What Got You Here Won’t Get You There | Marshall Goldsmith

Summary of: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful
By: Marshall Goldsmith


Have you ever marveled at your accomplishments and wondered what can make you ascend even more? ‘What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful’ by Marshall Goldsmith, delves into this enigma. The book poignantly articulates how successful individuals often fall into the trap of flawed reasoning, where they associate success with their corresponding behavior. In this summary, we will unveil the dangers of erroneously attributing success to bad behavior, the importance of recognizing and avoiding making bad decisions, and the cruciality of addressing bad habits ingrained in our personalities.

The Danger of Mistaken Attributions

Many of us are guilty of superstitious thinking, attaching too much value to bad practices we associate with success. The flaw with this mindset is that we often succeed in spite of our behavior, not because of it. The author recounts an executive who believed his terrible listening skills were crucial to his success. This kind of flawed logic can be dangerous, as it prevents personal growth and can become a hindrance in the future. As we climb the corporate ladder, our people skills become more valuable, and mistakenly attributing success to bad behavior can lead to detrimental consequences.

Appreciating Smart Choices

The fast-paced business environment of today’s age calls for employees to achieve great results constantly, and to achieve it, individuals must bring something new to the table. We often honor employees for their achievements, but we seldom acknowledge individuals’ smart choices when they avoid making a bad decision that would have cost the company. Most companies considered this a weakness. However, preventing a bad deal could have a more significant impact on the bottom line than pulling off a great sale. Companies’ culture must change; it must encourage employees to stop engaging in destructive behavior. For individuals to make smart choices, they should take their time and slow down before they make any significant decisions that may affect the company down the line. This change should start at the top, and companies should appreciate smart choices from their employees.

Breaking Bad Habits for Success

Successful people often hold onto bad habits, thinking that it’s just who they are. However, this behavior only holds them back in the long-term. One CEO, for instance, refused to give positive feedback to his staff, thinking that excessive praise was phony. With the author’s help, he eventually realized how his behavior was affecting his staff and started complimenting employees regularly, leading to better results. Similarly, failure to realize how one’s behavior comes across to others can hinder success. For instance, a financial expert lost the job of a lifetime because he overlooked the potential client’s needs and forgot to ask any relevant questions. Success comes with a willingness to let go of fixed notions of one’s personality and acknowledge the flaws that hurt others.

Winning at All Costs?

Successful people often struggle with the compulsive need to win, which can override their common sense and negatively impact their personal relationships. The author encourages individuals to resist the urge to prove themselves right and instead focus on what truly matters. By acknowledging this drive to win and consciously suppressing it, individuals can avoid unnecessary conflicts and foster healthier relationships. This isn’t just a professional issue; it’s equally important in personal relationships. The desire to win should be balanced with a willingness to compromise and respect others’ opinions. In essence, the author suggests it’s essential for individuals to prioritize what matters most and not allow the impulse to win at all costs to undermine their happiness.

Help Others Win

The success of a leader depends on their ability to encourage others to achieve their goals. A leader’s need to improve upon other people’s ideas can diminish the motivation and commitment of their employees, resulting in demotivation. It is essential to listen to suggestions without giving direct orders. By avoiding suggestions, a leader can avoid the confusion and dispiritedness of their employees. To be a successful leader, you must help others win and treat them as equals, fostering a democratic environment where employees can voice their opinions freely.

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