Bringing Buddhism to Business

–with special guest Marshall Goldsmith

Episode Summary

Kind, soft-spoken, and self-deprecating, Marshall Goldsmith is just about the opposite of every hard-charging businessman stereotype. And yet he’s both found phenomenal success himself and inspired it in countless others. Discover his secrets this week on Perspectives from the Top.

Episode Notes

Bringing Buddhism to Business (ft. Marshall Goldsmith)

Marshall Goldsmith has found and inspired success by doing everything differently


My name is Marshall Goldsmith. I am too cowardly and undisciplined to do any of this stuff by myself. I need help. And you know what? It’s okay. Once we get over that macho, I can do it on their own nonsense, everybody gets better.

—Marshall Goldsmith


Marshall Goldsmith’s first degree was in Mathematical Economics, but he quickly moved to the study of people— earning a Ph.D. and professorship of Management Practice at Dartmouth Tuck. Since then, Marshall has been successful as an entrepreneur, business owner, and leadership & executive coach. He’s been ranked among the top business thinkers and as the number-one global executive coach, receiving the Harvard Institute of Coaching Lifetime Award.

Marshall is also the author of many bestselling books. His new book, The Earned Life, channels Marshall’s Buddhist philosophy to help readers be more fulfilled and focused in life.


[3:19] – 100 Coaches

The ultimate example of ‘doing unto others’

Inspired by a question about his heroes, Marshall Goldsmith embarked on a quest to coach 100 people for free— under the condition that they one day do the same. The results were astonishing, showing that the world is filled with people eager and willing to impart what they know and give of themselves to others.

[14:18] – Learning by Coaching

How coaches get more out of mentorship than their mentees

One of the most successful people Marshall ever mentored told him, “You have one job as a coach: client selection. You work with great people, your coaching process always works.” Along those lines, Marshall has also found that when he selects great clients, he learns incredible lessons himself along the way.

[22:28] – The Hidden Power of Mentorship

It’s not about coaching— it’s about not judging

Across the many people in various backgrounds that Marshall has coached, one thing he has found is that when they’re being mentored, they’ve expressed that the most meaningful aspect of it for them is that they’re not competing, being judged, being laughed at, or being put down. It’s a sense of community, a group of people all simply trying to be better. That’s a powerful thing.

[32:29] – Getting Lost in Ambition

Sometimes, what you have is enough

Marshall mentions the classic study on delayed gratification that involved asking children to wait to eat a marshmallow, then rewarding them with a second marshmallow if they were able to control themselves. But, Marshall says, if you take that idea to an extreme, “you end up with an old man who needs to die in a room surrounded by uneaten marshmallows. Sometimes, you’ve got to eat the damn marshmallow.”

[40:40] – Empathy & Peace in Work

Deeper lessons than how to succeed

In his most recent book, Marshall applies Buddhist-inspired principles to a range of scenarios and life decisions. He stresses empathy over-ambition, encouraging all of us to begin with a mindset of helping others, rather than focusing on how they can help us get to where we want to go. It’s a lesson we all can remember even as we strive to reach the top.


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Chris Roebuck
Chris Roebuck
Chris Roebuck is a speaker, advisor and executive coach who has a unique approach that helps leaders, teams, and organisations reach their full potential and be successful in just three steps. This is proven to add investor value, deliver better customer service, build the brand externally, develop innovation and entrepreneurial thinking, optimise risk and boost the bottom line by 10% + at no cost. Chris unique experience as a leader in the military, business, government and as a Hon Visiting Professor of Transformational Leadership has enabled him to develop this innovative, entrepreneurial and highly effective new approach for leaders and organisations to achieve success: I CARE Leadership. It’s simply about you being the leader people always give their best for empowered by authentic and inspirational servant leadership. Chris shows how building on leaders current knowledge via simple, practical day to day actions can immediately deliver real improvements at all levels; individual, team, and organisation. One organisation who implemented it increased the number of staff happy to recommend it as “a great place to work” to friends or family in 2 years from 40% to 82%, an exceptional change, and increased revenue by 40%. When Global Head of Leadership at UBS, 70,000 staff & 100 countries, his team helped the bank transform organisational performance to increase profitability by 235%, market capitalisation by 50% and win awards. This is now a Harvard Case Study. Chris experience spans many sectors and geographies; from having held senior roles in UBS, HSBC, KPMG & London Underground to advising legal firms and construction, from the UK National Health Service of 1.4m staff and UK Government to the Red Cross in Myanmar, from Investment banks in London to Middle East Telecoms, from the Chinese Space Programme to retail in USA and many more. Chris has been quoted as a business leadership expert globally in the Harvard Business Review China, FT, Wall Street Journal, Le Monde, New York Times, Business Week, Time Magazine, Washington Post, Times of India, Straits & Gulf Times and many other titles. He has been interviewed on TV over 350 on leadership and business issues on BBC, CNN, Bloomberg, and other channels and his books have been translated into 11 languages. Chris has been recognised as one of the Most Influential HR Thinkers regularly since 2011 by the HR profession.

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