David Goldsmith: Part 2 of an interview by Bob Morris

Posted on: February 20th, 2013 by bobmorris

GoldsmithDavid Goldsmith is a consultant, advisor, speaker, telecast host and author. He is the President of Goldsmith Organization and holds an MBA from Syracuse University. Through his work with leaders from around the globe, David is the developer of the Enterprise Thinking model, a holistic approach to leadership and management based on the activities and tools that all decision makers need to solve challenges and create opportunities. He had taught this course at NYU SPCS as faculty for 12 years.

His expertise and advice are sought by leaders and managers worldwide, in businesses of all sizes, nonprofits and associations, and organizations including the military, government and education.

David was named by Successful Meetings magazine as one of the Top 26 Hottest Speakers in the speaking industry. He received NYU’s SPCS Excellence in Teaching award for developing and teaching two core courses, and his history of business success earned him The Citizens Foundation of Central New York’s Entrepreneur of the Year Award and the Central New York 40 under 40 Leadership Award.

He serves on the national board of directors of the Institute of Management Consultants and hosts the organization’s telecast series, Consultapalooza. David is also the founder and telecast host of the New York State Chapter of the National Speakers’ Association. In addition to authoring more than 500 published articles, he is a regular columnist for several organizations and publications. His book, Paid to THINK: A Leader’s Toolkit for Redefining Your Future, was published by BenBella Books (October 23, 2012).David resides in Manlius, NY with his wife and two sons.

Here is Part 2 of my interview of him.

To read Part 1, please click here.

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Morris: When and why did you decide to write Paid to THINK?

Goldsmith: I never set out to write a book. I originally just sought answers about how I could personally be a better leader within my own businesses. I had been noting concepts and observations for several years, and in late 1999 and early 2000, I basically dumped my mental contents into what became a 72,000-word document written over the course of a couple of weeks.  In the ensuing years, I conducted more than 1800 interviews with leaders and combined my findings there with this information, expanding on these concepts and ultimately formulating what is now known as Enterprise Thinking, my approach to leadership and management.

Along with that approach, I developed tools and shared them with other people who not only gained rapid value from the material, but who also suggested that I compile the “advice” into a book. I secured a book deal, and although the book you see today took three solid years of active writing and rewriting—from 2009 to 2012—to be completed in its entirety, the content in Paid to THINK evolved over a 12 year period.  Despite the challenges of dealing with the publishing industry, I’m glad that I did it.

Morris: Were there any head-snapping revelations while writing it?

Goldsmith: Yes. I encountered many surprising revelations as I wrote certain chapters, particularly revelations related to the disconnection between perceptions/beliefs and reality. For example, the chapter on global awareness, which was challenging enough to write, was made more so due to leaders’ lack of expertise in this area. I found that leaders talk about helping their people to “become global” and that more of us should be “thinking global,” yet, when I asked executives around the world how they were doing it, they would say, “I put people in countries.” To me, I instantly saw a discrepancy between intention and execution, because I know people who’ve travelled all over the world but who are no more “global” than if they had stayed home; simply placing themselves in various geographic locations rarely (if ever) has expanded their thinking beyond their original “local” mindsets.

Morris: To what extent, if any, does the book in final form differ significantly from what you originally envisioned?

Goldsmith: I originally envisioned a simple book like you see on most bookstore shelves, that people could read, enjoy, and get some value. Although I think we achieved that, as I look back on the project, I see that the complexity and layers of the content itself made the process of achieving the final product very challenging. What I mean is that we had to take an incredible amount of raw material that existed at a very high level of thinking and convert it into a very reader-friendly format that was understandable, globally universal, and easily applicable. Also, the book is larger than I had anticipated, and believe it or not, there was just as much content left on the cutting room floor as there is within the pages of the book, but that in no way implies that we’ve left any of the meat out of it.

Once the book really came together and we were able to see just how much material there was for the reader, I was a bit concerned that the size of the book might intimidate readers, but instead, people are saying that it is more enjoyable, easier to read, and more motivating than they had anticipated. I did not originally envision a book that would be written in the first person, but several rewrites in, we found that speaking directly to the readers was more “me” and would ultimately serve the readers better. So when readers are saying that they feel that they’re engaged in a dialog with me as they read the book, I’m happy we made that choice, because it makes the learning process easier for them.

Morris: What would you say are the defining characteristics of Enterprise Thinking?

Goldsmith: There are three, they’re all represented diagrammatically, and they are all a departure from the ways in which we have traditionally viewed and learned about leadership to date.

o  The first is the Enterprise Thinking circle, divided into four parts that represent the four categories of activities: Strategizing, Learning, Performing, and Forecasting. All twelve leadership activities fall within one of these categories.

o The second is the cyclone located in the center of the four categories; the openness of the circle’s lines and the positioning of the cyclone represent the interconnectivity and interplay of the four categories, meaning that in actuality, the activities of leadership are unsiloed. Until now, leadership has been taught as a series of unrelated topics—finance, marketing, management, etc.—but that’s not how leadership plays out in the real world.

o  The third is called the 7Crosses of ET. This characteristic is significant, because my research has shown that leadership challenges are universal. Therefore, each and every activity and tool must be universally applicable. The 7Crosses represent the universality of Enterprise Thinking: 1) Cross functional; 2) Cross level; 3) Cross industry; 4) Cross sector; 5) Cross culture; 6) Cross time; and 7) Cross life.

Morris: What makes each of these 7Crosses so essential? Let’s begin with cross functional?

Goldsmith: In essence, the 7Crosses were my checklist to ensure universality. The activities had to be universal. The instructions for performing the activities had to be universal. And the tools had to be universal in their application as well as be able to provide universal solutions.

o  By Cross functional, I am displaying to leaders who want to improve themselves and who wish to use ET to build leadership within their organizations that ET can be utilized by people who hold positions across any function within organizations, whether they’re in HR, engineering, logistics, and so on.

o Explaining that ET is also Cross level assures leaders from the executive suite to the front line that they can use ET to solve challenges and create opportunities: CEOs, VPs, mid-level managers, directors, and front-line managers alike.

o Cross industry and Cross sector are eye opening concepts for many people, because a high percentage of leaders unwittingly apply this “we-versus-them” mentality—of comparing their industries and sectors to others—equally and incorrectly to their functions as leaders. However, my research has revealed that leadership is the same across industries and sectors differentiated only by industry- or sector-specific vocabulary.

o  One of the most exciting of the 7Crosses for me is that of Cross culture, perhaps because it is so initially counter-intuitive for most people. I’ve had the good fortune of working with leaders around the world, and it fascinates me that despite differing cultural norms, resources, and geographies, ET’s activities and tools are universally beneficial for leaders everywhere.

o Cross time: In chapter 6, I address the activity of leveraging technology, more specifically, how technology has been and will continue to be used to solve a challenge like the one of doing more with less. Whether one has been a leader in the time of Andrew Carnegie or now in the time of Bill Gates, the activities of leading are the same. Only now, Enterprise Thinking outlines those activities specifically and provides the tools to do them optimally.

o Once readers learn about ET and how to apply it to their roles as leaders, they begin to see ET everywhere—in restaurants, houses of worship, traffic, sporting events, etc. It’s at that point that they have that aha moment when they realize that ET is also Cross life, and that one can perform ET activities or draw upon their ET tools to achieve results both personally and professionally.

Morris: You urge adoption of a new perspective or an expansion of an old one throughout the book. Which new or expanded viewpoint seems to be the most difficult to develop and why?

Goldsmith: When it comes to adopting new perspectives or expanding on old ones, I think that it’s most difficult for someone to be willing to let go of yesterday…yesterday’s beliefs. All of us, myself included, aren’t always aware that the beliefs we hold as truths are simply opinions or assumptions, and that these perspectives might be wrong, hindering, or both. So I wouldn’t necessarily name any single perspective from Paid to THINK as the most difficult, rather, I would say that this challenge of letting go applies to all of them. What we’ve done in the book is to begin the transformative process in chapter 2, appropriately titled Rethinking, and then revisit and connect various expanded perspectives in helpful ways throughout the entire book.

Morris: What are the three components to developing plans?

Goldsmith: The three components to developing plans are 1) creating strategy, 2) transforming with projects, and 3) managing priorities. Although at first glance they may seem unrelated, in reality, each plays an important role in developing excellent plans that are both executed successfully and that advance organizations forward. The “creating strategy” component forces the leader to take the big-picture view into account in order to create strategies that are best for the overall organization. The “transforming with projects” component ensures that leaders select projects for positively transforming their organizations and keeping them strong in their marketplace. And finally, the “managing priorities” component gives leaders the tools and knowhow to schedule essential activities into the daily calendars so that leaders are making sure that strategy/strategies and projects are moving forward each and every day.

Morris: What is redefining? What are its major benefits?

Goldsmith: Redefining is a stepped thinking tool that helps people to uncover their true challenges by taking the user through a series of questions and scrubbing criteria. At the end of the process, a person can now be assured that they are addressing an actual challenge—versus imposters like assumptions, opinions, or even solutions—because the user leaves the process with a leading question that begins with, “What would it take to….?” The major benefits of Redefining are that you reduce/eliminate wasted time, energy, and resources because the focus is clearly placed on solutions to actual challenges. It also places one’s thinking on forward movement toward answers instead of useless rear-view thinking that typically leads to blame, emotionally-distractive activity, and so on. Most importantly, once the true and prioritized challenge becomes reworded into the what-would-it-take (WWIT®) format, a leader can use that statement to create targeted and powerful strategies and plans. Redefining is a reliable and incredibly powerful tool.

Morris: What is a Project Evaluation Chart? What specifically can it help to achieve?

Goldsmith: Okay, let’s start with this concept first: projects are the building blocks of organizations. If you were to break down what a project is, you would see that it is a bundle of intentionally-related tasks that are intended to achieve a specific return for the organization. Considering the fact that every project potentially impacts an organization so heavily, leaders need to select every project carefully and correctly so that resources are expended where they will achieve the highest return—whether that “return” is monetary or means something else, such as “lives saved” or “students graduated” for the organization. Having said that, the Project Evaluation Chart is an instrument that enables leaders to list their potential project selections, assess each project’s viability and ROI,  and compare all the projects in order to make the very best selection at a given time. People who have used this tool say that they have never looked at their options in this way before, and all of them have said that once they’ve used the Project Evaluation Chart, they couldn’t imagine selecting projects any other way in the future. One warning, however! Do not change the column headings or add or delete headings, because every time someone tries to do so, the tool ends up failing on them.

Morris: What is a better way to select ideas for development and why specifically is it better?

Goldsmith: I believe you’re referring to the ET Development Funnel, a tool that is presented to readers in chapter 4, the chapter on new product and service development. In this chapter, we’ve taken a tool from the marketing discipline, and we’ve modified it so that it can be used by leaders as a universal tool for selecting their best ideas to develop into end results whether their ideas are intended to one day result in new products and services, new operational improvements, new allies, new technologies, and so on.  The tool is comprised of three blocks of activities: Ideation, Elimination, and Development, and the actual selection process occurs in the Ideation activity block, where users are encouraged to collect a greater number of options than they typically would using various methods, such as an idea bank that is either manual or digital, or through different types of techniques that are provided in this and later chapters of the book.

The biggest mistakes most leaders make when it comes to selecting ideas are 1) they stop collecting ideas too soon, therefore, 2) they collect too few ideas, and/or 3) never really even consider their best ideas before they select a final one to develop. What the ET Development Funnel empowers leaders to do is to get their organizations off to their best start so that assets are being allocated to winning ideas, which surprisingly, is often the downfall of many projects; too many mediocre or bad ideas are the starting basis for too many projects/products/services/improvements that are put in motion, leading to disappointing (and sometimes disastrous) results.

Morris: What is the leverager’s dilemma? Why is it significant?

Goldsmith: Any time a leader seeks to use technology to solve challenges, create opportunities, and improve efficiencies, the threat of displacing workers and eliminating jobs is present. Yet, on the flipside, if leaders don’t keep pace with technology, their organizations lose their competitive advantages and suffer. So the dilemma for the leader is to walk that fine line of using technology for good but to also balance or minimize the cons of leveraging technology, too. Many leaders feel pulled in both directions; “I care about my people” but “I have to protect the organization,” too.

Morris: What are the Five ET Learning Triangles? How is each unique?

Goldsmith: I’ve come to realize that too many leaders try to solve complex challenges without enough information at their disposal to do so. It’s not a criticism, just an observation, and I actually made the realization when I was  experiencing the same mis-perception. It’s not a criticism, just an observation, and I actually made the realization when I was doing the same thing. First and foremost, leaders need to distinguish between awareness-level information which is valuable and knowledge-level information which is also valuable but provides leaders with a greater depth of understanding. Sometimes, awareness-level thinking is enough to do the job, but at times when it isn’t, you could be wasting time, assets, and energy on an endeavor that won’t pan out the way you want. The Five ET Learning Triangles are five criteria that help leaders to distinguish which type of information they have—awareness or knowledge—and what, if any changes they need to make in order to arm themselves with the appropriate level of understanding.

The Five ET Learning Triangles are: 1) Time Spent, with more time spent acquiring knowledge than awareness on any particular topic; 2) Effort Needed, with more effort needed acquiring knowledge than awareness; 3) Number of Individuals, with more people having an awareness-level understanding of a topic than those with a knowledge-level of it; 4) Integration Needed, where the depth of information is proportional to one’s ability to integrate information from various sources; and 5) Usable Information, which means that because awareness is broad based and knowledge is concentrated and deep, the former is more abundant and has the potential to be used in more circumstances, whereas the latter offers the opposite.

Morris: Please explain the connection between global awareness and career growth.

Goldsmith: That’s a very big question. We define global awareness (within this book) much differently than most of the written copy that you’ll read today. When people think about global awareness, they’re typically thinking about the world but within a smaller scope than what is outlined here. In Paid to THINK, global awareness includes everything in our world, because everything from the weather to diseases to trends in politics affects us. So, we’re not just talking about understanding diversity, although that is certainly an important part of being global, we’re broadening the scope to include humans and living creatures, physical environments, governances or technologies, etc. The value of having this greater scope is that it opens your eyes and your thinking to greater options when you’re pressed to address challenges. Certainly, when you have greater potential to solve challenges and turn ideas into realities, your career is going to benefit, because it improves your ability to make better decisions.

Morris: What are the defining characteristics of the typical approach to competitive intelligence?

Goldsmith: The typical approach is focused on the collection of data. What’s not done is there’s not enough emphasis on processing that in to usable knowledge. What we’ve delivered is a tool called the ET Competitive Intelligence Model that helps leaders and organizations to move beyond collection and to process data and information into usable decision-making aids.

Morris: Which of the six steps of the ET Competitive Intelligence Process seems to be the most difficult to complete? Why?

Goldsmith: Let’s start by outlining what the six are: 1) Strategize, 2) Collect data, 3) Assemble information, 4) Create knowledge, 5) Review “products” of CI work, and 6) Strategize for the organization. I would say that determining the “most difficult” is situational, but if I had to select one, I guess it would be step four, Create knowledge, because it involves taking data and coming up with new conclusions that you can use in your strategizing.  However, this tool is designed so that you should be able to use it, fill in any gaps that currently exist within your CI process (if you even have one at this time), and deliver huge returns to your organization.

Morris: Please explain the meaning and significance of chapter 10’s title,  “Leading the Charge.”

Goldsmith: Coming up with the title of this chapter was a little tricky, because what I didn’t want to do was distinguish this chapter as the “leadership” chapter of the book. After all, the entire book is about leadership, and this chapter features one of the twelve activities of leadership. Having said that, “Leading the Charge” is the one chapter that addresses the leader on a more personal level: what’s happening personally that influences decision making, what factors hinder or foster progress, and so on. I think the title is appropriate, however, in addressing a trend away from some of the strengths that were present in historical leadership, the image of the good leader on his white horse, the supportive leader who went to the battlefield with his troops and guided them along the way, and contrasting that historical leader from the one who emerged when the discipline of “management” emerged; over the years, maybe turn of the 19th century, we’ve seen more and more leaders sitting in the back, in an office.In this chapter, I wanted to bring leaders back into more active play by showing them how to both identify and improve upon their current weaknesses and strengths, too, so that they can be great leaders, regardless of their personal aspirations, personalities, and leadership styles.

Morris: How best to empower others and what is the empowering process? Why is it so effective?

Goldsmith: The best way to empower others is not to simply hand over the reins to them and say, “Here, I believe in you, so you can definitely do this!” While encouragement is good, you wouldn’t throw the keys to your car to your teenager, tell them you believe in them, and let them drive off without proper preparation. But in reality, that’s the extent of support that well-meaning leaders often give to their people, when, in fact, their people need more from them initially than that. So the ET Empowering Process is a stepped process tool that acts as a checklist for leaders to ensure that before they pass off authority, responsibility, projects and so forth onto others, the people they’re empowering have a complete package that will foster and support their success.

There are four steps to the ET Empowering Process: 1) Develop Plans so that every project and asset allocation is supporting the overall desired outcomes and strategies of the organization, 2) Build the Package, meaning provide your people with the systems and structure, the roadmaps, equipment, and other “tools” they need to be successful, 3) Transfer the Power, which involves handing over the responsibility and road map to the right people, and 4) Monitor Progress and Adjust the Process, a step in which you act in an advisory role and make yourself available in ways that are appropriate for their skill levels and needs. In the end, projects are done on time and within budget. Staffers are happier. People communicate better. Overall, leaders who use this tool find that they get the results they want, the results that their organizations need.

Morris: For those who have not as yet read Paid to THINK, what is the “gold standard of innovation”? Please explain.

Goldsmith: The gold standard … let’s go back a little bit further. Innovation is about everything you do. We’re born creative and over the early years of life, our own societies remove our ability to think innovatively. We’re put into structures where we’re told not to color outside the lines, and we’re rewarded for following instructions. That’s when you’re given the gold star for following the teacher’s “rules,” like coloring inside the lines. Then, you’re praised. For the gestation, the time that it takes to grow a young adult in the world today, by the time they’re 18, 19, 20 years old, the educational system has said we’re helping them to think. What they’ve done is they’ve limited their ability to think especially be innovative. In the first day they’re on their job especially if they’re in the leadership or management position, they’re told be innovative. Be creative. What ET does and what this chapter on innovating everywhere does is show how to create a culture of innovation.

The gold standard of innovation that’s used in this book is Israel. Israel is a very small country. It has a population of just seven million people. Yet it has bred more Nobel Prize winners than almost any other culture in the world behind the US. They have mandatory military service which exposes people to leadership training at a very young age. So that they’re seeing what it’s like to lead in a certain type of process all the way up until they’re 45 years old. They have to in a reserve.  They also have an R&D funding that helps to generate innovation. They’re a melting pot where you’ll find people from over 70 countries there. This small little place in the world is an innovation hot bed. You can’t look around your office, your home and not in one way, shape or form be connected to Israel. And so, if you want the Gold Standard of Innovation, build a culture of innovation the way that the Israelis have.

Morris: What do you mean by selling in so far as redefining one’s future is concerned?

Goldsmith: This chapter is called “Selling Continuously,” and it is intended to both open the leader’s eyes to how selling as a leader is much different and much more comprehensive than what we consider typical selling (of products and services) to be. Referring back to one of your earlier questions, one of the “head-snapping revelations” for me was how little information is out there about leaders having to sell. Yes, we talk about persuasion. We talk about negotiations. But still, typically, “selling” is about the selling of products and services. In reality, leadership selling is about selling one’s ideas, credibility, initiatives, and so on to other people, all day, and every day. They sell to stakeholders—customers, vendors, lenders, staffers, citizens, investors, etc.—their families, “Honey, I have to work this weekend, but the good news is, it means my chances of getting the promotion are even greater,” and to just about everyone connected to their careers and their organizations. Shockingly, most leaders have never taken a sales course, and it seems that no one is helping them to sell themselves better, despite the leadership selling process being a much more complex sale than any sale a salesperson will ever have to face.

A salesperson typically has to face an environment with a product or service or multiple products or services. That you think about a leader, they have to sell above, below. They have to sell to legal, to their … to the leader at the next table. They have to sell to the employees that they hired, the employees that they fire, to the media. There’s a plethora of different angles that the leader is constantly being pushed upon. In this chapter, what I deliver to them or we deliver is a methodology to look at how to address sales. I often … I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said to people, you spend six months working on a project. Now, you’re going to spend a day figuring out how to sell it? The reality is that leadership is an ongoing selling activity. If leaders really want to improve their performance, the tools in this chapter will help them do that.

Morris: What are the Cornerstones for Engaging Others?

Goldsmith: There are four and each cornerstone is a type of skill that helps leaders to sell themselves, their ideas, and their organizations. The Cornerstones are: 1) behaviors, 2) oratory skills, 3) writing skills, and 4) interpersonal skills. In Paid to THINK, I provide readers with ways in which they can improve their selling skills within each Cornerstone category.

Morris: What do you mean by “engaging others?”

Goldsmith: “Engaging others” is an umbrella term for gaining buy in, getting cooperation, winning over others, etc. Let me give you a story to show where this came from. I was working with a client who said, “I read everything out there. Nothing is working for me. How would you help me to engage with others in the office?” This individual was having challenges with getting buy in, with getting some of the things performed that he’d like. He just had a variety of challenges. I went home that night, and I said, “How would I do this? How would I address this challenge? What would I need?” I started to make a list of the things that I would do. I broke them up into categories, then into files, and then separated them out. I ended finding that there were four different skills you employ to engage others, to get them to participate in whatever you’re trying to achieve.

I walked into the office. I said to the individual. I have four. Can you tell me which one you think is more important or more valuable? I started off. I said the first one is behavior. The second one is auditory. The third one is written. The fourth one is interpersonal. I explained each one to him. I said, “Which one do you think?” He said, “Auditory.” Because to be able to express yourself, everybody talks about being able to execute and talk and communicate is the best way. I said no. The first one and the strongest one to start with is behavioral. If you have in the past been successful, that’s part of behavioral. If you show up on time or you play the game that you don’t show up on time so you get certain reactions, that’s behavioral. If you have the ability to step outside of your comfort zone, that’s behavioral. The Cornerstones are different approaches that leaders can take by skill category.

Morris: What are Forecasting Triggers?

Goldsmith: Forecasting Triggers comprise a list of words that leaders and their staffers can refer to for jumpstarting the thinking process relative to forecasting the future. Just as a trigger on a gun initiates the process of ejecting a bullet, a Forecasting Trigger initiates the process of eliciting forecasts for the future. It’s easy to say, “Let’s do some forecasting,” but it’s difficult to actually do it. Where do you begin? How do you get people to see into the future? A forecasting trigger is a word that gets an individual or group of individuals to start thinking in these terms. Without even knowing what business the reader who’s reading this is in.

If I said to you think about what’s going to happen in the future, in five years from now. I said to you let’s talk about Nano medicine. Immediately your mind is going to start racing. What would Nano medicine be like? What does it mean? How would it impact people? Forecasting Triggers, which include words like transportation, taxation, automation, weather, fashion, wealth, bio growth, and feminism get people to think the future and how various factors are likely to affect their organization. The research and conclusions resulting from Forecasting Triggers can then be used by leaders to strategize and forecast.

Morris: Of the Five Stages of Becoming an Enterprise Thinker, which seems to be the most difficult to complete? Why?

Goldsmith: I don’t believe that any one of the Five Stages of Becoming an Enterprise Thinker is more difficult to complete than another. Whether you’re learning, applying, adopting, integrating or becoming, you will find that your journey is easier at some times and more challenging at others, and the journey varies from one individual to another and for one individual from one day, month, or year to the next. Think about the movie, The Matrix. It took a very long time for the main character to become the person that he needed to be, and he had to go through a lot to get there.

What typically happens to people, regardless of whether they’re on board from the beginning or a naysayer who eventually takes to Enterprise Thinking, is that they have times where they will struggle and then have breakthroughs where they find themselves saying, “Oh, wow, I see ET everywhere; I can’t not see it, now.” Becoming an Enterprise Thinker takes time, and how much time depends on the person and their circumstances. That’s why you’ll hear that some people will read parts of this book—or all of it—several times, because each time they read it, they apply new experiences and paradigm shifts to the material and “see” something entirely new and with greater depth than they initially did.

Morris: Let’s now turn to Page 594. On that page you provide a list of Indicators of ET Proficiency. Which of them is the most significant to those who aspire to become an ET thinker? Why?

Goldsmith: Let me jump to 50,000 feet from here to answer this question much differently. The two charts—Positive and Negative Symptoms—were developed as gauges to measure progress. It’s not always easy to identify when you’re on the right path or if you’ve veered off that path, and so I wanted leaders to have tools on hand that helped them benchmark their progress. I have found some leaders to be a little cocky and believe they are doing better than they actually are and other leaders to feel insecure about their progress when, in reality, they’re doing quite well. So the Indicators of ET Proficiency should help people of both extremes and anyone who falls in between.

Morris: Let’s say the CEO has read and then hopefully reread Paid to Think and wants to improve the quality of decision-making at all levels and in all areas of operation. Where would you suggest he or she begins?

Goldsmith: Great question. Let’s just assume that the leader has read the book once. Over the course of that first read through, if he or she is at least attempting to adopt new perspectives and to use some of the tools, they will see changes in their own performance and will see improvements to their organization. I recommend that you read the Introduction and the first two chapters of Paid to THINK. Then, if you want to skip around to the various chapters depending on what you believe are your most pressing challenges, have at it. But you really need the foundation of the Introduction and Chapters 1 and 2 to get off to the right start.

The important idea that I want readers to understand is that in order to effect organizational-wide change, they must be willing to effect change within themselves first. If you’ve been on a plane and you’ve heard the instruction for utilizing an oxygen mask as directed to parents traveling with children, flight attendants will always say, “Administer the oxygen to yourself first, then administer it to your child.” You can’t help others if you aren’t in a position of strength to start.

Morris: What additional methods would you suggest?

Goldsmith: Once you get comfortable with Enterprise Thinking, then you can use it to develop leadership skills in others. The Paid to THINK Singles are individual chapters that leaders can buy and distribute to staffers as a cost-effective, efficient way of delving into different ET activities according to the needs of their organizations. The tools themselves are presented and described in a way that makes them easy to understand and apply regardless of experience levels, management levels, geographies and cultures, industries and sectors, and so on. I recommend that leaders use the tools as instructed and perform the activities consistently so that as each month passes, people understand the interconnectivity of ET and can use it to continually improve themselves, their careers, their organizations, and their lives. That’s what is meant by the words, “Achieve More, Earn More, Live More.” Essentially, think better and you will live better.

Morris: For more than 25 years, it’s been my great pleasure as well as privilege to work closely with the owners and CEOs of hundreds of small companies: those with $20 million or less in annual sales. In your opinion, of all the material you’ve provide in Paid to THINK, which do you think will be of the greatest value to leaders in small companies? Please explain.

Goldsmith: Remember the 7Crosses of ET? The material will be of equal value to leaders of businesses, nonprofits, and organizations related to government, education, and the military; there is no distinction for businesses, and therefore, no distinction for small businesses, either. Enterprise Thinking is a universal approach to leadership and management, and its tools and activities are universal as well. Having said that, in some small organizations, leaders have to wear many hats, and as a result, they must juggle thinking-related responsibilities with task-related responsibilities, so if there is any distinction, then I guess it would be that the book will teach and/or remind these leaders to allocate sufficient time to think, because the better the thinking that goes into any endeavor before one takes action, the more on course the ship will be to reach its intended destination.  Yet again, this is a universal truth for every organization.

*     *     *

David cordially invites you to check out these websites:

MetaMatrix Consulting Group home page

His Amazon page

Amazon Paid to THINK page

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