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What Got You Here Won't Get You There

How Successful People Become Even More Successful!

By Marshall Goldsmith, with Mark Reiter

Cover of Marshall Goldsmith's book "What Got You Here Won't Get You There"

A little bit of success is a dangerous thing. It lulls us into believing that we are savvy and invincible, that what got us to this point will continue to propel us forward.

In the first half of the book, Goldsmith brilliantly chronicles the twenty-one bad habits that can emerge from the delusion of too much success with too little introspection.

These are gems. From “Passing The Buck” to “Withholding Information” (to name just two), Goldsmith manages to describe every bad boss you have ever worked for. For example, take the bad habit of “Adding Too Much Value.” You know how you want things done because, doggone it, that’s how you would do it. And you had to figure it out the hard way. The problem is that by adding your “valuable” input you may have increased the quality of the outcome by 5% — but you have diminished the enthusiasm and commitment of your employee by 50%! As you progress in your development as a leader your values begin to shift from delivery and execution to developing top people who can deliver and execute. 

The second half of the book offers a seven-step strategic plan that will get you where you want to go. These steps are equally brilliant, practical, and effective. From identify the interpersonal habits that are holding you back, to advertising  your intention to change your ways, to following up diligently, Goldsmith has covered all the bases to making deep and lasting behavioral changes. 

I learned so many things from this book. Goldsmith is the preeminent executive coach of our time. I learned as much about my craft as an executive coach from reading between the lines as I did from digesting the text. 

I learned how to be a better Myers-Briggs practitioner. Many of the examples and “bad habits” are easily recognized as classic Myers-Briggs dichotomies. Differences in preferences between introverts versus extroverts, for example. But Goldsmith doesn’t numb the reader with HR / OD psychobable such as variations in intuitive and sensing preferences or the differences between introverts and extroverts. He simply lists twenty-one bad habits followed by a simple seven-step method to improve your behavior. Brilliant!  

Most of all, I learned how to be a better leader and be a better person. All change is incremental. Goldsmith helps you understand not only how to figure out what you want to change, but also how to go about it effectively. 

I recommend this book highly if:

  • You are a leader, or aspire to be one. There is gold in these pages.
  • You are a coach, and want to learn from the master.
  • You are a Myers-Briggs practitioner and want to learn how to influence behavior without all the technical Myers-Briggs terminology.

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