Saturday, August 15, 2015

Review of "Triggers" by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter - Becoming the Person You Want To Be

With "Triggers - Creating Behavior That Lasts - Becoming The Person You Want To Be," author Marshall Goldsmith draws from many years experience as an executive coach to top leaders around the world. This book builds on a foundation laid in his earlier work, "What Got You Here Won't Get You There." In this book, Mr. Goldsmith examines the environmental and psychological triggers that often derail us in our attempt to live a life that is effective and fulfilling.

The opening chapters are spent discussing why behavioral change in adults is so difficult to achieve, then looks at the most common triggers that keep us from living up to the promises that we make to ourselves and those we care about. Subsequent chapters offer practical advice and case studies to demonstrate how to avoid those triggers and to move ahead boldly and successfully with planned behavioral changes. I found particularly helpful the author's concept of The Wheel of Change: Creating, Preserving, Eliminating and Accepting.

  • 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. (Page 86)

I also appreciated the chapter entitled "The Power of Active Questions." Goldsmith credits his daughter with teaching him to use active, engaging questions as a way to monitor on a daily basis areas of performance. Instead of asking "How meaningful was your day?" an active, engaging formulation of the question would be: "Did you do your best to find meaning today?" The author has found this small, but powerful, nuanced change to be enormously impactful in his own life and those of his clients. (pp. 111-113)

Each person is encouraged to create his/her own menu of daily questions to which he gives himself/herself a numerical grade from 1-10, but the most commonly used include these six:

  • Did I do my best to set clear goals?
  • Did I do my best to make progress toward my goals?
  • Did I do my best to find meaning?
  • Did I do my best to be happy?
  • Did I do my best to build positive relationships?
  • Did I do my best to be fully engaged? (P. 224)

This book, written in collaboration with Mark Reiter, is one of the most practical and impactful books I have read in the past year. I am already making a list of friends and clients to whom I will recommend the book.



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