Marshall Goldsmith: Three Books For Executive Growth

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means you still receive the best price and we may also receive a commission if you click a link and purchase a book that we have recommended.

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means you still receive the best price and we may also receive a commission if you click a link and purchase a book that we have recommended.

In our last post we discussed the important benefits of stakeholder-centered coaching and how executives can grow through 360-degree feedback. At the Dieckert Group, we often utilize stakeholder-centered coaching and other coaching techniques popularized by Marshall Goldsmith to assist corporate clients.

Using his expertise, Marshall has authored or co-authored more than 30 books on leadership and coaching. Three of his books that we often recommend are Triggers: Creating Behavior that Lasts—Becoming the Person You Want to Be, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Becoming Even More Successful, and How Women Rise: Break the 12 Habits Holding You Back From Your Next Raise, Promotion, or Job.

Triggers: Creating Behavior that Lasts

We utilize Triggers in many of our coaching engagements because it focuses on the concept of change and the difficult process of implementing it. Our clients are looking to change behaviors and viewpoints in order to become more successful in the workplace. Change is never an easy process, and Triggers creates a straightforward process that our clients can learn from, practice, and apply to better their careers and lives. 

The main concept in Triggers is that the brain functions similarly to a computer, in that most of our actions and reactions to situations are pre-scripted to anticipate common outcomes. A relatable example of that idea is in driving; the first time you drive to a new location, you are very focused on how to get there. But as you make that same drive repeated times your brain turns on to autopilot and eventually you don’t even remember the journey. 

Science reinforces the idea that most of our lives are spent running scripted responses, just like that autopilot on a repetitive commute. When you are looking to change someone’s behaviors, you first have to figure out the thoughts that are triggered by their circumstances and scripted behavior responses that dictate their interaction with the world and other people. 

Triggers provides tools and techniques to identify those external triggers and to affect change by creating different scripts. Most people believe that their automatic responses, behaviors, and actions are an ingrained part of who they are and therefore cannot be changed. In reality, they are simply patterned responses to the world, and you have the power to change that. 

Once you realize that it is possible to alter your scripts, you can consciously inject a different response. Overcoming your initial responses and creating new scripts is a difficult concept at first, but Triggers lays out methods that anybody can implement. Eventually people can get used to that process and realize that it is possible to change what they previously thought was a fixed part of who they are. 

What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Another of Goldsmith’s most popular books is What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. This book is particularly beneficial for executives. It shows that even people who climb the corporate ladder can and frequently plateau, and gives steps toward continued growth. 

One of the lessons that Goldsmith emphasizes is the idea that as a company grows, the founder or CEO’s behaviors do not continue to create the success they once did. Often the skills that contributed to the success of executives early on in their career are not the same behavioral strategies that they need to continue growing the company or rising within the business after a certain point.

What Got You Here focuses on the leadership behaviors that lend to success as executives scale their businesses and teaches practical application for putting those behaviors into play. 

This resonates with so many of our clients; they find that they have hit a wall and their companies are no longer growing and succeeding because they have continued to rely on the skills that got them where they are instead of developing new leadership techniques over time. 

As businesses expand, culture changes. One of our most important jobs in our coaching engagements is helping executives stay ahead of their company’s growth so that they don’t bottleneck as they aim to reach new levels. 

Goldsmith focuses on how to recognize your own drawbacks, desire to change, and take positive steps towards growing. Gratitude, willingness to apologize, belief that you control your own success, a realistic view of your own positive and negative traits, accepting feedback, recognizing others and offering genuine praise, and letting go of the past are all important behaviors that can affect change and allow executives to grow and succeed. 

How Women Rise

Co-authored with Sally Helgesen, How Women Rise often resonates with our female clients. It provides practical steps for women towards overcoming societal pressures, self-limiting beliefs and obstacles in the workplace.

Female executives are susceptible to ingrained and frequently negative self-talk that can act as barriers in the workplace. This book focuses on those habits and other challenges for female executives, and gives advice on what they can do to take control and secure their own successes. 

Using Lessons from Goldsmith’s Work

The three books discussed here have shaped the lives of many of our clients and countless executives throughout the world. Goldsmith is dedicated to affecting profound change in the lives of as many others as he can. 

As always, we at The Dieckert Group are happy to guide you through practical application of the strategies gained from reading these books. If you are ready to learn more, apply ideas to change and grow, and incorporate steps to build your company, leadership skills, or advance in your career, reach out to us today to discuss how you could benefit from a coaching engagement.

Heath Dieckert