What could you learn from ‘Triggers’ by Marshall Goldsmith


The importance of context and external environment on behaviour is not new.  In Triggers, Marshall argues that change occurs as the result of an external ‘trigger’.  A trigger creates an impulse, and awareness means that we can choose to act on this impulse, which may result in a change in behaviour.   A feedback loop (evidence, relevance, consequence, action) then either solidifies this change or means that the change does not continue.

Triggers is an interesting book. While I completely agree with the premise that external context is a huge factor in getting people to change, I feel that the book lacks empirical evidence. For example, Marshall argues that people can trigger themselves to change by setting themselves yourself (active) questions. For example, ‘Did I do my best to eat healthily?’ and score yourself every day (out of ten).  I have done this every day for several months, and despite my best efforts, I have not seen a consistent increase in my score.

Link to book on Amazon

Link to Marshall Goldsmith webpage

Marshall also highlights a good framework for meetings

Use this agenda for check up meetings:

  • Where are we going? – vision
  • Where are you going?
  • What is going well? – reward
  • Where can we improve? – what and why
  • How can I help you?
  • How can you help me?”