Marshall Goldsmith has earned a degree in mathematical economics, an MBA and a PhD. He is a leadership coach who coaches successful leaders and helps them get even better. Dr. Marshall Goldsmith was recognised as the #1 Leadership Thinker in the World and was one of the top 5 Management Thinkers in 2015. The target readership of this book is aimed primarily at senior corporate professionals with the aim of making a lasting positive change in their behaviour.

I learnt about situational leadership: the differences between directing, coaching, supporting and delegating.

The wheel of behavioural change (change or keep the positive elements, change or keep the negative):

  • Creating represents the positive elements that we want to create in our future
  • Preserving represents the positive elements that we want to keep in the future
  • Eliminating represents the negative elements that we want to eliminate in the future
  • Accepting represents the negative elements that we need to accept in the future

The circle of engagement is: trigger, impulse, awareness, choice, behaviour.

To change your behaviours, you should set up a daily list of questions. You should use active questions instead of passive questions. For example, start the questions with ‘Did I do my best to’ instead of ‘How well did I do’. Score each question at the end of the day on a scale of 1 – 10. Your only considerations should be: are these items important to me? And, will success on these items help me become the person I want to be?

For the daily questions to be fully effective, you should get a ‘coach’ to ask you the questions each night. This adds the powerful effect of accountability. Hourly questions are an effective tool to use when you are in situations where the environment might trigger a negative impulse in behaviour. Dr. Goldsmith states his first principle for becoming the person you want to be. It is phrased in the form of a question we should be asking ourselves whenever we must choose to either engage or ‘let it go’:

  • Am I willing, at this time, to make the investment required to make a positive difference on this topic?

Here is an example table that you could use:

Date:
Daily Questions <——– Days ——–> Fortnightly
average
Did you do your best to: (1-10 scale) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
Did I do my best to be fully engaged?
Did I do my best to build positive relationships today?
Did I do my best to set clear goals today?
Did I do my best to make progress towards my goals today?
Did I do my best to find meaning?
Did I do my best to be happy?

These should be formulated into a ‘daily questions’ spreadsheet. The spreadsheet will be reviewed at the end of each day with an accountability partner. Whenever you have to make a decision to engage, ask yourself this question: “Am I willing, at this time, to make the investment required to make a positive difference on this topic?”

I enjoyed reading this book as much as I feel I received valuable learning from it. Some books on behaviour that I have read before are very impractical, for example, Compelling People. Compelling People explained how strength and warmth are characteristics of a compelling person, and described the attributes you had to have in order to be a strong or warm person, or both. Whereas, this book has a central theory (daily questions) that can easily be implemented and so it is very practical.