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Paul Scicchitano

Quality Insider

A Quality Tool That Doesn’t Cost Anything


Published: Monday, March 29, 2010 - 12:28

There’s an important tool for quality professionals that you may have overlooked in your effort to retain customers in this difficult economy. And unlike Six Sigma, ISO 9001 or 9004, lean, and total quality management (TQM), this tool won’t cost you anything.

“Imagine you are a customer. You’re around some organizational representative who’s happy and finds his work meaningful,” explains New York Times bestselling author, Marshall Goldsmith. “Option B, you’re around an organizational representative who’s miserable and finds his work meaningless. Does that have any impact on you as a customer? I think that’s a definite yes. Do you really want to be around person b?”

Goldsmith is inviting us all to check our mojo. Not the mojo popularized by fictional super spy Austin Powers—or even the Marvel Comics’ super villain of the same name. There’s a very different kind of mojo that is an essential ingredient to keeping customers and to managing work and home life, according to Goldsmith.

The 61-year-old executive coach defines mojo in his latest book as the moment when we do something that’s purposeful, powerful, and positive—and the whole world recognizes it.

“When I talk about mojo, I’m talking about simultaneously finding happiness and meaning at work and at home,” explains Goldsmith during an exclusive interview and recorded webinar.

Goldsmith’s latest book, Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back if You Lose It (Hyperion, 2010) hit the stores recently as the follow-up to his 2007 bestseller, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There (Hyperion, 2007).

Mojo focuses on ways we can get—and keep—mojo to build a successful business or career. “People who experience high amounts of satisfaction at work tend to experience high amounts of satisfaction at home,” according to Goldsmith, who says that it doesn’t really matter how much time—or how little—a person puts in on their job and how much money they make after their first $65,000–$80,000 per year in salary.

“The only two things that matter are happiness and meaning—spending your life doing things that do two things at once: make you happy and are meaningful,” says Goldsmith. “To me that is the definition of success. I would not define a billionaire who is miserable as a successful person.”

While Mojo comes during an economic crisis, Goldsmith says he never set out to write a recessionary book. “The current economic crisis has put people under more pressure. Many people are working 60 to 80 hours a week,” Goldsmith explains. “If you’re working 60 to 80 hours a week, and the work and life balance is defined as what happens outside of work, you don’t have much of a life.

“On the other hand, if you really are finding meaning and happiness in what you are doing, you don’t have to worry about it because what you are doing is part of your life. And what you are doing is meaningful for you. And what you are doing is making you happy. So in other words, you don’t mind working.”

Goldsmith outlines the positive actions leaders must take, with their teams or themselves, to initiate winning streaks and keep them coming. His client list includes some 60 CEOs at many of the world’s leading corporations.

Having corporate or personal mojo means controlling three elements: identity (who do you think you are?), achievement (what have you done lately?), and reputation (who do other people think you are; what do other people think you’ve done lately?).

Goldsmith has three favorite lines in Mojo: “Our default reaction in life is not to experience happiness. Our default reaction in life is not to experience meaning. Our default reaction in life is to experience inertia.”

Most people have a tendency to wander through life adrift, he observes. “The best predictor of what we are going to be doing is what have we been doing,” says Goldsmith. “The best predictor of how we are going to act is how have we been acting. The best predictor of where we are going to go is where we’ve been going. Inertia is an incredibly powerful predictor for everything.”

One of the most important things we can do to get—or hold—our mojo is to continually challenge this inertia. We do that by asking three key questions, he says: “Is what I am doing now making me happy? Is what I’m doing now meaningful? Is what I’m doing now important in life?”

Goldsmith says that mojo is not only an important quality for business leaders to possess, but also for anyone working with customers.

“Is this person really positive and enthusiastic about being here and does this person find this company’s work meaningful; or does this person see this whole thing as kind of a joke?”

The bottom line for anyone seeking a more meaningful professional and personal life is to know when to move on—in relationships and business relations—but above all else to follow their dreams.

“If you have a dream, go for it,” Goldsmith declares. “Do what’s meaningful for you. No one can define what’s meaningful for you but you. No one can define your dreams for you.”


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Paul Scicchitano