a missed flight  may be one of yours.   

Empathy: Part of strong character and a virtuous life is the ability to  put yourself in others’ shoes and understand how they feel. The  extension of kindness and the genuine regard for others is a wonderful  character trait. This is why passive-aggressive behavior (“Your daughter  was accepted at Michigan? Congratulations. Was that her back-up  school?”) reflects weak character, because it is malicious and seeks to  undermine others. 

Reciprocity and friendship: The ability to give as well as take, to  contribute as much as benefit, is a strong element of character.  Introversion is not a negative, but the unwillingness to help others and  to create friendships is. Healthy people maintain friendships, although  they frequently change with our circumstances.   

Intimacy and trust: Strong character demands the ability to form loving  bonds and to allow for vulnerability. The people we coach who make the  most progress the fastest are those who are comfortable exposing their  fears and weaknesses—being vulnerable in front of others.

People  incapable of creating strong, intimate bonds in their lives are affected  by a key character flaw.

7 Signs You’re Exuding Confidence as a Leader

EXERCISE Great leaders exude confidence, self-esteem and command respect, while being very good at what they do. Alan Weiss and I share how you can follow in their footsteps!

The Greatest Threat to Success and How to Avoid It

In a recent dialogue with my friend and Lifestorming co-author, Alan  Weiss, we talked about the greatest threat to success and how the most  successful people in the world avoid it.

The greatest threat to  achieving success is not admitting we need help to get better and be the  best!  One thing that every great leader, athlete, and talented person has that  helps make them the best at what they do is a coach. They all have  help. Can you imagine Pau Gasol or Serena Williams without a coach? How  about Floyd Mayweather?

Of course not! Why would we think that these  greats need help but we can do it by ourselves? A product of my deepest learnings over the past few years as a coach,  boils down to a simple sentence, and it’s this “We all need help and  it’s okay!”  When I started in the coaching field 30 years ago, no CEO would admit to  having a coach. They would have been ashamed to have a coach.

Today  this has changed. One thing that I’m very proud of is that in my book  Triggers 27 major CEOs endorsed the book. They proudly admit to getting  help.  To me, this is much healthier. We’ve all got behaviors we’ve been  working on for decades. Say we want to be a better listener. We vow to  change and yet we don’t. Why is making this promise to ourselves again  today going to make us different tomorrow? It’s not.

We have to admit we  need help and it’s okay! Admitting we need help makes a significant  positive difference for all of us.  In my own life, I pay a woman to call me on the phone every day. Why? My  name is Marshall Goldsmith. I'm the world's leading executive coach. I  was ranked number one leadership thinker in the world. I pay a woman to  call me on the phone every day. She listens to me answer my daily  questions, questions that I write and I answer, every day. Why do I do  this? My name is Marshall Goldsmith. I'm too cowardly to do this by  myself and too undisciplined.

I need help, and it’s okay!  How about you? Where are some areas where you might need a little help?  Make a checklist of behaviors and actions that you want to improve on  and then ask someone to help you by listening to you gauge how you’re  doing every day. It’s simple and still hard to do because we have to  look at ourselves every single day. We give ourselves feedback every  single day and we ask someone else to help us be accountable. It’s a  great tool. 

As my friend Alan said when we were talking about this process writing  our book, “This feedback is invaluable. And that’s how we can all  improve. In terms of Lifestorming, the more we think about ourselves,  the more we think of ourselves, the less threatening it is to ask for  help.”

A Conversation With Francis Hesselbein

What Is Your Battle Cry?

One of the greatest leaders I know is Frances Hesselbein, the former  executive director of the Girl Scouts of America and now chairman of the  Leader to Leader Institute. I am not alone in my assessment of her  talents.

Peter Drucker once noted that she was perhaps the most  effective executive he had ever met. As a tribute to her leadership  skills, President Clinton awarded Frances with the Presidential Medal of  Freedom, the highest award that can be given to a U.S. civilian.  I am deeply honored that Frances is also one of my best friends. Like  all humans, Frances faces the same problems we all face. She has lived  through health problems, tragedies with friends and family issues.

And,  like all great professionals, when it is time for Frances to work, she  is always there. I have seen her turn down an invitation from the U.S.  president because she had already committed to a talk (at no fee) for a  non-profit organization in a small town. When she makes a commitment, if  it is humanly possible to be there, she delivers. It doesn’t matter  that a “better deal” came along later. She not only makes an appearance,  she is upbeat and positive, she is inspirational and she gets the job  done.

Three of Frances “battle cries” are   1) Her blood type, which she proudly tells us is “Be Positive”!  2) Her vision, which she enthusiastically shares with all of us “Bright  Future”!  3) Her mission, which she exemplifies to us every day “To Serve Is to  Live”! 

Frances believes in the core of her soul in what she is doing and anyone  around her feels it and knows it.  Everyone buys her act — because her  act is truly Frances.  Believe in Your Act  I used to have a conflict about the “stage” of business. As an executive  educator, who helps successful leaders achieve a positive change in  behavior, I, in a way, teach people how to act. I wondered, when is acting being professional?

When is acting being  phony? I want to help leaders perform well under all circumstances; I  don’t believe they should ever be phonies. How can I, as a coach,  understand the difference? What makes you “buy” your boss’s, colleagues’, subordinates’ or even a  salesperson’s “act?” The answer is we buy someone’s act when they truly  love their profession. We are with them when their “act” is part of the  fabric of who, and what they are — and we can feel it in our  interactions with them. 

If you are in the right job in the right company, and you are learning  how to perform to the best of your ability, you are being a true  professional. If you are in the wrong job in the wrong company and you  learn to act so that you can better fit in, you are just being a better  phony. It still isn’t you out there. 

Every day we all take the stage. And, when you take the stage and the  show must go on — are people buying your act? And, most of all are you  buying your own act?  If the answer is “no”, change jobs as soon as you can. Why bother to  become a better phony? Even if you do get a coach and learn to modify  your behavior, it won’t count for much. Why? It won’t really be you.  If the answer is “yes”, be like Frances Hesselbein.

Put on a great show.  Be the consummate professional. Learn to keep developing your ability  to perform, so you can get even better than you are today. If you love  what you do, a great coach might even help you get better.

You’re only as Good as Your Team!

For the great achiever, it’s all about “me.” For the great leader, it’s all about “them.”  Over the years, I have worked with many great leaders as an executive  educator and coach.

One client, Charlie (not his real name), in  particular is still one of my favorites. He is the one who showed the  most improvement — and he is the one who I spent the least amount of  time with.  Charlie was president of a division with more than 50,000 employees. His  CEO recognized his talents and asked me to help Charlie expand his  role, provide more leadership, and build synergy across the  organization.

Charlie eagerly involved his team in this project. Each  person took responsibility for creating positive synergy with  cross-organizational colleagues. They regularly reported their efforts,  learned from their colleagues, and shared what they learned. They  thanked people for ideas and suggestions and followed up to ensure  effective implementation.  What I find interesting is that of all the clients I have ever coached,  Charlie is the client I spent the least amount of time with.

This  inverse relationship between our spending time together and he and his  team getting better was very humbling. At the end of our project, I told  Charlie about this observation. “I think that I spent less time with  you and your team than any team I have ever coached, yet you and your  team produced the most dramatic, positive results. What should I learn  from my experience?”  Charlie thought about my question. “As a coach,” he said, “you should  realize that success with your clients isn’t all about you. It’s about  the people who choose to work with you.” He chuckled; then he continued:  “In a way, I am the same. The success of my organization isn’t about  me. It’s all about the great people who are working with me.” 

There is a big difference between achievers and leaders. For the great  achiever, perhaps someone on Charlie’s team, the focus is all about “me”  and reaching individual goals. For Charlie, one of the greatest leaders  I’ve ever met, leadership is all about “them” and their success.

He  truly exemplifies the oft-quoted proverb says: “The best leader, the  people do not notice. When the best leader’s work is done, the people  say, ‘We did it ourselves.’"  This isn’t what most of the conventional wisdom of leadership dictates.  Most leadership literature exaggerates, even glamorizes, the leader’s  contribution. The implication being that everything begins with the  leader, that she is responsible for your improvement, she guides you to  victory, without the leader there is no navigator.

Truly great leaders, like Charlie, recognize how silly it is to believe  that a leader is the key to an organization’s success. The best leaders  understand that long-term results are created by all of the great people  doing the work — not just the one person who has the privilege of being  at the top.

How to Successfully Leave Your Job

Transitions such as quitting one job for another opportunity or retiring  from your current career are usually far harder than we imagine. It’s  easy to talk about letting go, but when the time comes, it’s hard to do. 

The emotional aspect of departing is difficult to fathom, but at a  recent meeting I attended, a marketing exec put the dilemma in succinct  terms to a group of us.  She said, “My job was my best friend. It’s very hard to leave your best  friend,” I watched the expressive face of this fantastic leader as she  shared her personal feelings about leaving her job and her organization. 

The other people in the room hung on her every word. “It seemed like I  was getting promoted every few years. I loved the company, my  co-workers, and our customers. Going to work was a joy for me,” she  said, sighing. “And then one day, it was time to leave. It hurt,” she  said. “An opportunity arose that I couldn’t pass up. I had to go.”  No matter where you are in your career or how you feel about your  current job and colleagues, it is good to think about what you might  want to do if you leave your present position and how it will feel to  leave.

For some people who are unhappy in their current position, they  might think leaving will be only a happy experience. While this could be  true, there may be a person or two you will miss when you go or a  specific part of your job that you really enjoy doing. For those like  our marketing exec, who love their jobs, leaving for another opportunity  can be a very emotional experience, and it’s important to think these  through before you make the jump.

Below are three questions to ask yourself as you consider taking the new  opportunity.   

• Will I be making a contribution?

• Will I find meaning?

• Will it make me happy? 

Next let’s think about retiring: today people live a lot longer than  they used to, and they are a lot healthier at 65. Think about it: if you  have the drive and energy to become a successful leader, it is unlikely  that these traits will immediately stop when you leave your company, so  you better plan for an active retirement! 

I have found that most people don’t want to “do nothing’ all day. We  have hopes and dreams, goals and ambitions. We want to contribute to the  world, make it a better place, not “retire” from it to a life of  “leisure”. For most of us, sleeping in late, lounging on the beach,  improving our golf scores, and lazing about all day are great for a  short time, but they hold little allure in the long-term.  The happiest “transitioned” executives I have met are still making a  contribution to the world, they are finding meaning and contentment in  what they do today—not just reflecting on what they did yesterday. 

Think about “life after work,” and ask yourself these three questions:

• How can I continue to make a contribution?

• How can I find meaning?

• What will make me happy? 

You might have 20 or more years to live after your primary work is  finished. How can you make this time count for yourself and the people  around you?   

Now is a good time to start planning.

Why Some People Really Love Their Jobs

The great leader Frances Hesselbein and I discuss our hopes for the  future and Frances gives us her thoughts on what is really important in  life and what makes her love her work so much.

A Conversation With Chris Cuomo

Common Problem of Successful People

My friend Chris Cuomo of CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time and I discuss the most common common trait I’ve noticed in my four decades of coaching successful leaders.

How to Really Listen

We can all stand to be better listeners. I asked one of the world’s great interviewers Chris Cuomo, anchor of CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time, what tips he might have to help us be better listeners!

Qualities of Great Leaders

My great friend, Chris Cuomo, journalist and news anchor on CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time, has some ideas about the qualities that make great leaders and so do I!

We recently met and talked about the traits we see most in great leaders and not surprisingly our answers are quite similar. The short excerpt from our interview below reveals our answers to this question. I’d love to hear your answers!  Marshall: Chris, you are, I think, justifiably, considered one of the world's great interviewers.

You've had the opportunity to meet leaders in all kinds of different, fascinating fields.   I'm going to ask a question about the broad concept of leadership. What are some of the qualities you've seen that really stand out to you for people you consider to be great leaders? What would that quality be? 

Chris: Something that jumps out, no matter what the genre is, is clarity of thought and being open to being wrong. And that is not easy. The second response is I recently reread Profiles in Courage, the Kennedy book. Many of the people who he calls out for courage lost in their next election, lost during a very tumultuous time. In the book, he quotes Ernest Hemingway as saying, "What is courage? Courage is grace under pressure." That's a leader.   Somebody who does not capitulate, who does not succumb to the same pressures that the non-leaders do. That's something I've seen in every space whether it's sports, business, culture. It’s not that they're the smartest or the best. But they function the best in that situation. And it seems to be a common factor from all of them. They don't think about things going wrong except in terms of how to make them better.   

Marshall: I love that. In my job as a coach, as you know, I don't get paid if my clients don't become more effective leaders. More effective is not judged by me or them, it's judged by everyone around them. Three qualities of great leaders that have hit me, which are totally consistent with what you said. The first one is courage. They have the courage to look in the mirror.   And you know that's not easy. It's not easy for me, or you, or for any of us. Second is humility. I can't help someone who's already perfect. You have to have that humility to admit you can do better. And then the third one is the discipline to do the hard work to get better. So, thank you, Chris!

Looking for Common Ground

In a recent interview with my friend, Chris Cuomo, journalist and news anchor on CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time, we talked about one of the biggest challenges we face today – ‘either/or’ thinking. Chris shares an example that illustrates this grave issue and the dire consequences that result when we don’t look for common ground and work together to solve our common problems.

3 Secrets to a Great Interview

My great friend CNN journalist and news anchor, Chris Cuomo recently premiered his new show Cuomo Prime Time, a news analysis show on CNN. He got this amazing opportunity because he is an exceptional interviewer!  What makes him such an incredible interviewer? Three things! Find out what they are in the following excerpt from our interview.

Marshall Live!

Marshall Goldsmith speaks at the Synergy Global Forum at Moscow's Olimpiysky Are
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