If I Produce, Pay Me. If Not, It’s All Free!

“Tell you what I said. I’ll work with him for a year.  If he gets better, pay me.  If not, it’s all free.”

What a powerful statement.  What a powerful way to begin a productive, trusting relationship.  What a powerful strategy for current and future success!

This statement was made by Marshall Goldsmith, one of the most trusted, respected and successful senior executive coaches in the world.  In his book entitled, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful, Goldsmith tells the true story of being contacted by the CEO of a Fortune 100 company.

“Marshall, I’ve got this guy running a big division who delivers his numbers and more every quarter, said the CEO.  He’s a young, smart, dedicated, ethical, motivated, hard-working, entrepreneurial, creative, charismatic, arrogant, stubborn, know-it-all jerk.

Trouble is, we’re a company built on team values, and no one thinks he’s a team player.  I’m giving him a year to change, or he’s out.  But you know something, it would be worth a fortune to us if we could turn this guy around.

I told the CEO, I might be able to help.  The CEO sighed, I doubt it.

Tell you what I said.  I’ll work with him for a year.  If he gets better, pay me.  If not, it’s all free.”

Think about it!  Goldsmith’s response, his way of thinking, his “pay me only if I produce” philosophy, his way of establishing a relationship and doing business clearly places responsibility exactly where it should be.

You are responsible for your performance.  You are responsible for results. You are responsible for the future.  You are responsible for making things happen.  You are responsible for meeting expectations.  You are responsible for exceeding expectations.  You are responsible for the success of your relationships.  You are responsible for your personal and professional success, or lack thereof!

You cannot truly control anything other than yourself, your attitudes, your actions and your behavior.  You are responsible!

The rest of the story, as they say, is history.  As a result of his “I am responsible, pay me only if I produce” philosophy, as well as consistently producing at or beyond expectations, Marshall Goldsmith has coached over 100 senior executives from the largest corporations around the world.  And, he has been paid very handsomely for doing so!

All this may have never happened without a philosophy, a way of living, backed up by meeting or exceeding expectations:

“Tell you what I said.  I’ll work with him for a year.  If he gets better, pay me.  If not, it’s all free.”

Seriously answer this question.  How often do you say, and even more important, how often do you live the philosophy, “Tell you what.  I’ll work with him for a year.  If he gets better, pay me.  If not, it’s all free.”

Consistently living this philosophy in all areas of your life… will literally revolutionize you life for the better!

If it’s to be, it’s up to me.  And so it is with you! 


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I am a leader, speaker, and author who is passionate about Leadership Excellence and Achieiving Greater Success. I am the author of the books Be An Inspirational Leader(2016) and Presidential Leadership (2013), and deliver keynote presentations on those topics and several others.

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