Playing Favorites By Marshall Goldsmith There’s a reason I devote...
By Marshall Goldsmith
As a 10-year board member of the Peter Drucker Foundation, I had many opportunities to listen to Peter Drucker, the world’s authority on management. During this time, Peter taught me some very important lessons about life and leadership.
One of the greatest lessons he taught me is this: “We spend a lot of time helping leaders learn what to do. We do not spend enough time teaching leaders what to stop. Half of the leaders I have met don’t need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop.”
There are a lot of good reasons for this. Probably most prominent is the fact that leaders and organizations focus on demonstrating commitment to positive action to maintain forward momentum. For instance, using the phrase, “We must begin to listen more attentively” rather than focusing on what we can stop, “Playing with our iPhones while others are talking.” Likewise, the recognition and reward systems in most organizations are geared to acknowledge doing something. For instance, we get credit for doing something good. We rarely get credit for ceasing to do something bad.
The first step is to identify what behavior to stop. In my book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, I discuss the 20 bad habits of leaders. Everyone I have met has exhibited one or more of these behaviors, including me! Review the list. Do you identify with any of these bad habits? If you are like the majority of people, the answer is yes, and you are ready to start using “What to Stop.”
After reviewing this list, for those of you who still aren’t sure what to stop, there is one habit that I’ve seen take precedence over all of the others. You may be part of the majority of people who partake of this bad habit. What is the number one problem of the successful executives I’ve coached over the years? It is Winning Too Much.