What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful

What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful

by Marshall Goldsmith

Are you aware of your qualities that might be holding you back from success?

What Got You Here Won't Get You There reveals the common behaviors that we struggle to overcome, which can prevent us from reaching greater success. It contains practical tips to improve your people skills, boost your leadership qualities, and take your career to new heights, ensuring you thrive more than ever before.

Summary Notes

The Success Delusion Dilemma

Have you ever experienced a moment at work when you felt unbeatable, as if you might be giving yourself too much credit?

That's exactly what the "Success Delusion" is all about. It's when professionals tend to overestimate their own contributions and achievements. This notion is anchored in four main beliefs: pride in past successes, a solid belief they can succeed again, an unshakeable optimism about what's to come, and a strong sense of control over their own destiny.

Now, while these beliefs can supercharge our drive to take on new challenges and pursue ambitious goals, they have a flip side. They can make adapting to change tough. This difficulty often stems from cognitive dissonance, which occurs when new ideas clash with our existing beliefs.

So, how can we overcome this resistance to change? The solution lies in aligning with what's known as natural law, which encourages us to act in accordance with our deepest values.

Identifying what truly matters to us—whether it's earning more, increasing our influence, or making a meaningful difference—can serve as a powerful motivator for change. This method recognizes how complex our motivations can be and offers a way to grow and change, even in the face of deeply ingrained beliefs.

Actions to take

Overcoming Counterproductive Habits

Leaders are often seen as role models, but sometimes they have habits that don't align with this ideal. These habits can be so deeply ingrained that it feels like they're part of their very nature. But the truth is, they are actually something that can be changed. Otherwise, it could lead to a work environment with low morale and trust.

Consider the impact of a manager who never recognizes their team's efforts, or a supervisor who always blames others instead of owning up to their mistakes. Such actions can negatively affect the work environment, leading to negativity and dissatisfaction.

But here's a good news: leaders capable of identifying and actively working to eliminate these detrimental habits can significantly improve their relationships with the team, and this foster a positive atmosphere based on respect and teamwork.

The first step towards change is understanding that these bad habits aren't permanent. They are the results of our choices, and these choices can be changed. Leaders who are willing to work on themselves and prioritize their team's success over their own egos can achieve remarkable results. By committing to personal growth, not only do they benefit themselves, but they also lay the groundwork for a thriving organizational culture.

Actions to take

Avoiding the Pitfalls of Goal Obsession

How important is it for you to achieve your goals?

Having a strong focus on our goals can be both beneficial and detrimental. On one hand, this dedication motivates us to overcome challenges and aim for excellence. But, issues can arise when our fixation on these goals causes us to overlook the broader consequences of our actions. This intense focus on goals can sometimes lead us to compromise important values or neglect key aspects of our lives, such as maintaining healthy relationships with family and colleagues, or sticking to ethical standards.

Take the story of Candace, a marketing executive who seemed to be the epitome of professional success, for example. At 38, she was thriving in her career, had a loving family with two children, and had been honored as "Marketing Executive of the Year" multiple times. Her dynamic personality and creativity not only won her two personal assistants but also the admiration of her staff for her outstanding results. On the outside, Candace had achieved a level of success many only dreamed of.

However, Candace faced a significant issue that belied her accomplishments: she found it difficult to retain talented staff. This problem was largely due to how she took credit for her team's achievements. Whenever her team accomplished something significant, Candace made sure she was the center of attention when reporting these successes to her superiors. Her need to be seen as the main contributor to her team's successes created the perception that she was taking undue credit and overshadowing the efforts of others.

This behavior is a clear example of goal obsession, which, while driving Candace to remarkable achievements, came at a great cost.

To solve this, it's important for individuals like Candace to engage in self-reflection and mindfulness. It's essential to occasionally take a step back and evaluate if our relentless pursuit of goals is aligned with our broader mission and values. By identifying triggers of goal-obsessed behavior, we can begin to question our motives and the effects of our actions on ourselves and those around us.

Actions to take

Practicing Feedforward For Improvement

Feedforward is a proactive strategy that encourages looking ahead to improve future actions instead of fixating on past mistakes. It starts with identifying a personal habit that needs change and then actively asking for suggestions from others on how to make this change happen. This method is particularly useful because it overcomes the usual resistance to criticism. By discussing what can be done in the future rather than critiquing what went wrong in the past, feedforward fosters open and positive conversations.

Moreover, feedforward is grounded in the belief that, while we can't change our past, we have full control over what we do next. It shifts the focus from problem-dwelling to solution-seeking, ensuring that both the giver and receiver of feedback feel part of a collaborative growth process. This approach makes the feedback process more effective, as it is easier to accept and act on suggestions for future improvement than to defend past actions. Feedforward thus creates a mutually beneficial environment where suggestions are not perceived as critiques but as opportunities for personal and professional development.

Actions to take

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