Tuesday, June 28, 2011

MOJO - Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter

Another interesting book by renowned executive coach Marshall Goldsmith, the author of 'What Got You Here Won't Take You There'. I liked the first book which was gifted to me by Shobha and since I liked it, she gifted me the second book as well. It deals with a subject I am really curious and passionate about - being 'in the zone' or in his words 'Mojo'. Apparently the word mojo referred to a folk belief in the supernatural powers of a voodoo charm. Marshall defines it as follows - Mojo is that positive spirit toward what we are doing now that starts from the inside and radiates to the outside.

He says there are four ingredients that make up a great mojo - sense of your identity, your achievement, your reputation and acceptance. Who are you, What have you done, What do others think of you and Are you at peace. There are ways to measure one's mojo (I'd much rather feel it) and he also touches upon the mojo paradox which is interesting - our default response in life is not to experience happiness and meaning! He also adds another which says our default response is to experience inertia. Marshall then takes you through chapters on how we perceive our identity, our achievement, our reputation and our acceptance. And then he gives a mojo tool kit that one can use to get an improved mojo.

These tools are built into the four building blocks.

Identity tools - (establishing criteria that matter to you, finding out where you 'live' in a mojo matrix developed by Marshall, being an optimist always and looking at a life if you take away that 'one' thing).
Achievement tools - (rebuilding one brick at a time, living your mission, swimming in the blue water - or finding new places, new avenues to build a reputation away from an already crowded place)
Reputation tools - (when to stay and when to go, handling exits, measuring reputation, reducing boasting and criticizing when at work or outside - apparently 65% of time is wasted in this useless exercise)
Acceptance tools - (Influencing up and down - accepting all roles as they are, naming things and nailing them, giving friends a lifetime pass)

One of the most important things that I learnt from Marshall's books is that self-help or coaching may not really make any difference if one does not tackle changes that are required, aggressively. One must be aware that one needs help on a daily basis and this is where a wonderful thing he does interests me. He has hired his good friend Jim Moore, as a coach. All Moore does is call Marshall everyday and ask a list of predetermined questions, simple ones, relating to his exercise, food, drink, rest, personal life. professional life. The idea is that when monitored, one feels a sense of obligation to do what one has promised to do. I am planning to implement this straightaway. Maybe, I am thinking, even put up things that are important to me on this blog where I know some eyes are watching. That itself might push me to do things I don't.

I liked the stuff Marshall has said in the book. But I am not too sure if such a metric based process can build mojo. I would imagine that one more angle - that of one's feelings, one's expectations, one's spiritual side - might need to be examined a bit more closely to get that mojo which I feel is a state of complete honesty, of love, of blanking out all walls between oneself and the outside. But despite my minor reservations which are more for the sake of debate, there is much for the executive to learn from the book.

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