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Tag Archives: #Marshall Goldsmith#

“What is your greatest weakness?”
“What is something you regret having done in the past?”

Interview questions you hope not to get. If you are not looking for a job, the feared performance appraisal meeting with the BOSS.

What exactly am I expected to say? The good news is that everyone has a weakness. No need to be defensive.

1. Use your judgment
Dont cite weakness in areas which are critical in your job. Such as “lack of attention to details” in accounting. Or something irrelevant like not being able to sing, if you are a banker.

Interviewers are also not expecting “confession box” answers. The interviewer is not a therapist, so now is not the time to talk about the skeletons in the closet. It may also reveal a candidates lack of common sense or not having done sufficient research by checking out critical competencies. I recall candidates who let their guards down to talk about feeling inadequate and not being sure if they are up for the job. Leave it out, or better still, don’t apply for the job. Maybe a recruiter appreciates your being candid? Not often.

2. A strength overplayed can become a weakness

One possibility is to talk about how our strengths can work against us. A double edged sword of sorts.

Fear your strengths“, Robert Kaplan advised. When you have too much of a good thing, it can interfere with your leadership. In his research, Kaplan cited Enron’s Schilling who was a forceful character to the extent that he would bulldoze audit checks.

Dont just understand your strengths, understand what happens when you overuse them.

Example. Steve Jobs was famous for his attention to detail and design for his products. However, if attention to details cause you to miss deadlines, that becomes a serious problem. One must be ready to ship.  

Also avoid overused labels like ‘I am a perfectionist’ which indicates lack of self awareness or condescending to others in the team.

Kaplan’s Leadership Versatility Index (LVI®) measures versatility on two major pairs of opposing but complementary leadership dimensions:

Forceful vs. enabling
Strategic vs. operational

Image result for leadership versatility index

http://kaplandevries.com/leadership-versatility-index

What can I do?

3. Self Awareness and Willingness to get feedback

Show the interviewer that you are aware of this gap, and how it can interfere with your team’s productivity.

Building on the example above, show your willingness to listen to feedback or proactively sought feedback when you observed that the strength had become a weakness.

Leaders need a team to keep themselves in check.

In “Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts”, Marshall Goldsmith suggests that  getting feedback is our first step in becoming more mindful about the connection between our environment and our behavior.

4. Working on your weakness.

  • Choose small changes
  • Adopt a regimen
  • Get counterweights or people in place to remind you (deferentially) or
  • Using “triggers” like a photo or a 2×2 card as reminder
  • Accountability
  • Daily reflection question

On that note, top coach Marshall Goldsmith comes up with a list of 40 questions and pays someone to call him daily as a commitment device.

A leader who is forceful, may need to dial back, and be more enabling. Spend time listening and supporting, rather than rushing forth to take charge of a situation.

This was something Linda learned as a manager, over-talking when her subordinates remained quiet.  Something she learned, was to refrain from over-talking and using the “pause” to help her, and asking for feedback.

So what’s your strength?

 

Fear Your Strengths: What You Are Best at Could Be Your Biggest Problem: Robert E. Kaplan, Robert B. Kaiser

Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts–Becoming the Person You Want to Be
By Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter (2015).

#21st century skills#

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When I first read “What got you here, won’t get you there“, I thought it was the best coaching book.

As luck would have it, Marshall Goldsmith was invited as the keynote speaker at the Singapore Management Festival. My colleague Stephen was also in the audience, and encouraged me to take a photo with Goldsmith and ask him to sign my book. Thank you Stephen. Thank you Goldsmith. I did not have the courage to sign on to be one of Goldsmith’s coaches.

Talk about Planned Unplanned.

Why is behaviour change so difficult? Even when we acknowledge the need to change what we do. Triggers examines the external factors (or ‘triggers’) – both negative and positive – that affect our behaviours.
The book also offers some simple, practical advice to help us navigate the negative and make the most of the triggers that help us to sustain positive change.

Marshall Goldsmith is a world-renowned business educator and coach, recognised in 2013 as one of the Top Ten Most Influential Management Thinkers in the World – and the top-ranked executive coach – by Thinkers 50.

A trigger is any stimulus that reshapes our thoughts and actions. If we do not create and control our environment, our environment can control our behaviour.

How?
1. Measure important behaviors 

To make progress toward any goal, it helps to track our behaviors. Monitoring and accountability are the keys to behavior changes, “If you want to eat more healthily, get more exercise, track your spending.”

Every evening, Goldsmith reviews a 40-item spreadsheet consisting of every important behavior he hopes to achieve, including the number of words he wrote; the distance he walked; and the number of nice things he said to his wife, daughter, and grandchildren. He reviews this list with someone he employs to phone him.

2. Ask yourself DAILY active questions on the items.

Did I do my best to …

“The [Daily Questions] announce our intention to do something and, at the risk of private disappointment or public humiliation, they commit us to doing it”.
They are a ‘commitment device” and force us to articulate what we really want to change in our lives”. After 10 consecutive days of saying “NO, I did not do it”, the question is whether we are serious in wanting to make the change?

Am I willing at this time to make an investment in a positive behaviour change? “The [Daily Questions] announce our intention to do something and, at the risk of private disappointment or public humiliation, they commit us to doing it.

Daily Questions focus us on where we need help, not where we’re doing just fine. Humility to recognise that we need a simple structure, even writing down the items every day. It helps us take action one day at a time and reduce our objectives into manageable twenty-four-hour increments”.

3.  Recognise our environment can be a trigger

Most of us go through life unaware of how our environment shapes our behaviour. If we do not create and control our environment, our environment creates and controls us. A simple way is to set reminders of our goal. In my case, the example he gave about how being around his mean neighbours one evening, triggered his behaviour to behave likewise.

I have willpower and won’t give in to temptation. We not only overestimate willpower, we underestimate the power of triggers in our environment that lead us astray. Especially when I am tired, I tend to eat carbohydrates or engage in mindless net-surfing to relax.

When we make plans for the future, we seldom plan on distractions, even though this may trigger our behaviour. Example, lunch with friends who turn up late and I get upset, because I don’t like such behaviour. I could have anticipated this, and plan how to effectively use the 20 mins when my friends are late.

4.  Get Accountability -we need a coach and feedback

Myth that I have the wisdom to assess my own behavior. Goldsmith is of the view that we are inaccurate at assessing ourselves. He pays someone to call him every day to hear him go through the 40 items question and answer. As a top coach, if he is willing to admit that he does not have the discipline and self control. “Self-discipline refers to achieving desirable behavior. Self-control refers to avoiding undesirable behavior”.

Feedback—both the act of giving it and taking it—is our first step in becoming more mindful about the connection between our environment and our behavior”. Sometimes we give ourselves an excuse. Today is a special day. If we really want to change we have to accept that we cannot self-exempt every time. In my case, tracking how often I eat carbs, even though I know I should not. Tracking caused me to realise its every day, and sometimes its twice a day, not just a special day.

5. Avoidance as a measure

To avoid undesirable behavior, avoid the environments where it is most likely to occur. Or as Judge Ruth Bader suggested, sometimes pretend to be a little deaf, especially when someone made an unkind remark at you.

This is not a book for the unmotivated.  His book answers the “HOW to change”. He does not attempt to answer the “What to change and WHY”. I guess I need to read it with “What got you here, won’t get you there.”

Sometimes the negative can be a positive motivator. Photo in the Book of Goldsmith in Mali with the Red Cross, where the Red Cross had to do a triage on starving children, measuring their arms. Only those between ages of 2-15 yrs old would be given food. Picture reminded him of how blessed he was, to be born in the US, and not to get upset with inconsequential stuff. The photo is a trigger for positive behaviour.

Triggers: Creating Behavior That Lasts–Becoming the Person You Want to Be
By Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter (2015). Book Length: 272 pages

Other resources by Goldsmith
MOJO

Marshall Goldsmith