March 20, 1949 |
Valley Station, Kentucky
Early life and education
Born in Valley Station, Kentucky, Goldsmith received a degree in mathematical economics from Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana in 1970. Goldsmith earned an MBA from Indiana University's Kelley School of Business in 1972. He earned a PhD from UCLA Anderson School of Management in Los Angeles, California in 1977.
From 1976-1980, he was Assistant Professor and then Associate Dean at Loyola Marymount University’s College of Business. He currently teaches executive education at Dartmouth College's Tuck School of Business, and he frequently speaks at leading business schools.
In 1977, Marshall met Dr. Paul Hersey, a consultant in leadership development, and began teaching managers. He later co-founded of Keilty, Goldsmith and Company. He is currently a founding partner of the Marshall Goldsmith Group.
Goldsmith was a pioneer in the use of customized 360-degree feedback (confidential feedback from direct reports, peers and managers) as a leadership development tool. His early efforts in providing feedback and then following-up with executives to measure changes in behavior were precursors to what eventually evolved as the field of ‘executive coaching.’ In acknowledgment of his work in helping leaders change behavior, he received his first national recognition in 1993, being ranked as one of the top ten executive educators in the Wall Street Journal.
While serving as a board member of the Peter Drucker Foundation in 1996, Goldsmith co-edited his first book, The Leader of the Future (with Frances Hesselbein and Richard Beckhard). Peter Drucker wrote the foreword for this book. This book has since sold hundreds of thousands of copies and has been translated into 28 languages. The success of this first book led Goldsmith (with Frances Hesselbein and the Drucker Foundation) to co-edit six more well-received books.
Goldsmith's work in helping leaders achieve positive lasting change in behavior has been featured in a The New Yorker profile, Harvard Business Review interview, Forbes feature story and Business Strategy Review cover story (from the London Business School). He is one of the few executive advisors who has been asked to work with more than 150 CEOs and their management teams. In 2011 Goldsmith was named winner of the 2011 Thinkers50 Leadership Award – as the World’s Most Influential Leadership Thinker, additionally ranking #7 on the overall list of Thinkers50 list. In 2005 he was elected as a Fellow in the National Academy of Human Resources – and recognized in Business Week as one of the most influential practitioners in the history of leadership development. In 2004 he was recognized by the American Management Association as one of 50 great thinkers and business leaders who have impacted the field of management over the past 80 years.
Goldsmith is the author or co-editor of 32 books, including What Got You Here Won’t Get You There (a New York Times best-seller, Wall Street Journal #1 Business Book and winner of the Harold Longman Award as Best Business Book of the Year). Harvard Business School has recommended six of his books in their Working Knowledge series. Almost all of Goldsmith's articles, interviews, columns and videos are available for viewing and sharing online (free of charge) at the Marshall Goldsmith Library.
Several themes run through Goldsmith’s writings:
- The same beliefs that lead to our success – can make it very difficult for us to change behavior – and, as difficult as it is to change our own behavior, it is even more difficult to change others’ perception of our behavior.
- The behavior of leaders needs to be reflective of the stated values of the corporation – and key executives need to ‘go first’ in modeling positive behavioral change.
- Managers who receive feedback and engage in ongoing follow-up with co-workers will almost always achieve positive, change in behavior and be seen as more effective leaders by their key stakeholders. This was shown in a Strategy+Business article that involved over 86,000 respondents. (In 2010 this article, "Leadership Is a Contact Sport," was recognized as one of the greatest articles ever published in Strategy+Business.)
- The key to success in executive coaching is not the coach (who is a facilitator of change) – it is the people being coached and their key stakeholders.
- Leadership development should provide tools that can be used in a positive, simple, focused and fast manner. Complex theories of change, while interesting, will not work in the ‘real world’ with over-extended executives.
- Most executive education has historically been based upon an invalid assumption, “If they understand – they will do.” The basic challenge faced by managers is not understanding the practice of leadership – it is practicing their understanding of leadership.
Honors and awards
Along with the American Management Association and National Academy of Human Resources, Goldsmith’s work has been recognized by almost every professional organization in his field, including the:
- Academy of Management
- Thinkers50 2011 (#1 leadership thinker in the world and the #7 business thinker in the world)
- Best Practice Institute
- Human Resource Planning Society
- American Society for Training and Development
- Institute for Management Studies (where in 2009 he became the second recipient of the IMS Lifetime Achievement Award)
- Leader to Leader Institute (where in 2010 he became the fifth recipient of the Leader of the Future Award)
- The Times - 15 Greatest Business Thinkers in the World
- BusinessWeek - 50 Great Leaders in America
- Wall Street Journal - Top Ten Executive Educators
- Forbes - Five Most-Respected Executive Coaches
- Leadership Excellence - Top 5 Leadership Thinkers
- The Economic Times (India) - Top CEO Coaches of America
- Economist (United Kingdom) - Most Credible Executive Advisors in the New Era of Business
- Fast Company - America's Preeminent Executive Coach
- In 2012, Goldsmith was awarded The John E. Anderson Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest accolade for exceptional achievement that the UCLA Anderson School of Management may bestow upon alumni.
- Volunteer Teacher for US Army Generals, US Navy Admirals, Girl Scout and International Red Cross Executives 
- Coaching for Leadership: Writings on Leadership from the World's Greatest Coaches. Marshall Goldsmith, Laurence S. Lyons, and Sarah McArthur (eds.). Jossey-Bass (2012).
- What Got You Here Won't Get You There. Marshall Goldsmith with Mark Reiter. Round Table Comics (2011).
- MOJO: How to Get It, How to Keep It, and How to Get It Back If You Lose It. Marshall Goldsmith with Mark Reiter. Hyperion (2010). (New York Times best-seller, Wall Street Journal best-seller).
- The AMA Handbook of Leadership. Marshall Goldsmith, John Baldoni, and Sarah McArthur (eds.). AMACOM (2010). (American Library Association Choice Award Academic Business Book of the Year).
- Learn Like a Leader: Today's Top Leaders Share Their Learning Journeys. Marshall Goldsmith, Beverly Kaye, and Ken Shelton (eds.). Nicholas Brealey Publishing (2010).
- What Got You Here Won't Get You There in Sales. Marshall Goldsmith, Don Brown, and Bill Hawkins. GBH Press (2010).
- Best Practices in Talent Management. Marshall Goldsmith and Louis L. Carter (eds.). Jossey Bass and Best Practice Institute (2010).
- MOJOTweet. Marshall Goldsmith. ThinkAha (2010).
- Succession: Are You Ready? Marshall Goldsmith. Harvard Business Press (2009). (Wall Street Journal best-seller).
- The Organization of the Future – 2. Frances Hesselbein and Marshall Goldsmith (eds.). Jossey-Bass (2009). (American Library Association Choice Award Academic Business Book of the Year).
- What Got You Here – Won’t Get You There. Marshall Goldsmith with Mark Reiter. Hyperion (2007). (New York Times best-seller, Wall Street Journal #1 business book, and Harold Longman Award Winner Best Business Book of the Year, translated into 28 languages and a listed best-seller in 7 countries).
- The Leader of the Future – 2. Frances Hesselbein and Marshall Goldsmith (eds.). Wiley (2006).
- Coaching for Leadership: The Practice of Leadership Coaching from the World’s Greatest Coaches. Marshall Goldsmith and Laurence Lyons (eds.). Pfeiffer (2005).
- The Art and Practice of Leadership Coaching: 50 Top Coaches Reveal their Secrets. Howard Morgan, Phil Harkins, and Marshall Goldsmith (eds.). Wiley (2005).
- Best Practices in Leadership Development and Organizational Change. Louis Carter, David Ulrich, and Marshall Goldsmith (eds.). Wiley (2005).
- Leading Organizational Learning. Marshall Goldsmith, Howard Morgan, and Alexander Ogg (eds.). Jossey-Bass (2004).
- Global Leadership: The Next Generation. Marshall Goldsmith, Alastair Robertson, Cathy Greenberg, Maya Hu-Chan. FT Prentice Hall (2003).
- Human Resources in the 21st Century. Marc Effron, Robert Gandossy, and Marshall Goldsmith (eds.). Wiley (2003).
- Partnering: The New Face of Leadership. Larraine Segil, Marshall Goldsmith, and James Belasco (eds.). AMACOM (2003).
- The Change Champion's Fieldguide: Strategies and Tools for Leading Change in Your Organization. Dave Ulrich, Marshall Goldsmith, Louis Carter, Jim Bolt, and Norm Smallwood (eds.). Best Practice Institute (2003).
- The Many Facets of Leadership. Marshall Goldsmith, Vijay Govindarajan, Beverly Kaye, and Albert Vicere (eds.). FT Prentice Hall (2002).
- Leading Authorities on Business: Winning Strategies from the Greatest Minds. Marshall Goldsmith and James Belasco (eds.). Leading Authorities Press (2002).
- Leading for Innovation: & Organizing for Results. Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith, and Iain Somerville (eds.). Jossey-Bass (2002).
- Best Practices in Organization Development and Change Handbook: Culture, Leadership, Retention, Performance, and Consulting. Louis Carter, David Giber, and Marshall Goldsmith (eds.). Jossey-Bass; Book and CD-ROM edition (2001).
- The Leadership Investment: How the World’s Best Organizations Gain Strategic Advantage Through Leadership Development. Robert Fulmer and Marshall Goldsmith. AMACOM (2001). (American Library Association Choice Award Academic Business Book of the Year).
- Coaching for Leadership: How the World’s Greatest Coaches Help Leaders Learn. Marshall Goldsmith, Laurence S. Lyons, and Alyssa Freas (eds.). Jossey-Bass (2000).
- Learning Journeys: Top Management Experts Share Hard-Earned Lessons on Becoming Great Mentors and Leaders. Marshall Goldsmith, Beverly Kaye, and Ken Shelton (eds.). Davies-Black (2000).
- Linkage Inc.’s Best Practices in Leadership Development Handbook: Case Studies, Instruments and Training. Louis Carter, David Giber, and Marshall Goldsmith (eds.). Jossey-Bass (2000).
- Leading Beyond the Walls: Wisdom to Action Series Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith, and Iain Somerville (eds.). Jossey-Bass (1999).
- The Community of the Future. Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith, Richard Beckhard, and Richard Schubert (eds.). Jossey-Bass (1998).
- The Organization of the Future. Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith, and Richard Beckhard (eds.). Jossey-Bass (1997).
- The Leader of the Future. Frances Hesselbein, Marshall Goldsmith, and Richard Beckhard (eds.). Jossey-Bass (1996). (BusinessWeek best-seller).
Goldsmith lives in Rancho Santa Fe, California with his wife Lyda. He has a son, Bryan, and a daughter, Kelly (who was one of the participants of Survivor: Africa). Goldsmith has described himself as a "philosophical Buddhist."
- TotalPicture Radio - The Voice of Career Leadership | Marshall Goldsmith
- 2011 #1 Leadership Thinker Award | Marshall Goldsmith
- Leadership Is a Contact Sport S+B 2010 | Marshall Goldsmith
- 2012 John E Anderson Distinguished Alumni Award | Marshall Goldsmith
- Volunteer Teaching Testimonials | Marshall Goldsmith
- "StrategyDriven Podcast Special Edition 11 – An Interview with Marshall Goldsmith, author of Succession". StrategyDriven.