The Two-Minute Solution to Your Biggest Challenge

Takes two minutes, costs nothing and will make you better at almost anything. What is it?

Recently, I had the good fortune to meet Marshall Goldsmith, author of “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.” He is known worldwide as a leadership coach. Here are a few of the insights he shared:

1. His famous book was the 23rd one he published. He has now published 35.

2. Employee engagement is at an all-time low. He borrows his approach from JFK’s famous quote, and recommends that you focus not on what the company can do to engage you but what you can do to engage yourself.

3. He learned from Alan Mulally, recent CEO of Ford Motor Co., that “Pick the right customer, you win” and “If they do not care, don’t waste your time.”

4. Our biggest challenge is “The Dream.”

The Dream: “Soon, life will not be crazy, and I can do the things I want to do.”

About 82 percent of us believe we are in the top 20 percent, and 98 percent of us believe we are in the top 50 percent. It is rare to have the wisdom to objectively evaluate our own behavior and the courage to monitor our behavior.

5. The solution: The Checklist Manifesto

Create a checklist of important active behavioral questions that are important to you. Like:

  • How many times today did you try to prove you were right when it was not worth it?
  • How many minutes did you walk?
  • Did you say something nice to your spouse?
  • Did you make an employee feel valued today?
  • Did you make a sales call?

Every day, answer each question yes or no. Goldsmith uses an accountability partner to call him at a standing time each day to review the questions.

According to Goldsmith, this takes two minutes, costs nothing and will make you better at almost anything. Yet half will quit within two weeks because it is easy to understand and hard to do.

Which half will you be?