Goldsmith’s guaranteed way to change behaviors

Behavior Change

“People will do something—including changing their behavior—only if it can be demonstrated that doing so is in their own best interests as defined by their own values.”

― Marshall Goldsmith

I am coaching a person who works as a manager in a multi-national organization with a few direct reports. I am a fan of Marshal Goldsmith’s principles and process of executive coaching. I leverage his guaranteed and measurable framework for leadership development. A leader needs humility, courage and discipline to go through Marshall’s process of leadership improvement. To keep the anonymity of my client – I will use the word ‘Leader’ in the ensuing paragraphs to refer to this person.

360 degree feedback (anonymous) is the first step in Marshall’s process to know the perceptions of team members about their leader. In this case we had 10 people participating in 360 degree feedback and providing their viewpoints on the leader’s behaviors. The report was very insightful and the leader was shocked to see the team’s perceptions and observations.

One common behavioral flaw emerged in most participants’ feedback.

  1. The leader doesn’t listen and interrupts others all the time

I really admire the courage of this leader who is willing to admit his flaws and willing to change & grow. Instead of justifying his style he is focused on ‘what behaviors are causing this perception in his team?’, which is the quality great of a leader!

During our coaching session this evening, he asked some tips to become a better listener. His natural style is to interrupt people within a few seconds. So we played this game that Marshall recommends in his coaching framework. We agreed that during our conversation, every time the leader interrupts me he would pay me INR 100/-. He laughed instantly and agreed to play this game – as it was a paltry amount for him 🙂

After this I went on sharing how this idea helped my other clients, he interrupted me in the middle of my first sentence 🙂 I stopped and said ‘100 rupees now’ ! He pulled out a 100-rupee note and handed it over to me. In that hour he interrupted me 5 times within the first 30 minutes and he lost 500 rupees 🙂 He started feeling the pinch!

In the next half hour, suddenly his awareness elevated and whenever he was about to interrupt me – he stopped midway and started smiling at me! This was amazingly powerful! I believe his drive to save money and win over me both increased his conscious awareness to change his behavior.

He was so excited about this change and the efficacy of this simple process. Tomorrow he is announcing to his team about this game. Every time they catch him not listening and interrupting others – he will pay them 100 rupees on the spot!

No wonder Marshall is a genius and the most populate executive coach on this planet with 150+ CEOs as his clients. Simple, effective and pragmatic ideas make his framework rock!

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