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Written by Bob Tribble   


What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

The American Management Association recently named Marshall Goldsmith one of the fifty great thinkers and business leaders who have impacted the field of management in our nation.

Goldsmith addresses the issue of how to become a more effective manager in his book “What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful.”

In the book the writer addresses the problem of successful people who have a tendency to be oblivious when it comes to their own shortcomings. It also focuses on twenty specific habits that interfere with a professional person’s upward mobility.

Goldsmith writes in the book, “I train people to behave effectively in the workplace. I confront them with what everybody really thinks about them. Assuming that they accept this information, agree that they have room for improvement, and commit to change their behavior, then I show them how to do it.”

Most successful people are already emotionally invested in the level of success they have already achieved, and they often tend to be blind towards their weaknesses. What makes them great students of the Goldsmith technique is that like golfers they always want to get better.

Goldsmith writes in his book that no matter what level of success you have achieved in the workplace, you are probably as guilty as the wealthiest CEO of deluding yourself about your achievements, your status and your contributions.

Goldsmith included himself in his analysis of the successful person’s mindset when he says that we all:

  • Overestimate our contribution to a project
  • Take credit, partially or complete, for successes that truly belong to others
  • Have an elevated opinion of our professional skills and our understanding among our peers
  • And exaggerate our projects impact on net profits because we discount the real and hidden cost built into them

The writer has discovered that taking employees to the next level was harder than he thought it would be because successful people tend to have an unshakable belief in themselves. He says the challenge is to make them see first that sometimes they are successful in spite of their bad behavior.

The book contains solutions and explanations for the twenty most common behavioral mistakes that interfere with the lives of professionals. Each of those chapters include real life examples of wrong headed behavior as well as a road map to avoid the bad habits.

Goldsmith proposes a guideline that emphasizes the importance of making other people feel important by paying attention to what they say. “The ability to make a person feel that, when you are with that person, he or she is the most important person in the room is the skill that separates the great from the near great,” he writes.

The author’s plan for making the other person feel like a million bucks includes the following guidelines:

  • Listen
  • Don’t interrupt
  • Don’t finish the other person’s sentences
  • Don’t say “I knew that.”
  • Maintain your end of the dialogue by asking questions that show you are paying attention, move the conversation forward and require the other person to talk while you listen

Goldsmith’s book seems to have one sole purpose and that is to assist professional people towards their goal of making it to the top.

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