What Got You Here Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith
Well, this book wasn’t what I expected it to be at all! So much so, the double-page spread in my reading notebook that I allocated for this book is completely full, and I ran out of space to get all my thoughts and implementation notes down on paper.
What’s the book about?
In a nutshell, this book is about how to improve your interpersonal skills and behavior to help you become more successful.
Bad habits that can hold you back
The title of the book, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There,” comes from the idea that once you’ve achieved a certain degree of success, you can develop habits that prohibit your progression to bigger and better things.
Those habits might have been what helped you get to where you are now, but they are not what’s needed to get you onto the next rung of the ladder.
For example, you could be completely goal obsessed; you want to hit your targets, you want to overachieve. Now, that will get you so far and you will achieve a certain amount of success, but that could almost be seen as a kind of one-upmanship. So, for you to end up on top, someone else has to fail. That behavior can lead to you alienating the people around you, rather than listing them as your allies, which prevent you from being an effective leader.
So, as you can see, what got you so far up the ladder, won’t get the rest of the way.
That reminds me …
As I began reading this book, it reminded me of another book I’ve read, “How To Win Friends And Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. Again, that book discusses behavioral tactics that you can use to get people to rally around you and support you. If you are to be an effective leader, you will need to have similar skills in the work place, and that’s what this book teaches you.
For that reason, this book is ideally suited to those working in a business in the workplace or in teams, etc. The book is also applicable to entrepreneurs, those who work in leadership roles, or who want to improve their interpersonal skills.
It’s important to remember that what the book teaches you is interpersonal behavioral skills. The author is not teaching you how to do your job!
This book shows you how to get along better with others and how to make people your allies. You learn how the things you say and do affect others, how that affects your relationships, and how that can influence how you progress up the ladder within the workplace.
Breaking bad habits
At the beginning of the book, the author goes through the 20 workplace habits that you need to break. The remainder of the book goes through what tactics you can use to do that.
I can tell you that reading this book does make you eat a rather large piece of humble pie and makes you massively aware of all your faults. While reading through the list of bad workplace habits, I was able to identify with many of them!
Basically, this book made me take a long, hard look in the mirror!
My biggest takeaway from this book, and there are an awful lot of them, is:
“Before speaking, take a breath, and ask one question … Is it worth it?”
This addresses a problem that I have, which is to charge into conversations with objections, identifying issues, and generally playing devil’s advocate whilst I bulldoze them into the corner. Because of my ‘directness’, I often get described as brash, intimidating, and rude. Obviously, this isn’t my intention. I thought I was being helpful. So, that’s what I’m concentrating on at the moment, because it is very difficult for me to take a breath before speaking.
What did I think?
If you need some help with your interpersonal skills that will enable you to move up the ladder within your workplace, this is a great book for you.
The author isn’t pretending to be a saint who’s free of all these bad habits. He does use his own life experiences to provide examples of his personal failures to emphasize the points and drive home the messages. The book is also filled with examples of people that the author has worked with in the past and how seemingly very small behaviors can have massive repercussions further down the line.
An interesting and valuable read that’s a bit different from the usual ‘success’ books on the shelf.
Have you read “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”?
This review is my own personal experience.
If you have read this book, please share your thoughts in the comments box below.