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Mojo by Marshall Goldsmith (Book Review of the Week-ish)

How happy are you at work? Are you moving forward or do you feel “stuck in the mud?” While many business owners and professionals I know love what they do and can’t wait to get to work each day, I also know quite a few who seem to like complaining about their life more than they like living it. If you’re one of those folks – and even if you’re not – Marshall Goldsmith’s Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back if You Lose It might be just right for you.

Goldsmith, an executive coach and management professor at the Tuck School of Business, clearly knows his topic. Not only is Goldsmith well-informed on the challenges facing leaders within many businesses, he also offers a simple, useful approach to dealing with those challenges. Despite his academic pedigree, his style focuses on practical tips you can use to improve your leadership abilities and personal satisfaction right away. For instance, his advice regarding dealing with when it’s time to leave an organization (“Change It or Change You”), his look at the mistake of “Waiting for the Facts to Change” and his discussion of the “Four Pointless Arguments” we all seem to have are worth the price of admission alone.

That said, there’s much more in his book than just some pithy advice. Yes, some of his catchphrases – “Mojo” vs. “Nojo” comes to mind – struck me as a little syrupy for their own good, seeming to put more emphasis on the sizzle than the steak. But, in reality, the meat beneath that sugary sauce is top-grade. Don’t let the occasional slip ups in the sizzle fool you. This man is the leadership equivalent of a master chef.

Case in point, see Goldsmith’s “Mojo Scorecard,” introduced early on, and his Mojo Toolkit in Section III. While many “soft skills” books talk about what you can and should do to improve your lot in life, few offer such practical tools you can use immediately to assess your satisfaction and take steps to improve it.

And Mojo isn’t just for the dissatisfied. True leaders always look to improve and to help their teams improve, too. Even if you’re fully satisfied with where you are in life, Mojo
can likely help you explore areas that will make you that much more effective as a leader.

Using Goldsmith’s approach, your Mojo can soar. And the only thing you have to lose is – forgive me – your Nojo. And then, hopefully, we’ll never have to hear that word again. Still, I do look forward to hearing a lot more from Marshall Goldsmith. And you should, too. Pick up a copy for yourself, download the Kindle edition, or grab a few for your team.

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Tim Peter is the founder and president of Tim Peter & Associates. You can learn more about our company's strategy and digital marketing consulting services here or about Tim here.

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