The tagline of “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” by Marshall Goldsmith is How Successful People Become Even More Successful. Goldsmith asserts that successful people overlook their foibles and carry bad interpersonal habits with them as they ascend. Invariably these bad habits become the obstacle to their next round of success.
Goldsmith describes 20 bad habits from Winning Too Much to Not Listening to Making Excuses. At face value, these habits seem obvious and easily correctable but the book includes good anecdotal examples of otherwise top performers and how these habits can subtly interfere. Goldsmith then offers a 7-step plan, including Feed Forward (the opposite of Feedback), which focuses on future change.
I was already a Goldsmith fan from his business magazine columns, and I can see why this book became one of his signature works. It’s a breezy read, but comprehensive. There will probably be 1-2 nuggets you can use immediately. I particularly loved Is It Worth It — pausing before saying anything and asking if what you would say is worth it to say or just let it go. I also loved how Goldsmith emphasized the interpersonal and how it’s the interpersonal skills that make or break you as you ascend in your career because the technical skills are often a given.
I recommend “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”, especially if you are at an inflection point and open to considering making a change. It will help you identify potential areas of change. It will also help you manage other people, up and down, as you’ll probably have more sympathy for other people’s struggles as you identify your own.