“Just Listen” by Mark Goulston

The first make-or-break step in persuading anyone to do anything is getting them to hear you out. Whether the person is a harried colleague, a stress-out client, or an insecure spouse, things will go from bad to worse if you can’t break through emotional barricades. Drawing on his experience as a psychiatrist, business consultant, and coach, and backed by the latest scientific research, author Mark Goulston, M.D. shares simple yet powerful techniques readers can use to really get through to people. Getting through is a fine art, but a critical one.   With the help of this groundbreaking book, you will be able to turn the “impossible” and “unreachable” people in your lives into allies, devoted customers, loyal colleagues, and lifetime friends.   Mark Goulston, a Hand & Associate consultant, trained as a clinical psychiatrist and honed his skills as an FBI/police negotiation trainer who increases people’s ability to get through to anyone.

Mark Goulston Q & A

Hand & Associates: You received your post graduate residency in psychiatry at UCLA, went on to teach at UCLA’s internationally renowned Neuropsychiatric Institute for more than twenty years, became a Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and were named one of America’s Top Psychiatrists for 2004-2005 and again in 2009 by Washington, D.C.   How and why did executive coaching come into play?   Mark Goulston: Early in my career one of my focuses was doing house calls to dying patients and their families.  In many of those visits I was able to resolve conflicts in a matter of hours that had been going on for years, sometimes decades.  After the founder died, I was asked to come into the family companies and not just intervene in squabbles, but in coaching the next generation how to be more effective in leading their companies.  That, then led to executive coaching.  Also for the past seven years, it has been my blessing to be mentored by Warren Bennis, who is one of the world’s top experts in leadership. The man is amazing and beloved.   Hand & Associates: Your book, “Just Listen”, reached the #1 ranking in six business categories at Amazon.com and #1 in China and Germany for US business books, and has been the best selling book from the American Management Association for more than a year.  What was your inspiration for writing this book?   Mark Goulston:  As another of my mentors, suicide pioneer, Dr. Edwin Shneidman told me, “If you listen for hurt, fear and pain or for people’s hopes and dreams, it is nearly always there.  And when the other person feels you listening and feeling them, they will open their minds and hearts to you.” And that is the space […]

Coaches Corner

Gene Boccialetti   As anyone might infer from my last name, I’m a product of an immigrant Italian family. All four of my grandparents arrived at Ellis Island from Italy between 1910 and 1915. My paternal grandparents came from the north of the country, the Marche region. My maternal side came from Naples escaping cholera, poverty and political unrest. My maternal grandfather insisted ‘we are all in America now. Only English is spoken!’ Much to my grandfather’s dismay, my grandmother always refused to learn English. Growing up, all of us had to whisper to her in Italian if we wanted to talk with her. The fact that it was forbidden made it kind of fun. I later realized my grandfather knew what we were doing, but for everyone’s sake, including his own, he ignored it.   The transplanted Italian culture brought with it many things. In the case of my paternal grandfather, it was a skill in making wine and liquor during prohibition. Stories for another time. In my immediate family’s case, it also brought an insistence that me and my siblings ALL graduate from college. I did that as did my brother and sister.   But, then I went to graduate school and received a Master’s…and then a Doctorate in Organizational Behavior, Organization Development and Adult Development.   In my family’s eyes, I had clearly overdone college and was obviously now into evading adult responsibility.   As I began to work as a consultant, a university professor, an author and an executive coach, my family softened their opinion of me. One memorable Sunday—during one of those seemingly endless […]

How to Be a Better Boss? Spend Time on the Front Lines

To succeed in upper management, consider walking in the shoes of your lower-level workers.   Scott Moorehead, Carolyn Kibler and Don Fertman did exactly that at different stages of their careers. They gleaned potent insights that made them more effective leaders and authentic communicators.   Such lessons could hasten your advancement, too. Facing increased turnover during the recovery, businesses have resumed grooming executives with such skills, leadership experts say.   When Mr. Moorehead finished college and joined his family’s business Moorehead Communications Inc. in 2001, his parents forced him to spend a year working briefly in nearly every job–including delivery-truck driver. Holding 32 positions for a half a day to three weeks per job “made me a very employee-centric CEO,” says Mr. Moorehead, who took command in 2008. The company, which does business as the Cellular Connection, became the biggest U.S. dealer for Verizon Wireless phones and services in 2010.   Ms. Kibler moved up at DaVita Inc., the nation’s No. 2 dialysis-treatment operator, after she toiled alongside dialysis technicians for three days in 2007 as part of its Reality 101 immersion program. Now an operational vice president, she oversees twice as many divisions and staffers as five years ago.   DaVita is among the handful of firms that require key officials to do front-line stints so they can stay in closer touch with their troops. Under an expanded version of Reality 101 launched this month (Feb.), middle managers and executives must also shadow employees in other roles such as dietitian and social worker for at least one day a year.   Don Fertman, chief development officer of Subway Restaurants, appeared on CBS‘s “Undercover Boss” […]

Coaches Corner

Coaches Corner/Jane Cruz   I grew up and began my career in the San Francisco Bay Area before moving to Los Angeles to take a job at Universal Studios.  That move exceeded my wildest dreams and reflects what has been a fairly consistent theme in my life.  The daughter of Portuguese immigrants, I was the first member of my family to get a college education.    How did that happen?  Through a friend, I ended up by sheer chance landing my first job in human resources at Viacom Cable where my managers strongly encouraged me to go to college.  That heralded the beginning of two completely unplanned careers—in human resources and as a lifelong student!  After earning my undergraduate degree in Economics, I decided that as long as I had the work/school balance figured out I might as well keep on and ended up going straight into working on an MBA at Berkeley.  During this time, my human resources career continued where after a long stint at Viacom, I went on to build and head a human resources organization at a rapidly growing engineering consultancy.  After that I made the move to LA and Universal where I was for several years, working extensively with executives on business integration and international challenges.     I left Universal to head human resources at another rapidly growing company, although this time in retail.  After several years, I made the decision to return to school to get a doctorate, a goal I had set when I finished my MBA.  Given my strong business experience and education, I decided to focus on the humanities to further round myself out.  It was while I […]

5 Keys to Building a Learning Organization

Forbes announced major news in the $135 billion worldwide corporate training industry this week: after four years of budget cuts, spending increased on corporate L&D increased by 9.5% last year. This is a major uptick shift in corporate HR spending. Companies now realize that they simply cannot find the skills they need in the workforce and have to reinvest heavily in corporate training.   But how and where should this money go? Should companies go back to the 1980s and build a corporate university again?   The answer is no. Today the world of corporate training has been revolutionized, and in this article I will highlight the five keys to success in building a learning organization.   1. Remember that corporate learning is “informal” and HR doesn’t own it. If you ask any business leader “how people learn,” their most common answer is “on the job.” And this is correct – sales people learn by making sales calls, engineers learn by doing design, customer service people learn by solving problems. The key to success then is not to provide a lot of formal training, but rather create an environment that supports rapid on-the-job learning.   Our research shows that companies which adopt “formalized informal learning” programs (like coaching, on-demand training, and performance support tools) outperform those that focus on formal training by 3 to 1. In these companies the corporate training team doesn’t just train people, it puts in place content and programs to help employees quickly learn on the job. This means developing training in small, easy-to-use […]