Episode #305: Marcus Buckingham & Ashley Goodall – A Leader’s Guide To The Real World (Break All The Rules)

Marcus Buckingham holds a master’s degree in social and political science from Cambridge University and is a member of the Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Leadership and Management.  He’s the author of the international best-seller, First, Break All The Rules.  To kick-start the strengths revolution, Buckingham and Gallup developed the StrengthsFinder exam, which identifies signature themes that help employees quantify their personal strengths in the workplace and at home. Since the StrengthsFinder debuted in 2001, more than 1 million people have discovered their strengths with this useful and important tool.

Ashley Goodall is the co-author, with Marcus Buckingham, of Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World.  He is an executive, leadership expert, and author, and has spent his career exploring large organizations from the inside. He looks for the lessons from the real world that help people and teams thrive, and that make work a more human place for all of the humans in it.

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“You follow somebody if they give you confidence in the future.”

Show Notes:

  • Sustaining excellence:
    • Optimism — An innate predisposition that things will get better
    • Individualization — Ability to attract great talent.  Knowing that each person has something unique to bring
  • “You follow somebody if they give you confidence in the future.”
    • “The world will be better if I hitch my wagon to you.”
  • Great managers/leaders =
    • They know how to surround themselves with the right people — “If you want a great party, invite great people.”
    • They focus on people first
    • They help them.  They coach them.  They find a path and set expectations.
    • They grow.  They make the next step and help others do the same.
  • “Talent is more important than experience.”
    • Talent = a recurring pattern of thought.  Enduring patterns in a person.  Hire for those, then train for skills.
  • How to find talented people?
    • Ask open ended questions, stay quiet, believe what they say.
    • Ask appetite questions:  “What did you love most about that?”
    • Talents are far more about natural appetite
  • Feedback:
    • “People need feedback to grow and excel.  It grows best not with feedback, but with help.”
    • People grown when attention is given to them.  “Pay attention to me.  My talents.”  People need attention to what really works in them
  • Leaders must look at the real world
    • Idiosyncratic — The best are…
    • There is a difference between theory world and the real world
  • “Learning is an emergent experience.”  It’s inside out… How you do your version…
  • How do you measure things that are hard to measure?
    • “Must make a distinction between traits and states.”
      • Example of a trait = extroversion
      • Example of a state = mood, skills (can change)
      • Competencies are a combination of both
  • Being labeled a “Hi-Po” (high potential) in an organization:  “It’s made up, not a thing.  Toxic because it presumes that some human brains can’t/won’t grow.”
    • “There is no point in having the ‘hi-po’ conversation.  In talent reviews, ask for each person… How will they grow best?  Don’t use a 9 box grid.”
    • “Replace potential for momentum.”
  • “Work life balance is a very weird aspiration.  It’s very hard to do it perfectly.”
    • “Balance is a way of being stationary.  It’s not a good way to move through life.”
    • “We shouldn’t tell people to do this.  Health is motion, finding love, finding red threads.”
    • “It draws you in.  You should move through life.  Draw strength from the movement.”
  • “If a leader has no followers, they’re not a leader.” — “Follow-ship is the thing.”
  • “We all have fears for the future.  Find a leader that can see around the corner, we’re drawn to that.”
  • “Be a free thinking leader.”
  • Use the “Get To Know You Document
  • Why joining The Learning Leader Circle is a good idea

“If you want a great party, invite great people.”

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