In a recent interview with highly respected Conversational Intelligence®, We-centric Leadership, Neuro-Innovation expert and Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coach winner, Judith Glaser, Judith asked me to share the advice Peter Drucker (Father of Modern Management) gave me about how to impact decision makers. You’ll find this great advice in the short excerpt from our interview below!
JG: Marshall, you had many opportunities to spend time with Peter Drucker. Please share with us his advice to you about impacting decisions.
MG: Peter taught me three very things about how to impact decision makers and thus make a huge impact at work.
First, he taught me that our mission in life is to make a positive difference. It is not to prove how smart we are or how right we are. We get so lost in proving how smart and how right we are that we forget that’s not what we’re here for.
The second thing that Peter taught me about making a huge impact at work is that every decision in life is made by the person who has the power to make the decision. Make peace with that. Decisions are not necessarily made by the best person, the smartest person, or the right person.
Then he said, If I need to impact a decision-maker and they have the power to make a positive difference, the one word I should use to describe them is “customer.”
I’ve put this all together in a short phrase that I teach to all of my clients. “The best leaders focus on making a positive difference and selling their ideas to decision makers, not on proving how smart or how right they are.”
In leadership, you need to think like a great salesperson. Sell what you can sell. Sell to their needs; don’t sell to your own needs. Don’t look for logic, rationality, or sanity, because decisions are made by power. Whoever has the power to make the decision makes it. Simply put, sell what you can sell. Change what you can change. Make peace with what you cannot sell and make peace with what you cannot change. Focus your time and energy in impacting decisions where you can make a difference. Don’t waste your life worrying about decisions where you’re not really going to make a difference anyway.
JG: Thank you! This is great advice!