Influencers from Around the World – One Great Question to Ask: Lessons from Marshall Goldsmith and Patrick Lencioni

This month the “Influencers from Around the
World” post comes all the way from South Korea thanks to Hoh Kim. Hoh and I met
in Arizona early 2008 when we went through training together to earn our Cialdini
Method Certified Trainer designations. To learn more about Hoh visit his
website, The Lab h, and his blog, Cool Communications. You can also find Hoh on
Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Brian Ahearn, CMCT® 
Chief Influence Officer
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
One Great Question to Ask: Lessons from 
Goldsmith and Patrick Lencioni
How you communicate your weaknesses can define
whether you’re trustworthy or not, according to Robert Cialdini, Ph.D., the
world’s foremost expert on the science of influence. Without trustworthiness,
we cannot have true authority in the eyes of others. Many leadership experts
also express a similar concept.
Everyone talks about the importance of trust.
But, do we know how to act to build trust as a leader? Patrick Lencioni, the
author of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,
shared some excellent insight. According to Lencioni, when we use the word
“trust,” it normally means “predictable trust.” For example; I know one of my
team members will do a good job, as she or he has been a good performer in the
past. However, Lencioni suggested that leaders should practice what he called
“vulnerability-based trust.” Leaders cannot be strong in every aspect, which
means they also have weaknesses. Leaders should first know what their
weaknesses are, and they should feel comfortable disclosing them to their team.
Leaders shouldn’t be defensive. Instead Lencioni wrote, “In essence, teammates
must get comfortable being vulnerable with one another.”
Everyone talks about the importance of
feedback in developing people. However, Marshall Goldsmith, one of the noted
experts in leadership development, emphasized the importance of “feedforward.”
Feedback is about your behavior in the past and feedforward is about suggestions
for the future behavior. Feedback is in the rear view mirror, while feedforward
is looking into the windshield. To drive your car you have to pay attention to
windshield, what lay ahead, not the rear view mirror, which only shows what is
We all have areas of improvement in our
workplace. If you could choose one area for improvement over the next year,
what will it be? Better listening? Faster decision-making? Better emotional
management? Whatever it is, acknowledge your weaknesses to your team members.
You won’t be seen as a loser. If you stay in your weaknesses you might be
viewed as a loser but when you acknowledge a weakness candidly, and ask for feedforward
from your members and colleagues, you will be seen as a more trustworthy
When you acknowledge weaknesses and ask for feedforward
you make a public commitment to improve. By utilizing the principle of consistency, one of the Dr. Cialdini’s six principles of influence, you will
have a better chance to actually experiencing progress.
How do you ask for feedforward? Take the
Marshall Goldsmith’s advice and simply say, “I want to be better at (listening,
for example). How can I be a better listener?” If your colleagues suggest
something, don’t defend yourself, just respond with a sincere, “Thank you.”
As we approach the end of 2014, it is a good
idea to practice feedforward with you wife, husband, or significant others. Do
you want to be a better spouse? Let me share one of my secrets to be a better spouse.
Once a year I ask to my wife, “Honey, how can I be a better husband? What can I
do better to be a better husband?” So far, my wife has never asked me to buy her
things like a diamond ring or luxury clothing or high-end handbags. She just
loves to be asked.
Hoh Kim, CMCT® 
Founder, Head Coach & Lead Facilitator,

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