By | Dr Marshall Goldsmith | #1 Leadership Thinker, Exec Coach, NYT Bestselling Author. Dartmouth Tuck Professor Mgmt Practice
“Most of us see the world the way we are, not the way it is.”
My friend, Chris Cuomo, journalist and news anchor on CNN’s Cuomo Prime Time, and I spent an afternoon recently discussing a variety of topics, including what we see happening in the world today. In this short interview I asked Chris about his focus on not just changing behavior, but changing perception. I asked him to explain what that means to him. His insightful comments are in the excerpt below.
Marshall: I’m here with my great friend, Chris Cuomo. Chris, I love your show, Cuomo Prime Time. I love your philosophy, and you know, I just love what you’re doing. One thing you focused on is not just changing behavior, changing perception. Talk about that for a second.
Chris: Hard, but made more easy by our current confines. There’s so much partisanship on everything. It infects everything. Even football has become partisan. The way to change perspective, as you’ve taught in the book so often, is to be open, to introduce somebody to something else. They can’t be open if they’re only looking to double down and have an echo effect. What we’re trying to do on Cuomo Prime Time is to say, “Look, I know what people are telling you to think. I know what you want to believe. But aren’t you a little curious if you’re right? If you’re an independent thinker, if you’re so secure in your position, why don’t you hear the other side?”
So, we test. Instead of making the case every night from a particular perspective, what we do is go at the different perspectives. And by doing that, we’re encouraging people who are open, who are independent thinkers, who are “Goldsmithians,” to be open to something else. Because you only get better that way, and that’s how perception changes. If you only want to hear what you already believe, there is no growth. And there is no growth without some type of change.
Marshall: I love it, thank you. And you know, it’s so consistent with what I do for a living, I give people confidential feedback. Leaders, big leaders, important leaders. And they learn what everybody thinks. Not just what they want to hear. They learn the truth from everybody. And then they say, “Well I feel good about this part of the story, maybe I can learn something here from this part of the story.” And being open minded, that leaves them to ultimately change their behavior and to change the perception of everyone around them.
Chris: Right. You told me that most of us see the world the way we are, not the way it is. So, you have to be open to what you’re not getting, and then you’ll grow.
Marshall: Thank you!
On June 20th, I was honored to be inducted into the Thinkers 50 Hall of Fame – whose members include the top management thinkers of our time.