Flash Summary

What Got You Here Won't Get You There

How Successful People Become Even More Successful

By Marshall Goldsmith
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What is What Got You Here Won't Get You There about?

What Got You Here Won't Get You There is a self-help book that challenges successful individuals to reevaluate their behaviors to reach even greater heights. Goldsmith emphasizes that past success does not guarantee future success and outlines key habits that may be holding you back. Through insightful anecdotes and practical advice, the book teaches readers how to overcome common pitfalls such as arrogance, negativity, and withholding information. By implementing Goldsmith's strategies, readers can unlock their full potential and continue on the path to success.

Marshall Goldsmith is a leadership coach and author, specializing in business education and behavioral change. He is known for his stakeholder-centered coaching technique and best-selling books like "What Got You Here Won’t Get You There." Goldsmith's work emphasizes practical strategies for achieving personal and professional success.

10 Key Ideas of What Got You Here Won't Get You There

  1. Stop Making Excuses for Your Behavior

    Making excuses for your behavior, especially when it negatively impacts others, undermines your credibility and hinders personal growth. Recognizing and owning up to your mistakes allows you to learn from them, build trust with colleagues, and demonstrate leadership maturity. It's crucial to understand that accountability is a cornerstone of effective leadership and personal development.

    • Acknowledge Your Mistakes Promptly: When you realize you've made a mistake, especially one that affects others, don't wait. Address it immediately with those involved. This shows you're aware of the impact of your actions and are taking responsibility.

    • Seek Feedback Regularly: Make it a habit to ask for feedback from your peers, subordinates, and superiors. This not only helps you identify areas for improvement but also demonstrates your commitment to personal growth and accountability.

    • Reflect Daily: Spend a few minutes at the end of each day reflecting on your actions and their outcomes. Ask yourself what went well, what didn’t, and how you can improve. This practice helps in recognizing patterns in your behavior that may need change.

    • Set Personal Accountability Goals: Identify specific behaviors you want to change or improve. Set clear, measurable goals for these changes and track your progress. Celebrate small victories to motivate yourself along the way.

    • Apologize Sincerely When Necessary: If your actions have negatively impacted someone, offer a sincere apology without making excuses. This can help repair relationships and build trust.

    • Example

      If you're late to a meeting that you're leading, instead of blaming traffic or unforeseen circumstances, acknowledge the inconvenience caused to others. Start by saying, 'I apologize for being late and appreciate your patience. Let’s make the most of our remaining time.'

    • Example

      After receiving feedback in your annual review that your communication style can be abrupt and sometimes off-putting, instead of getting defensive, thank the person for their honesty. Then, work on developing a plan to improve your communication skills, perhaps by attending workshops or seeking mentorship.

  2. Cease the Need to Have the Last Word in Every Discussion

    Constantly needing to have the last word can alienate colleagues and stifle open communication within a team. It signals a lack of respect for others' opinions and a potential inability to listen effectively. Cultivating an environment where all voices are heard and valued encourages diverse perspectives and leads to more innovative solutions.

    • Pause Before Responding: Make it a habit to take a brief pause before you reply in conversations. This gives you time to consider if what you're about to say is adding value or if you're just trying to have the last word.

    • Ask Open-Ended Questions: Instead of jumping in with your opinion, ask others what they think about the topic. Questions like 'What are your thoughts?' or 'How do you see it?' encourage dialogue and show that you value their input.

    • Practice Active Listening: Focus on really hearing what the other person is saying, rather than formulating your response while they speak. Nodding, maintaining eye contact, and paraphrasing what they've said are good ways to demonstrate active listening.

    • Acknowledge Others' Contributions: Make it a point to acknowledge and appreciate the contributions of others in discussions. A simple 'That's a great point, thank you for bringing that up' can go a long way in fostering a collaborative environment.

    • Example

      In a team meeting, when a colleague presents an idea that differs from yours, instead of immediately countering it to have the final say, you could respond with, 'That's an interesting perspective. Can you tell us more about how you arrived at that conclusion?'

    • Example

      During a family discussion about planning a vacation, instead of insisting on your preferred destination, you could ask, 'What does everyone else think? Are there places you'd love to visit? Let's make a list and discuss the pros and cons of each.'

  3. Eliminate Negative Comments About Others

    Negative comments about others can create a toxic work environment, erode trust, and diminish team morale. Focusing on positive communication and constructive feedback fosters a supportive culture that encourages growth and collaboration. Remember, building others up rather than tearing them down strengthens relationships and enhances team dynamics.

    • Pause Before You Speak: Make it a habit to take a brief moment to consider the impact of your words before you speak about someone else. Ask yourself if what you're about to say is constructive, necessary, and true.

    • Implement a Positive Feedback Routine: Start meetings or conversations by sharing something positive about a team member's work or attitude. This sets a constructive tone and encourages others to look for the good in their colleagues.

    • Practice Active Listening: When discussing issues or conflicts, focus on listening more than speaking. This helps to understand the situation fully and respond with empathy and constructive feedback, rather than jumping to negative conclusions.

    • Challenge Negative Thoughts: When you catch yourself having a negative thought about someone, challenge it. Try to find a positive angle or understand the context behind their actions. This can help shift your perspective from criticism to empathy.

    • Encourage Peer Recognition: Create opportunities for team members to acknowledge each other's contributions and successes. This could be through a dedicated time in meetings, an internal newsletter, or a recognition board.

    • Example

      During a team meeting, instead of pointing out a colleague's mistake in front of everyone, you privately discuss the matter with them afterwards. You start by mentioning something they did well recently, then gently bring up the mistake and offer help or solutions.

    • Example

      When you overhear a conversation where colleagues are being criticized, you intervene by redirecting the conversation towards finding a solution or understanding the challenges faced by the person being criticized. You highlight their past achievements or strengths to balance the perspective.

  4. Stop Making Destructive Comments

    Destructive comments, even if meant as jokes, can hurt others and damage relationships. It's important to communicate with empathy and consideration, understanding the impact your words may have. Constructive communication promotes a positive and inclusive environment, encouraging open dialogue and mutual respect among team members.

    • Pause Before You Speak: Before making a comment, especially in a professional setting, take a moment to consider its impact. Ask yourself if it's constructive, necessary, and how it might be received by others.

    • Practice Empathy: Try to understand things from the other person's perspective. Before commenting, think about how you would feel if someone said the same to you. This can help in framing your words more kindly and effectively.

    • Seek Feedback: Occasionally, ask your colleagues or friends for feedback on how you communicate. This can provide insights into how your comments are perceived and areas where you might need to improve.

    • Apologize When Necessary: If you realize that a comment you made was hurtful or inappropriate, don't hesitate to apologize sincerely. Acknowledging your mistake can go a long way in mending and strengthening relationships.

    • Example

      In a team meeting, instead of saying 'That idea won't work,' you could pause, consider your words, and then say, 'It's an interesting idea. Can we explore how it might work in conjunction with our current strategy?'

    • Example

      After making a joke that seemed to fall flat, noticing a colleague's discomfort, you could later approach them and say, 'I realized my comment earlier might not have come off as intended. I'm sorry if it was inappropriate or made you uncomfortable.'

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What Got You Here Won't Get You There Summary: Common Questions

What Got You Here Won't Get You There focuses on the common habits and behaviors that hold successful people back from reaching even greater levels of success.

Mohammad YektaBy Mohammad Yekta
We would recommend What Got You Here Won't Get You There to ambitious individuals who are already successful in their careers but are looking to further enhance their leadership skills and interpersonal relationships. This book is perfect for those who are open to self-reflection and willing to make changes to continue growing professionally and personally.

What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful by Marshall Goldsmith is a standout book in the Career & Success field. For a concise summary and key takeaways, sign up for free on our platform. You'll be able to access insights from this book and summaries of other noteworthy books.

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