October 4th – Half-Day Symposium with Marshall Goldsmith

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Thank you to eveyone who attended the October 4th event, and to all of our members and volunteers who helped make it a success. We hope that you enjoyed Marshall’s energetic and informative presentation, and look forward to seeing you at future SLF-Carolinas events!

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Strategic Leadership Forum of the Carolinas and the McColl School of Business at Queen’s University of Charlotte are proud to present a half-day education symposium with world renowned thought-leader, Marshall Goldsmith, on Tuesday, October 4, beginning at 7:00 AM. Marshall brings a wealth of experience from his involvement in academia and executive leadership coaching, earning him the distinction of being ranked as one of the Wold’s Top 50 Business Thinkers, an honor shared with other notable individuals such as Bill Gates, Jack Welch, Steven Covey, Richard Branson and Steve Jobs.

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The event will include a peer-to-peer networking breakfast, immediately followed by Mr. Goldsmith’s keynote address on Leadership for the Future. Following his presentation, SLF-Carolinas will host an exclusive sponsors lunch and afternoon development workshop facilitated by Mr. Goldsmith. Space is limited to 200 participants, and will be held at the Hilton Center City in uptown Charlotte. This event is offered to SLF-Carolinas Members for a discounted cost, and includes breakfast and complimentary parking. A limited number of non-Member spaces will also be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

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Learn More about Marshall Goldsmith

Marshall Goldsmith (b. 1949) received his MBA from Indiana State University and his doctorate from UCLA. Between 1976 and 2000 he was assistant professor and associate dean in the business college of Loyola Marymount College. Since then he has been a professor at Alliant International College, as well as teaching in Dartmouth College’s Tuck Business School’s Executive Education Program.

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He is probably best known as an executive coach. He is a founder of Marshall Goldsmith Partners, a group of top-rank executive and management coaches. For Goldsmith, executive coaching does not consist of a one-off visit and inter-reaction, but a much longer-term commitment to work with an executive and his team, to find out about how that person is viewed and liaises with colleagues, and to giving worth-while feedback which can be built upon and folded into the on-going program of coaching. Behavior can rarely be changed at once, but incrementally. He believes in what he calls customized 360 degree feedback, based on material garnered from confidential reports, as well as peer assessment. It is important then for managers to engage in on-going feed-back with their colleagues. This leads to improvement and changes in negative behavior patterns, as well as a positive change in how they are viewed. He has worked closely as an executive coach with over eighty CEOs.

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Goldsmith has learned a lot through his executive coaching. This has been channeled into numerous books – over twenty. These include a series called, not surprisingly Secrets of a Leadership Coach.

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Perhaps his two most influential books are: The Leader of the Future co-edited with Frances Hesselbein and Richard Beckhard (1996), translated into 28 languages, and What Got You Here – Won’t Get You There (co-authored with Mark Reiten) (2007).

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He believes that management is about effective leadership. Outsiders, such as the executive coach, can make a very positive contribution. However, he stresses that success in coaching is never down to the quality of the coach, but rather to the people who are being coached, and their commitment to be open and learn. The executive coach is no more than a facilitator, someone who hopefully opens the floodgates to ideas and processes which are out there but for whatever reason are not being grasped.

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To be worthwhile to both parties, executive coaching should be about leadership development. In turn this must be kept as simple as possible. Executives already have enough on their plates without being saddled with a whole lot of complex and obtuse jargon. They should get clear and straightforward advice, not theory. There are lots of various theories out there, especially about how leaders can cope with a fluid business environment. These are very interesting for those who have the time to unpick them, but are useless in the far more challenging real world of business.

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He believes that a lot of executive leadership teaching is based on erroneous assumptions. Overall there is the belief that if managers and business leaders understand the various challenges facing them they will behave in a correct fashion and do the right thing. Yet Goldsmith sees that the problem isn’t one of managers understanding the practice of leadership but rather practicing their understanding of leadership. Sometimes this arises because leadership as a concept is taught in a complicated and theoretical way.

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In his most recent book Goldsmith returns to a theme which has coursed through much of his work: how success can lead to ambivalence. This is especially true in a business world which is in flux. Put simply, the things that made you successful cannot guarantee success in the future. What’s more, success can induce a business leader into a perilous comfort-zone. Changes in both personal and business behavior are uncomfortable. If a leader finds it difficult to alter behavior, it is very difficult, almost impossible, to change how others view you and respond.

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Goldsmith has earned many accolades during his career. Probably the most significant is that Alliant International University (where he still teaches) has re-named its graduate school of business and organizational psychology as the Marshall Goldsmith School of Management.