Leadership-based thoughts on economic and energy growth and limits

April 26, 2012 by Joshua
in Awareness, Blog, Leadership, Nature

My closing paragraphs on yesterday’s post, anticipating people’s reaction, got me thinking about Marshall Goldsmith, one of today’s top business thinkers (and a friend). I wrote the following:

By now, many of you are probably thinking

  • “we’ve solved all the problems so far, we’ll solve the ones to come”
  • “since before Malthus scientists project doomsday and they never happen, we can ignore this” or
  • “this won’t affect me”

If so, do the math. Read his blog. At least understand the situation. If he’s wrong, show him how. Show me too. I’d love to find out he’s wrong. As a scientist, he (and I) would love someone to show him (and me) wrong.

That’s how we learn. I hope you’re open to the same.

Now before looking at Marshall’s words and their relevance, look at his accolades (from the Wikipedia page on him):

  • The Times – 15 Greatest Business Thinkers in the World
  • BusinessWeek – 50 Great Leaders in America
  • Wall Street Journal – Top Ten Executive Educators
  • Forbes – Five Most-Respected Executive Coaches
  • Leadership Excellence – Top 5 Leadership Thinkers
  • The Economic Times (India) – Top CEO Coaches of America
  • Economist (United Kingdom) – Most Credible Executive Advisors in the New Era of Business
  • Fast Company – America’s Preeminent Executive Coach

Impressive! I’m inclined to listen to him, aren’t you?

Why did I think of Marshall? Because of the title of his book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. If you thought any of the three thoughts bulleted above, you may want to consider the words one of the world’s preeminent leadership thinkers considered so valuable, he titled his book with them: What got you here won’t get you there.

Looking deeper, to the content of his book, he lists beliefs of a success delusion that hold many of us back as leaders and contributors.  Could one of them

Having a higher opinion of our (my) professional skills and our (my) standing among our (my) peers

be holding us back as a culture on our increased energy use? The Do The Math blog suggests so. I tend to agree.

Successful people stagnate when they think what got them here will get them there. Marshall has worked with the world’s most successful leaders. He knows. He teaches them how to move past their problems. It seems to me we as a society and as individuals could learn from him.

He lists counterproductive behaviors many of us do that lead to sub-optimal performance. Several seem relevant to how we respond to discussions on the economy and environment.

  • Needing to win at all costs [instead of listening and considering other perspectives]
  • Overusing “No,” “But” or “However.” [instead of listening and considering other perspectives]
  • Needing to show people we (I) are (am) smarter than they think we (I) are (am.) [instead of learning from others]
  • Inability to take responsibility for our (my) actions. [instead of blaming others or denying their consequences]
  • Not listening.
  • Needing to attack the innocent, even though they are usually only trying to help us (me).
  • Needing to blame anyone but ourselves (me).
  • Excessively needing to be “me.” [instead of considering changing, learning, and growing, in this case to someone who thinks of how they affect the environment instead of believes they can dominate it]

Leaders take responsibility for addressing and solving problems. How else can you solve something besides recognizing it?

If you thought any of the thoughts at the top of this page, consider that one of the world’s top leadership thinkers and coaches named a book with the words that counter your reaction: What got you here won’t get you there.

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