The banking industry is under attack and the flavor of the week is Greg Smith’s, New York Times article, “Why I am Leaving Goldman Sachs.”
I generally have no opinion of such matters, yet, this one hits close to home. I am a coach to some very powerful executives at Goldman Sachs and frankly, they are leading the transformation of Wall Street from the mindset of greed, back to the mindset of service and doing what’s right for the customer.
If I was coaching Greg Smith, he would likely be a central “Change Maker” in Goldman right now. I respect Greg for his courage and would encourage him to use it to serve the nation, his customers and himself. In doing so, Goldman Sachs would become a better place to work and undeniably more profitable.
Here’s the coaching I would give Greg today: In his article he states, “The firm has veered so far from the place I joined right out of college, that I can no longer, in good conscience, say that I identify with what it stands for.”
Greg, what you are for, is more powerful than what you are against. What you resist will persist. What you accept will transform. You have the power to transform what appears to be unchangeable aspects of the world, with a simple change in perspective.
Here’s the perspective I would suggest you adopt:
Everything changes. Nothing stays the same. If you don’t like the change, then do something about it. You are not a victim of your circumstances. The only reason you would avoid standing up for what you believe in, is the fear of not being accepted. I understand this fear. I have never seen a more political environment in a company.
When you tame The Drunk Monkey, (my nickname for the talking in your head) you can release your attachment to being liked and fitting in. When you stop trying to be liked by people and take a stand for what you believe in, the people around you are magnetized to you.
Here are the questions you need to ask yourself:
1. What am I committed to?
2. How can I be a part of the solution?
3. What changes will I need to make in my process to bring the culture back into alignment, with the principles I hold so dear?
This is not an easy thing to do. The Drunk Monkey in your head can not stand change and begins to diminish it, make it wrong and justify why things should go back to the way they were. The Drunk Monkey tells you to simply oppose the new conditions rather than do anything about it. Apparently, complaining and resigning ones self to long term misery, is more appealing to The Drunk Monkey, than the short term pain of confronting the situation and creating the change you seek.
Gandhi said it best, “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
Being the change takes courage. It takes extreme self honesty. You have to learn to tame The Drunk Monkey in your head and no longer allow its perspective to run your life.
If you allow yourself to be a puppet to The Drunk Monkey, your life will be mostly frustration, with moments of happiness and peace.
Tame The Drunk Monkey and you start to feel happiness and peace most of the time, with brief moments of frustration.
Greg, I whole heatedly admit I do not know the entire situation that you faced, but I am glad that you had the courage to say what you did. It is giving me an opportunity to use your words as a teaching tool for the people who care about my message. For that I’m grateful.