Before I go into some of the meat of Marshall Goldsmith’s book, What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There, I want to talk a bit about the title.
The title is brilliant. Why? Because it starts the learning and thinking before the book even begins. If you do nothing more than buy the book and reread the cover every morning, you will learn! Most book titles are meant to be teasers or mysterious or catchy, but this title is more than this.
As a coach, I think this book has a lot to offer. Instead of giving you the cliff notes version of the entire book, I am going to zoom in on a section called, Twenty Habits That Hold You Back from the Top. This is a great list and you need to check it out. When I reflect on the coaching clients I have had, I can find each and every one of their derailing factors on the list. Here are a few I want to highlight:
"#2 – Adding too much value: The overwhelming desire to add your two cents to every discussion."
Oh, my, goodness, I see this so often. People who just can’t clam it. Here’s the thing – when you weigh in on everything, you annoy people and they don’t listen. Your important contributions are lost in the fray. Here’s the test – do you need to be cut off in meetings? Notice the body language of others when you speak. Do they move in or turn away. If you don’t have eager eye contact (even angry eyes are eager), then stop speaking. We do not need your opinion about everything, but we DO need your opinions to be heard when important.
I had one client tell me he was trying to making up for others who never spoke. If you think others should participate more then ASK MORE QUESTIONS instead of giving more opinions.
"#13 – Clinging to the past: The need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; a subset of blaming everyone else."
I work with a lot of companies that have old demons in their cultural closets. I love the way Marshall worded this one. Clinging to the past is a cop out. It’s weak. If you are on the management team and people are having a hard time moving forward, it’s because you are failing to help them move forward.
"#16 – Not listening: The most passive aggressive form of disrespect for colleagues."
You, GO, Marshall! Most people make excuses as to why they are poor listeners and it’s usually about the other person. Yes, it’s passive aggressive and disrespectful. Not listening is a form of control freakdom. Management is a social act – listening is like breathing, or should be. Think about the conversations you have inside your head when you fail to listen. Realize that this self-talk is bunk and get rid of it. We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard.