By | Dr Marshall Goldsmith | #1 Leadership Thinker, Exec Coach, NYT Bestselling Author. Dartmouth Tuck Professor Mgmt Practice
I am so excited about my interview with Erica Dhawan, author of Get Big Things Done: The Power of Connectional Intelligence! If you have plans and goals for 2019, Erica is the person to help you get those big things done in 2019.
First, a little about Erica Dhawan. She is the Founder & CEO of Cotential and the world’s authority on Connectional Intelligence. Named by Thinkers50 as “The Oprah of Management Ideas”, she is featured as one of the emerging management thinkers most likely to shape the future of business. She’s also my great friend and one of our 100 Coaches group.
In this week’s interview, Erica tells us how we can get big things done in 2019 and shares a free gift and a new online course for the new year for those who are really serious about getting big things done!
Marshall: Erica is a brilliant friend of mine. She is a member of our 100 Coaches organization. She has an undergraduate degree from Wharton, a masters from Harvard & MIT, and she’s written a wonderful book called, Get Big Things Done.
Erica, I love what you are doing. How do we get started? How do we get big things done?
Erica: Great question Marshall – how do we start getting big things done?
I’d love to answer this question by sharing a short story first. One of my favorite examples of getting big things done is from Colgate a few years ago. There was a team at Colgate (the toothpaste company) that had a scientific problem. They were developing a new fluoride for the toothpaste to mix with the paste. But, there was a mechanical flow problem. All their tried for months to figure it out, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, but none could.
Finally, the leader on the team asked, “This isn’t working and it’s very expensive. How do we leverage a different network to solve this problem?” The team posted the fluoride challenge on a website called Innocentive, which is a crowdsourcing community for scientists. Within two days of posting the problem, a physicist named Ed Melcarek looked at the problem online and said, this isn’t a chemistry problem. It’s a physics problem. The problem was solved.
Colgate learned a few things from this experience. The first thing they learned is that they didn’t even dare to ask the physicists at their own company because they had labeled it as a chemistry problem. The second thing they realized is that the physicist who solved the problem would have never been hired by Colgate. He didn’t have the traditional resume. In today’s world though, Colgate could access and engage networks in a completely different way to solve real time issues.
So, in order to really start getting big things done, we have to do a few key things. The first thing we have to do is open ourselves to new resources and ideas outside of traditional experts in silos. When you’re trying to solve a problem, ask yourself, not just who has helped me solve this before, but how might I design this problem to engage people I may not even know that could help.
Marshall: That reminds me of something. What got you here won’t get you there!
Erica: That’s right! In order to get big things done, we have to think differently about what will get us from here to there and that starts with asking different types of questions.
The second thing that will help you get big things done is to be open to combining resources and knowledge outside of your own domains. We have to realize that sometimes our greatest sources of help come from where we least expect. We have to be willing and courageous to take a risk and ask.
So, in the New Year, if you want to start getting big things done, it’s all about having the curiosity and the courage to think differently about the resources we often already have at our fingertips. We don’t need a lot of money or position or title or to be even at a big company to get big things done. We can do it so often with what’s close at hand and with our own human skills.