Tomorrow is the first meeting of this spring’s Leadership Reading Group at SPSU. We’re starting with Marshall Goldsmith’s “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.” It’s a good, short book that highlights the difference between being successful at a job and becoming a leader. One of the points in the first section is about motivation. He argues that most people are motivated by self-interest, especially early in their careers, and how this may evolve into a higher-level goal over time. Goldsmith identifies four self-interested motivators: money, power, status, and popularity. Examples of the larger goals include “leaving a legacy,” “serving as an inspiring role model,” and “treating a great organization.”
When I speak to leadership groups, I usually start with the message of “know thyself.” Understanding our own motivations — truly knowing what is important to us, what motivates us, and what underlies our behavioral choices — is a critical step in thinking clearly about how to become a leader.