What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There

Posted July 27, 2009 in Resilience, Self-Insight, What We're Reading

What Got You Here Won't Get You ThereWhat Got You Here, Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith

Reviewed by: Glain Roberts-McCabe

The Premise: Even the most successful people can be guilty of bad habits that have the potential to limit (at best) or derail (at worst) their careers. In this 2007 offering, “uber” executive coach, Marshall Goldsmith shares his “top 20 annoying executive habits” and his tested process for creating real (and recognized) behavioural change. Goldsmith asserts that, once you achieve a certain career level, it’s not your knowledge that gets in the way of future success… it’s your interpersonal skills (or lack of). Goldsmith coined the phrase “feed forward” and, in the book, shares the steps you need to take to replace your bad habits with more effective ones.

The Bottom-line: This is an excellent read for anyone who thinks they’re already a pretty effective leader. I challenge you not to identify at least ONE annoying habit out of Goldsmith’s list of 20. The top 20 list contains things that you can easily dismiss as being more asset than liability until you read the more detailed description.

Think winning too much can be a negative behaviour? You bet it is. How about adding too much value (guilty as charged!), failing to give proper recognition and refusing to express regret? Goldsmith’s list is squirm inducing. But what’s even more interesting (or depressing) is that – once we’ve identified the annoying behaviour we want to fix – how challenging it is to convince those around us that we’ve truly changed! It can take anywhere from 12 to 18 months for people to believe that you are no longer such a bad listener which explains why reputations – once created – are so hard to shake.

What’s great about this book is Goldsmith’s play by play on what you need to do to fix yourself. The downside is that you probably need to enlist others to help. Not the least being an advocate to help you convince your cynical co-workers that you are making progress and are committed to change. No small feat!

Roundtable Rating: An excellent read for ambitious leaders who want to do even better.

Readability Factor: Goldsmith has a great writing style and peppers the book with his tongue in cheek wit and personal anecdotes.

Check out Marshall’s book and website here.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *