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Marshall Goldsmith: Teamwork and How to Talk Better

Marshall Goldsmith Lesson

I heard an amazing conversation last week with world-renowned business coach Marshall Goldsmith. His laid-back delivery makes the stories stick in my mind so go check out the episode!

Here’s a summary of the best advice he offers for leaders, managers, and really anyone that works with other people.

1) It’s never about being smart

Our mission in life is to make a positive difference, not to prove we’re smart and not to prove we’re right. We are not here on earth to prove how smart we are.

Marshall explains that all decisions are ultimately made by the person with the power to make them. Not the smartest person. Not the most fair person. Not the most logical person. Proving how smart you are doesn’t accomplish anything. You try to change their mind, and that’s all you can do.

2) Pause before giving direction to a team member

When you choose your words, ask yourself “will this increase the other person’s commitment?” If not, don’t say it! The advice to change that one tiny thing may feel insignificant but it could discourage someone from giving that 100% effort.

3) One weekly habit can dramatically increase your team’s happiness

This technique comes from one of Marshall’s CEOs who tripled his scores for team satisfaction.

Set a reminde twice a week and look through the list of people that support you. Send a little note for anything done that helped you out. Those little actions add up to make everyone feel more appreciated.

Listen: Marshall Goldsmith: The Essentials Of Leadership [The Knowledge Project Ep. #142]

** You might also enjoy Two Stories on Secrets to Learning Faster – these examples can help to learn lessons and avoid the painful mistakes **

Three Lessons for Twenty-year-old Me

In an attempt to pause and reflect on what I’ve learned over years, I’m aiming to look further than just what I discovered last week.

I wrote down the things I wish I’d known in my twenties to be more efficient. The key takeaways could fit on a single post-it (woah, great idea!?) or a tattoo (terrible idea!):

  1. Get it done early in the morning
  2. Give yourself deadlines (even fake ones!)
  3. Write out decisions to force clear thinking
  4. If the task is difficult, break it into 10 min chunks

The advice applies specifically to me (side effects may include terrific productivity and incredible life satisfaction!). But in seriousness, I suggest thinking about what you’ve learned in these past several years on the planet and writing it down.