Bob Goshen is a motivational speaker and life coach from Houston who believes in telling his audience like it is. His experiences have taught him that the straightforward truth is best way in developing leaders.
Bob is among the best motivational speakers in Houston because of his passion and conviction. Furthermore, Bob is not afraid to call out corporate leaders for their shortcomings on his quest for company culture development. As he warms to his subject, he thunders forth as he warns heads of corporations to lead or get out of the way before they destroy their organizations. Bob believes that today is the day to look into your corporations and organizations and ask if those who are in the leadership have earned the trust and respect to lead. This is where culture training comes in. In his book The Power of Layered Leadership he states, “. . . there seems to be a leadership crisis as those in charge of seemingly successful companies commit financial suicide by initiating programs and policies that put egos ahead of common sense.” And “It is no longer shocking how often leaders shoot themselves in the foot—but it is amazing how fast they reload the gun and do it again!”
So, what has made Bob so passionate about leadership and motivation?
From the Flatlands of Oklahoma to Four Million Frequent Flyer Miles.
Bob was born in the tiny community of Hominy, Oklahoma, near Tulsa, where one out of every five families lives below the poverty line, according to the 2010 census. In 1945 the numbers were probably worse. In any event, Bob grew up poor. Really poor. His family of five shared one bedroom in a 400 square foot home. Bob still likes to joke that they had to go outside just to change their mind.
In time their situation improved, and they upgraded to a 600 square foot home. When Bob was four years old the family moved to Tulsa, where in time Bob attended McLain High School.
By the time Bob was a senior, his family upgraded to a 900 square foot home, and he met the fifteen-year-old cheerleader Kay on the football field. They married four years later, and as of writing have been married for over 45 years. They have three grown children, Rob, Amy, and Ashlee, and four grandchildren.
Bob says he joined the Navy Reserves because his family was so poor his Dad couldn’t afford a Boy Scout uniform for him. Scripted to be a machine gunner headed for Vietnam, Bob was pulled out of line and sent to Bainbridge, MD for six months training as a Communications Technician. Stationed on a base in Germany remarkable mostly for its huge antenna fields, he intercepted and listened to voice traffic of the enemy. Bob, the football linebacker, high school jock, dragster, and neighborhood tough guy, had become a spy.
For two years, Bob was paid to listen to people. Bob was competitive even then, and it was him against the bad guys. Bob was trained to listen intently and evaluate; he listened for consistency in messages; he learned to know strangers by their rhythms on the other end. He even listened to pauses, which sometimes indicated mistakes. As with so many of us at that tender age, how could he possibly know that he was getting his first glimpse at his life’s work? With a top secret cryptographic security clearance, equipped with a headset that wasn’t connected to a video game but could conceivably impact the course of world events, Bob learned to listen, and he learned to respond rather than react. He also learned that your comments are never really “off the record”, and that nothing could be withdrawn once it had passed human lips. He learned the value of being cautious; the value of “being slow to speak”.
These crucial lessons set Bob on the path to leadership training. With his security clearance, he obtained a job with North American Rockwell. With his new steel-toed boots and high dollar paycheck, he thought he had hit a home run. When he learned his job actually consisted of sanding Hound Dog missiles, he quit within two weeks. He didn’t know where his future was, but this wasn’t it. The same with his job at Sears as a fork lift operator. When he ruined enough merchandise, they moved him to a delivery truck, and from there he moved himself out the door.
Bob walked onto the Oklahoma State University campus with a football scholarship. Over the summer however, the head coach was fired and the scholarship was withdrawn. Bob signed up for the easiest classes to get him through, including psychology, sociology, zoology, and prophetically, speech class. With over 300 students in the class, Bob would likely have been lost in the shuffle, had it not been for the fact that he was several years older than most of the students and caught the professor’s attention. Dr. Dale Stockton engaged Bob in conversation and took him on a tour of the campus. He told Bob of all the brilliant people housed within those walls who most likely would never achieve their real potential because of their inability to communicate well. Like all great mentors and coaches, Dr. Stockton captured the imagination of young Bob, and inspired him. Bob was home at last and knew what direction he wanted to take.
Meanwhile there were bills to pay. Kay groomed poodles to help out. The windows in the Nash Rambler leaked badly when it rained. Bob got a job selling typewriters. It was the early 70s. He learned about magnetic strip cards, the earliest precursors of the computer. These cards were used by banks to tally amounts of car loans. Bob created some 62 new programs using these magnetic strip cards and then sold them to automobile dealers and to 121 banking institutions in the states of Oklahoma and Texas. Bob’s company made a lot of money, and Bob bought his way into a position of considerable equity. There he learned another of life’s unpleasant lessons: success breeds envy. There was a blow-up, and Bob sold out and moved on. Years later Bob phrased it this way: “When you punish the producer, production will stop.”
But there was a silver lining in these events; Bob was learning that it was ideas, people, and processes that inspired him, not the doing. Creating ideas and getting them successfully to market intrigued Bob, but he never forgot that it took the entire team of engineers and technical support people to make it come together. Bob reminds his audiences today: “Because many of today’s leaders believe they hold “all truth”, they continue to lose their best and their brightest to organizations and corporations that listen to their employees’ ideas and capitalize on them.” Use them or lose them. Use them, recognize them, and reward them.