I had the honor of interviewing one of the most legendary leaders I’ve come across in my career, Dr. Marshall Goldsmith. He is the author of 23 books on leadership, coaching, and executive development. He is the quintessential expert in providing insights for any leader’s success. I believe that one of the many qualities that set him apart from others in today’s leadership space is his value of generosity.
His belief in the importance of generosity came to life while growing up in a small town in Kentucky. Goldsmith was in charge of the March of Dimes Bread Drive during his high school years. The high school students were instructed to go door to door for fundraising. When someone contributed to the cause, they were to give a loaf of bread to the donor as a thank you for their contribution. Over time, he discovered that he was more effective at fundraising when he presented the loaf of bread before asking for help. This gesture helped him understand that giving is a bridge to building a supportive community.
He believes in continuous development. During our conversation, Goldsmith said, “I do three things: teaching, coaching, and writing. However, teaching is what I love the most. Coaching helps me learn a lot more than the other two activities. Throughout my coaching career, I continued to grow. I worked with incredibly bright people who continually try to get better. The problems they face help me learn from them.”
Problems usually stem from change. Change is inevitable in today’s complex and rapidly changing environment. Goldsmith shared the three most essential things leaders should keep in mind when managing change.
He said, “My sole mission in life is helping already successful leaders achieve long-term change in behavior. My coaching process works worldwide, and thousands of people completed leadership certification through my coaching process. For me, an essential factor to lasting change is your client. Your client should be able to focus on three primary variables.
1. Courage – When people dare to look in the mirror and get adequate feedback, awareness steps in.
2. Humility – When people have the humility to admit that there is room for improvement, growth happens. People remain stuck and can never better themselves if they believe they are already perfect.
3. Discipline – When people embrace the regimen of hard work, change happens.”
Long-term behavioral change requires that a person be open to change compared to someone who is resistant to any feedback. An open mindset includes the intense desire to change, awareness of personal strengths and limitations, and doing whatever it takes to transform. Creating a shift is about being ready to explore what is possible, receiving feedback that might dent the self-image, and stretch the comfort zone to experience growth in different areas of life. Ultimately, the open mindset builds the courage muscles that help a person have breakthroughs and achieve success.