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The Leadership Podcast

The Leadership Podcast

Why do we do this?

We interview great leaders, review the books they read, and speak with highly influential authors who study them.

How we do this?

#1 We interview great leaders.
#2 We review the books great leaders read and write.
#3 We have fun!

Nov 27, 2019

Ashley Goodall is the senior vice president of leadership and team intelligence at Cisco. He is also the co-author of Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader’s Guide to the Real World, and the author of two cover stories in the Harvard Business Review: The Feedback Fallacy and Reinventing Performance Management. In today’s discussion, Ashley breaks down why 360 reviews about your staff are flawed, the future of artificial intelligence and its impact on the workforce, and why dedicating resources to building a ‘well-rounded’ employee is not always the best approach.


Key Takeaways

[3:55] There is an interesting connection between leadership and music. Music allows people to create and collaborate together and the same applies to leadership.

[7:15] When you want to make space for someone to be creative and to help them feel comfortable with collaboration, be sure to be the leader that speaks last.

[10:55] Ashley breaks down his interpretation of the theory world vs. the real world. In theory, everyone has metrics that break down what you should be doing, but in reality, people need a baseline first and then the metrics.

[13:30] We think that having a well-rounded individual or employee is a good approach, but devoting resources to make them well-rounded might not make the most sense. Some of your best people are not well-rounded! They have a set of focused skill sets that make them great.

[15:00] If you want to spend your time getting better, stop focusing on your weaknesses, focus on your strengths instead.

[21:30] Don’t find a job you love, make a job you love. Instead of focusing on work/life balance, focus on the content of what you do on a daily basis.

[28:30] Ashley saw a gap between what works at work and the actual practice of what organizations were doing. This is why he and his co-author, Marcus Buckingham, wrote the book, Nine Lies About Work.

[33:10] Leaders need to challenge the status quo. If they recognize that their reports about their staff’s characteristics and personality are inaccurate, leaders need to speak up and challenge this thinking.

[42:35] As artificial intelligence and automation get incorporated more and more in the workforce, leaders think they can now do less. In reality, leaders actually have to step up and focus more on the human aspect of the organization.

[49:00] Ashley challenges you to ask your team what their thought process was when they did something great and if they can replicate that success.


Quotable Quotes

  • “The conductor makes space for people to play into.”
  • “Go look at the best people. Are they well-rounded? The answer is no.
  • “You’ll find that excellent and well-rounded are opposites, not synonyms.”
  • “The lesson from the real world is that avoiding failure repeatedly is not the same as building excellence.”


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The Leadership Podcast is proud to announce a new initiative with thoughtLEADERS to provide very short podcasts called Chalk Talks. They’re bitesize hacks on common (but challenging) leadership issues.


Interested in learning more?  You can only access the Chalk Talks by subscribing to our mailing list at The Leadership Podcast.


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Strategic Partner


Beyond the Uniform offers over 300 free episodes to help military Veterans succeed in their civilian career. This includes overviews of potential career paths, deep dives on necessary skills to succeed, and reviews of other free services that support the military Veteran community. You can find more info at

Nine Lies About Work, by Ashley Goodall

The Feedback Fallacy

Reinventing Performance Management


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