Triggers, by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter NY: Random, 2015
Okay, folks, we are talking about psychology and behavior here, not guns. This book begins sounding very psychologically oriented, but it was written by a management consultant, often brought in by top executives to “smooth the interpersonal rough edges off” by a CEO. Aims at helping implement desired changes.
Questions are clearly Goldsmith’s preferred methods. One chart tracks kinds of questions, whether they are more helpful or not by whether they are wanted or not and encouraging or not. Another asks whether you should preserve or eliminate, be creative or accepting. Drawn as a circle, one can plot items on a continuum.
The insight about how much environment affects a person, coupled with the questions allows people to move off their usual excuses of blaming the environment and see themselves and give themselves motivation for change.
Goldsmith reflected on his coaching failures to ask how committed to change people were. Some don not want to be changed and it is arrogant of us to think we can help them change. In other cases, people need help and structure. For instance, the 5 point checklist for doctors in intensive care units dramatically educed infections – even thought doctors know all the the ingredients. The structure of the checklist reminded them to do what they knew to do. Similarly, we know crises will occur and other challenges will come, so we need help (such as someone calling us to ask us the questions or daily rating system) or structure (such as regular check in meetings)
On the recurrent obstacles is that we get tired at the end of the day, and sometimes we have too much on our plate. Other times, we just didn’t plan to do our best, as if there were some times when it would be okay to be an amateur. Well, sometimes it is: when it is impossible to be anything else, then it is time to settle for good enough rather than be unhappy. Most of the time in interpersonal relationships, however, we could be better, if we realized there were a way. Not enough sleep
Finally he asks about when is good enough good enough. Manufacturing will have certain errors and effort to eliminate them at a certain point become counter-productive, but by contrast, a CEO must not let himself off the hook by saying he is not a professional speaker and a husband can’t avoid responsibility by saying well, at work he has to be professional.
Helpful in changing behavior and helping in cuing a coach on how to help clients.
What questions have meant the most in changing your own behavior? What questions have you posed to your staff to improve performance?
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