- Hardcover: 236 pages
- Publisher: Hyperion; 1st edition (Jan. 9 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1401301304
- ISBN-13: 978-1401301309
- Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 2.2 x 24.1 cm
- Shipping Weight: 499 g
- Average Customer Review: 26 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #32,289 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful! Hardcover – Jan 2 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Goldsmith, an executive coach to the corporate elite, pinpoints 20 bad habits that stifle already successful careers as well as personal goals like succeeding in marriage or as a parent. Most are common behavioral problems, such as speaking when angry, which even the author is prone to do when dealing with a teenage daughter's belly ring. Though Goldsmith deals with touchy-feely material more typical of a self-help book—such as learning to listen or letting go of the past—his approach to curing self-destructive behavior is much harder-edged. For instance, he does not suggest sensitivity training for those prone to voicing morale-deflating sarcasm. His advice is to stop doing it. To stimulate behavior change, he suggests imposing fines (e.g., $10 for each infraction), asserting that monetary penalties can yield results by lunchtime. While Goldsmith's advice applies to everyone, the highly successful audience he targets may be the least likely to seek out his book without a direct order from someone higher up. As he points out, they are apt to attribute their success to their bad behavior. Still, that may allow the less successful to gain ground by improving their people skills first. (Jan. 2)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
By now, the CEO as celebrity is old hat. (Just start counting the books from former company heads.) That goes for the executive-recruiter-cum-president-makers. What has yet to be explored--until now--is the celebrity business coach, the individual who helps C-level executives correct flaws, whether invisible or public. A frequent interviewee in major business magazines like Fortune, Goldsmith, with the sage help and advice of his collaborator Reiter, pens a self-help career book, filled with disguised anecdotes and candid dialogue, all soon slated for bestsellerdom. His steps in coaching for success are simple, honest, without artifice: gather feedback from appropriate colleagues and cohorts, determine which behaviors to change (and remember, Goldsmith specifically focuses on behavior, not skills or knowledge), apologize, advertise, listen, thank, follow up, and practice feed-forward. Admittedly, this shrewd organizational psychologist only works with leaders he knows will listen, follow advice, and change--especially considering that he doesn't receive fees until improvements are secure and visible. On the other hand, these are words and processes anyone will benefit from, whether wannabe manager or senior executive. Barbara Jacobs
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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While that's intriguing in and of itself, Dr. Goldsmith also reveals what he usually finds in such detail that you'll see the shadow of yourself spread out across the pavement in front of you. He does this so well that I felt truly mortified to think of the times when I fell for the many bad habits (that stall career and company progress) that he so eloquently describes here.
What are these bad habits? I've paraphrased them below:
Letting winning get in the way of relationships you need
Dropping too many ideas on those who work for you
Being judgmental rather than helpful
Slamming people in public or behind their backs
Making comments that indicate you disagree with everyone that's just been said
Showing off how smart you think you are
Saying anything in anger
Keeping secret what others need to know
Not recognizing the contributions others make
Claiming undeserved credit
Refusing to take responsibility for bad results
Being focused on the past
Favoring those who agree with you
Ignoring what others are saying or shutting them up
Shooting the messenger who brings bad news
Blaming others for everything
Insisting on sticking with you bad habits after you're aware of them
Dr. Goldsmith also tells a lot of stories about how he struggles in some of these areas; I thought the best lessons came from those examples. It's clearly a lot easier to describe what needs to be done than to do it.
For those who are or want to be top executive coaches, here's a chance to learn a lot about how a master does it. He relies on lot of 360 degree interviews which are repeated to test for progress (or regression). Dr. Goldsmith also tries to open up bosses, peers, and subordinates so that they try to support the executive who is trying to change.
I was particularly impressed by Dr. Goldsmith's compensation plan: He only gets paid if an executive improves in the eyes of those who work with the executive.
Realize that his perspective is on those who have great technical and leadership skills . . . but who have interpersonal bad habits that are killing performance. Turn some of these negatives into neutrals or less negatives, and great results may follow.
In a sense, this book is a good companion to Know-How by Ram Charan who looks at those who have great interpersonal skills as leaders but don't have the technical ability to know what to do. If you pay attention to the lessons in both books, you'll probably do better.
Ultimately, I was, however, skeptical of Dr. Goldsmith's suggestions for how you might duplicate his process on your own. I suspect you'd be better off to give this book to someone who is a coach and ask them to help you by playing the Marshall Goldsmith role.
Fans of Buddhism will enjoy reading Dr. Goldsmith's many perspectives on executive life drawn from those sources.
"Imagine that you are 95 years old and ready to die." By then you (i.e. the reader) understand what is really important and what isn't, what matters and what doesn't. "What advice would this wise `old you' have for the `you' who is [receiving the advice]? Take your time and answer the question on two levels: personal advice and professional advice. Jot down a few words that capture what the old you would be saying to the younger you. Once you have written these words down, the rest is simple: Just do whatever you wrote down. Make it your resolution for the rest of the current year, and the next. You have just defined your `there.'"
Everything Goldsmith provides in this volume can help his readers to develop or reactivate what he aptly characterizes as "a built-in GPS mechanism" so that they will "be blessed with [both a map and] an internal compass that orients them automatically. They will [always] make the correct turn and end up where they intended via the most economical route...[because they possess] an exquisite sense of who they are, which translates into perfect pitch about how they come across to others."
It sounds easy, doesn't it? All you have to do is read this book and (like a magic carpet) it will get you from where you are now to where you want to be. On the contrary, for most people who read this book, the challenge is formidable. First, they must accept the fact that Pogo was right: "We have met the enemy and he is us." Then, they must focus on correcting those faults and breaking those habits that currently control their interpersonal behavior. And then they must focus each day, each moment, on avoiding those faults and habits. They cannot do it themselves. With all due respect to the value of Goldsmith's counsel, those who commit to this difficult process of self-improvement must seek the assistance of members of their family as well as associates in their workplace.
Goldsmith identifies twenty of the most common flaws, none of which is a flaw of skill, intelligence, or personality. (That's a key point). "What we're dealing with here are challenges of in interpersonal behavior, often leadership behavior. They are the egregious everyday annoyances that make your workplace more noxious than it needs to be. They don't happen in a vacuum. They are transactional flaws performed by one person against others." Throughout the narrative, Goldsmith cites dozens of real-world examples to illustrate key points but, for obvious reasons, changes the names of those involved. It should be noted that, for several decades, Goldsmith career has primarily involved providing executive coaching services to senior-level executives and he does so on a one-on-one basis. To the extent possible, he establishes the same relationship with each reader. To his credit, he has a clear sense of who he isn't (e.g. a judge of others' behavior) and what he doesn't do (e.g. define anyone else's "there"). As Goldsmith frequently acknowledges, it remains for each reader to determine which flaws are most detrimental to her or his interpersonal relationships. He also points out that many people are either unaware of their faults or unaware of the extent they are resented by others. Hence the importance of continuous feedback from family members and business associates.
The first portion of this review identifies the "there" to which the title refers. It is important to understand that you can get there only if you fully understand both what your "here" is and why. (It may not be where you think it is.) Read the book, then complete the exercise briefly described earlier so that you can obtain "wisdom" that you already possess. "Use that wisdom now. Don't look ahead. Look behind. Look back from your old age at the life you hope to live. Know that you need to be happy now, to enjoy your friends and family, to follow your dreams.
"You are here.
You can get there!
Let the journey begin."
1) Straightforward and simple advice on doing the right thing.
2) Basic steps to stay accountable.
3) Insights that are not just business focussed, but rather holistic in taking into account the family and relationships you build.
4) Useful ideas to help you stay where you are (at the top) and skills to help you move further.
This is a well rounded book that is useful for folks at every level and stage of their business and life. Well worth the read.
Todd Millar, Glenn Simon Inc.
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