In a blog post that touches on peer groups, adapted from his new book The Earned Life, the renowned leadership expert and bestselling author Marshall Goldsmith talks about how understanding a person’s referent groups — their tribes — is essential to figuring out their motivations.
Goldsmith writes, “If you know a person’s referent group—to whom or what they feel deeply connected, whom they want to impress, whose respect they crave—you can understand why they talk and think and behave the way they do. You don’t have to agree with them, but you are less likely to dismiss them as brainwashed or uninformed. At the same time, you realize that your views may appear equally incomprehensible to them. It made me more tolerant, almost empathic. It also started me thinking about the utility of referent groups.”
Trying to understand the Russian invasion of Ukraine means trying to understand the mind of Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has long been portrayed as a wily chess-player on the world stage. But Putin’s decision to launch a renewed and brutal invasion of Ukraine last week has made some Western officials and observers question the mental state of the man in charge of the world’s largest stockpile of nuclear weapons. To understand Putin, it is important to realize that he thinks in terms of medieval times, of what he perceives as former Russian greatness or Soviet influence. It’s important to know his reference points.
In The Earned Life Goldsmith uncovers the source of today’s existential crises, including regrets that stem from choices that irrevocably alter our lives, reroute destinies, and haunt our memories. These are particularly timely themes today.
With Goldsmith’s book as a guide, readers can close the gap between what they plan to achieve and what they actually get done—even in a world full of inescapable unfairness and curveballs—and live an earned life that is fulfilling in the long run.
You can read Marshall Goldsmith’s blog here.
About MARSHALL GOLDSMITH
Marshall Goldsmith has been recognized for years as the world’s leading executive coach and the New York Times bestselling author of many books, including What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, Mojo, and Triggers. He received his Ph.D. from the UCLA Anderson School of Management. In his coaching practice, Goldsmith has advised more than 200 major CEOs and their management teams. He and his wife live in Nashville, Tennessee.
About THE EARNED LIFE
In THE EARNED LIFE (Currency Books), Marshall Goldsmith uncovers the source of today’s existential crisis: regret, the kind stemming from choices that irrevocably alter our lives, reroutes destinies, and haunts our memories—particularly timely themes as the pandemic and Great Resignation inspire people to seek meaning in their lives, get unstuck and make changes. With this book as their guide, readers can close the gap between what they plan to achieve and what they actually get done—even in a world full of inescapable unfairness and curveballs—and live an earned life too fulfilling to dwell on the “what ifs.”
If you’d like more information on Marshall Goldsmith, The Earned Life, and his work, please get in touch with Lyda Goldsmith.