What Got You Here Wont Get You There


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In this book, Marshall Goldsmith begins by examining the trouble with
success, explaining how previous accomplishments often prevent leaders
from gaining more success. He analyzes why high achievers are so resistant
to change due to their delusion of success, pointing out that they can’t see
that what got them here won’t get them there.
These are people who do one annoying thing repeatedly on the job and don’t realize that this small flaw may sabotage their otherwise golden career. Worse yet, they do not realize that it’s happening and that they can fix it. Goldsmith details the 20 habits that hold you back from the top rung of the corporate ladder. In his experience, these are the most irritating interpersonal issues in the workplace. For each habit, he gives examples
and practical solutions you can implement. He then describes the 21st habit, which stands separate from the other 20 habits –– not because it is a flaw, but because it is often the root of an annoying behavior.
Finally, Goldsmith addresses the problem of how you can change your interpersonal relationships for the better, and ensure that you make your behavioral changes permanent.
This summary reveals how you can identify which of these 20 habits apply to you, and how to choose the one or two you should focus on.
In addition, you will learn:
 The four key beliefs that make you successful but also resistant to change.
 Why the higher you go, the more your problems are behavioral.
 Why the 21st habit, goal obsession, may be the most destructive of all.
 How to get good 360-degree feedback from your colleagues on your own.
 How to overcome special challenges if you’re the one in charge at the workplace.

Published in: Self Improvement
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What Got You Here Wont Get You There

  1. 1. Some Impressionistic takes from the book of Marshall Goldsmith’s “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” by Ramki ramaddster@gmail.com
  2. 2. About Mr. Marshall Goldsmith  Dr. Marshall Goldsmith is a world authority in helping successful leaders get even better – by achieving positive, lasting change in behaviour: for themselves, their people and their teams.  In November 2009 Dr. Goldsmith was recognized as one of the fifteen most influential business thinkers in the world in the bi-annual study sponsored by The (London) Times and Forbes. The American Management Association named Marshall as one of 50 great thinkers and leaders who have influenced the field of management over the past 80 years. He is one of only two educators who have won the Institute of Management Studies Lifetime Achievement Award.  Dr. Goldsmith’s Ph.D. is from UCLA where he has been named one of the 75 great alumni of the last 75 years. He teaches executive education at Dartmouth’s Tuck School and frequently speaks at leading business schools. He is a Fellow of the National Academy of Human Resources (America’s top HR honour) and his work has been recognized by almost every professional organization in his field.  Mr.Marshall is one of a select few advisors who have been asked to work with over 120 major CEOs and their management teams. He served on the Board of the Peter Drucker Foundation for ten years. He has been a volunteer teacher for US Army Generals, Navy Admirals, Girl Scout executives, International and American Red Cross leaders – where he was a National Volunteer of the Year.
  3. 3. Prelude The book “What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There” a certainly a book to read & is dedicated to all successful leaders who want to “take it to the next level” and get even better. Whether you are near the top of the ladder or still have a ways to climb, this book serves as an essential guide to help you eliminate your dysfunctions & move to where you want to go. First, Mr. Goldsmith takes us on a personal journey through self-assessment with chapters titled: You Are Here, Enough About You, and The Success Delusion, or Why We Resist Change. Next, he masterfully walks the reader through the twenty-one habits that hold you back from making it to the top. The Book is unique in that the author not only explains what we must do better, more of, and improve upon – but he also explains the importance of consciously NOT doing certain things, which get in the way of our success. comments; Starting with “No,” “But,” or “However”; Telling the world how smart we are; Speaking when angry; Withholding information; Making Excuses, Not Listening; Refusing to express regret, and Exhibiting Mr. Goldsmith goes on to make the key point that what got you here, to your current position in life, cannot be counted on to take you to the next level of success. This also implies to the organizations as well/ There may very well be something standing between you and the next level of achievement & it is up to you to identify the barrier.
  4. 4. Self Knowledge
  5. 5. If you do what you have always done You will get what you have always had
  6. 6. One of the greatest mistakes of successful people is the assumption, ‘I am successful. I behave this way. Therefore, I must be successful because I behave this way!’ The Biggest Mistake
  7. 7. The Success Delusion or Why we resist change  All of us in the workplace delude ourselves about our achievements, our status & contributions .  Our delusions become a serious liability when we need change & when someone tries to make us change our ways  First we think other party is confused, Next we go into denial mode.  The criticism does not apply to us or else we wouldn’t be so successful . Finally we attack the other party & discredit the person
  8. 8. The Success Delusion or Why we resist change  These are just the surface responses  The past performance  Their ability to influence their success  Their optimistic belief their success will continue in the future  Their sense of control over their own destiny ( as opposed to being controlled by external forces)  Make it tough for us to change
  9. 9. The Paradox of Success  “I have succeeded”  They believe in their skills & talent  No matter how much they respect their teammates , when the team achieves great results , they believe it is because of their contribution.  Gets in to mindset “ I have succeeded and this becomes the obstacle
  10. 10. The Paradox of Success  I can succeed  One of the greatest mistake of successful people is the assumption “ I am successful. I behave this way.  This is the only way to success  The challenge is to make them see that sometimes they are successful in spite of this behavior
  11. 11. The Paradox of Success  I will succeed  Over confidence  Over commitment  Becomes a serious obstacle  I choose to succeed  The more we believe our behavior is a result of our own choices & commitments, the less likely we are to want to change our behavior
  12. 12. The Paradox of Success  Past habits lock down thinking.  Why Change??
  13. 13. “20 bad Leadership Habits”  All leadership manifest some bad habits that hinder their progress.  The more successful leaders become the more power a behavioral problem has to halt their rise or contribute to their downfall.
  14. 14. Habit- 1 “Winning too much” The most common behavioral problem among successful people is the all-consuming need to win, even when winning doesn’t matter. This need is often the root of many other bad leadership habits. The need to win at all costs and in all situations – when it matters, when it doesn’t and when it’s totally beside the point
  15. 15. “Adding too much value” – When someone comes to you with an idea and you immediately feel the need to improve it, you are guilty of adding too much value. This fault is common among experienced, successful people who feel that they are being told something they know or who believe that they already know a better way. Habit- 2 The overwhelming desire to add our two cents to every discussion
  16. 16. Passing judgment – Offering an opinion in a business setting is okay. But asking people for their opinion and then making a comment about it is not okay. Nobody likes to be judged. The next time you get a suggestion, remain neutral and simply say, ‘Thank you’. Habit- 3 The need to rate others and impose our standards on them
  17. 17. Making destructive comments – Many successful people believe they are straight- shooters & pride themselves on their candor. But making critical comments or sarcastic remarks is never constructive. If you speak carelessly and thoughtlessly, the recipient will be hurt & will remember, even after you apologize. Comments that undermine someone are never instructive or funny; they only cause pain and humiliation. Habit- 4 The needless sarcasms and cutting remarks that we think make us sound sharp and witty
  18. 18. Starting with ‘no,’ ‘but’ or ‘however’ – No matter how well intentioned you are, when you listen to an idea, suggestion or comment, and begin your reply with ‘no’ ‘but’ or however, you are communicating that you know better. Habit- 5 The over use of these negativity qualifiers which secretly say to everyone, “I am right. You’re wrong
  19. 19. Telling the world how smart you are – Many leaders can’t resist letting everyone know just how smart they are. If you use phrases such as, ‘I already knew that,’ you insult and alienate people, which is not very smart. Before you speak, ask yourself, Is anything I might say worth saying? If the answer is ‘no,’ simply say, ‘Thank you.’ Habit- 6 The need to show the people we’re smarter than they think we are
  20. 20. ‘Speaking when angry – The problem with losing your temper at work is that you also lose control. If you get angry, you’ll gain a reputation for being volatile and unbalanced. Habit- 7 Using emotional volatility as a management tool with or without knowledge
  21. 21. Negativity, or ‘Let me explain why that won’t work’ – Some people’s first response to any input is to point out that it won’t work and why. Such negativity may disguise itself as being helpful, but it is criticism wrapped in an ‘I know better attitude. If your first response is always negative, people will become reluctant to present you with new ideas. Habit- 8 The need to share our negative thoughts even when we weren’t asked
  22. 22. ‘Withholding information’ – In the chess game of power, withholding information is a favorite, albeit devious, gambit. Rather than giving you an advantage, however, this power play only breeds mistrust. Habit- 9 The refusal to share information in order to maintain an advantage over others
  23. 23. ‘Failing to give proper recognition’ – If you want to foster resentment among your coworkers, this failing will do just that. People need to experience the emotional payoff of having their hard work, contribution and success acknowledged and appreciated. Habit- 10 The inability to praise and reward
  24. 24. ‘Claiming credit that you don’t deserve’ – Even worse than withholding recognition is claiming credit for someone else’s work. To avoid this leadership crime, just decide that the group’s achievement matters more than your individual achievement. Habit- 11 The most annoying way to overestimate our contribution to any success
  25. 25. ‘Making excuses’ – Excuses are not acceptable. They come in two categories: ‘blunt and subtle.’ A blunt excuse is, ‘Sorry I’m late; I got caught in traffic.’ A subtle excuse is when you blame some inherent failing like, ‘I’m bad at returning phone calls.’ Ask yourself why you have such failings, and then do something about them. Habit- 12 The need to reposition our annoying behavior as a permanent fixture so people excuse us for it
  26. 26. ‘Clinging to the past’ – This is an offshoot of the general tendency to place blame, & it stems from assigning the fault for mistakes to someone or some event that happened years ago. It reflects a lack of accountability. Habit- 13 The need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; a subset of blaming everyone else
  27. 27. ‘Playing favorites’ – Leaders often say that they want to be challenged, but in reality, it is often the yes-men and -women who get in the boss’s good graces. When a person gets the boss’s approval based on something other than performance, favoritism is often the cause. Habit- 14 Failing to see that we are treating someone unfairly
  28. 28. ‘Refusing to express regret’ – Apologizing is very painful for many successful people, because they hate admitting that they were wrong. However, when you do apologize, you enable people to release ill feelings from the past and forge a new relationship in the future. Habit- 15 The inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit we’re wrong, or recognize how our actions affect others
  29. 29. ‘Not listening’ – Not listening is a common problem. This rude habit sends many negative messages such as, ‘I don’t care enough to pay attention’ or, ‘Stop wasting my valuable time.’ Leaders are often guilty of this tendency because they feel they already know what someone is about to say or they are two steps ahead of the other person. Habit- 16 The most passive – aggressive form of disrespect for colleagues
  30. 30. ‘Failing to express gratitude’ – Your automatic response to any suggestion should be, ‘Thank you.’ Yet many successful people have difficulty uttering these two simple words. Many people wait for the perfect moment to express gratitude, or feel that showing gratitude will make them appear weak. However, ‘gratitude is a skill that we can never display too often.’ Habit- 17 Failing to express gratitude is the most basic form of bad manners
  31. 31. ‘Punishing the messenger’ – This is several bad habits rolled into one. Specifically, it is the fault of responding with anger when someone tells you something you don’t want to hear even if it might be very constructive. Again, the best response is, ‘Thank you.’ Habit- 18 The misguided need to attack the innocent who are usually only trying to help us
  32. 32. ‘Passing the buck’ – Exceptional leaders take responsibility, not only for themselves, but for the people who work for them. Not accepting blame is the flip side of taking credit for other people’s accomplishments. And, it is just as destructive. Habit- 19 The need to blame everyone but ourselves
  33. 33. ‘An excessive need to be ‘me’’ – Transforming a failing into a virtue is the result of feeling that the flaw is an essential part of your make-up. When you excuse negative or destructive behavior with this attitude, it keeps you from deciding to change. Habit- 20 Exalting our faults as virtues simply because they’re who we are
  34. 34. ‘Goal Obsession’’ – This stands apart from other 20 habits not because it is a flaw but because of it is often the root cause of annoying behavior. The successful person who is goal obsessed tends to disregard everything that does not contribute to achieving the goal Key Habit- 21
  35. 35. Seven Steps to Change the Habits you find are wrong in your leadership approach The road to change
  36. 36. Step -1 Feedback  When you are requesting feedback, ask the person you are interviewing to ‘Let go of the past, tell the truth, and be supportive and helpful.’  Ask your friends, family members, co-workers and clients to participate.  If you are interviewing a person to learn about someone else, pose such questions as, ‘Does this leader clearly communicate a vision, treat people with respect and solicit contrary opinions?’
  37. 37. Step-2 Apologize  An apology serves three purposes  First, it claims responsibility for past mistakes.  Second, it announces your commitment to change and,  Third, it works as an agreement between both parties. When you apologize, say the words, ‘I’m sorry. I’ll try to do better.’ Then say nothing else. Do not qualify your behavior or make excuses for your actions
  38. 38. Step -3 Advertise  Just saying you’re sorry for past behavior is not enough. You must announce loudly and clearly, again and again, that you are committed to making a change.  This personal advertising helps you change other people’s perceptions of your behavior and it holds you accountable.  It also gives people permission to monitor your progress and offer suggestions
  39. 39. Step-4 Listen Attentively  Truly great leaders have the ability to listen attentively & make the person you are listening to feel like the most important person in the room.  Good listeners ‘think before they speak’ and ‘listen with respect.’ To employ exceptional listening skills, don’t interrupt or complete the other person’s sentence.  Don’t respond with phrases such as ‘I knew that’ or with phrases that include ‘no,’ ‘but’ and ‘however.’  Ask intelligent, relevant questions
  40. 40. The Nine rules for listening Listen Don’t interrupt Don’t finish the other person’s sentences Don’t say “I knew that” Don’t even agree with the other person Don’t use the words “no,” “but,” and “however” Don’t let your eyes or attention wander elsewhere Maintain your end of the dialogue by asking intelligent Don’t try to impress the other person with how smart or funny you are
  41. 41. Step- 5 Express Gratitude  Begin by simply saying, ‘Thank you.’  Conveying sincere gratitude is a talent and an asset. It also helps diffuse potentially volatile situations.  Go beyond good manners by performing this exercise: List the 25 people who have helped you the most in your life.  Now, write a thank-you note to each of them.
  42. 42. Step- 6 Follow up  Real, lasting change cannot occur without follow-up, which allows you to measure your improvement and reminds people that you’re working on changing.  It shows you are serious about the process: and holds you accountable; it demonstrates that you care, and that other people’s perceptions and opinions matter to you.  If you are undergoing a change, you also can ask someone supportive to coach you as you progress.
  43. 43. Step- 7 Feed Forward  Seeking feed forward is a four-step process.  First, choose a behavior you would like to change.  Second, have a one-on-one conversation with someone to explain your desire for making this change.  Third, ask that person for two suggestions about how you can make the change.  Then, accept these suggestions as feed forward ideas you will implement.  Repeat this process over and over with different people. Unlike feedback, feed forward is not about your past behavior. You can’t change the past. But, you can use sincere, feed forward suggestions to shape a better future
  44. 44. Feed it forward Step 1. Pick a behavior Step 2. Ask for two ideas Step 3. Listen Step 4. Say thanks
  45. 45. Way forward actions 1. Evaluate your life 2. Identify the problems 3.Work on change 4.Keep improving
  46. 46. You are here. You can get there. Let the journey begin!