Customer Review

237 of 269 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars His best book yet, January 12, 2007
This review is from: What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful (Hardcover)
First, full disclosure: I LOVE Marshall Goldsmith. He is a regular guest speaker at my course "Creativity and Personal Mastery" at both Columbia Business School and London Business School. He generously contributed a blurb for my book "Are YOU Ready to Succeed: Unconventional Strategies for Achieving Personal Mastery in Business and Life". He has given me sage advice many times. He is a good friend and trusted colleague.

Despite our relationship I have not reviewed any of his other books. Most are quite good but I am not sure that I would recommend any with the possible exception of Leader of the Future 1 & 2. (More disclosure - I have a small piece in the latter).

This book is different. Run and get it. I'll tell you why.

Marshall is lean as a rail, bald with a fringe of white hair and he cackles infectiously. If he was in a line up and you were picking persons that you thought would be spellbinding orators, you would pass on him. Yet, clad in his trademark green T-shirt and khaki trousers, he has repeatedly held my entire class in thrall. Many, many persons have told me that they got so much from his talk and thanked me for inviting him.

It is this voice, conversational and common-sensical, that comes through in this book. The same voice comes through in his magazine columns but not in his other books. And it is gold.

His insights are powerful. Here is an example: Have you ever had a subordinate come to you with a great idea? Your eyes light up and you exclaim "Brilliant!" You praise her effusively and suggest ways in which that idea could be made even better. In your mind you are being a supportive boss. Then you sit back and wait for her to follow through. But somehow she doesn't. The excitement and passion are simply not there. You chalk her down as "Lacks implementation effectiveness" and never even consider your own role in this failure. Some variation of this has happened to me many times and I never could figure out why.

What you have done is "added too much value". Your comment of "brilliant" is a judgment and your suggestions for improvement are actually a takeover of her idea. Maybe you improved her original idea by 10% but you reduced her commitment by 50% or more. She no longer feels pride of ownership and this is what is reflected in the lackluster follow on performance.

So what should you do instead? Read the book to find out!!

Here is another example: The entire corporate world is hung up on the notion of feedback. When is the last time you jumped up and down with excitement, singing and dancing, at the thought of receiving 'feedback' from your boss? (You should see Marshall enact this roleplay - he is a SCREAM!!) Feedback brings about anxiety, defensiveness and self-justification. Marshall has a better way - feedforward. In essence the focus is on what needs to be done now to achieve a goal you want to reach instead of what you did right or wrong in the past. Trust me, it works a whole lot better.

There are many, many such insights. I was - and perhaps still am - guilty of "winning too much". I'll bet that you are also. But I am now explicitly aware of it and know that I am better than I was.

The great thing about Marshall's work is that the principles are very easily extrapolable far beyond your worklife. Innumerable persons have become better parents, children and spouses by applying them.

Marshall aims to make you a better manager and a more effective executive. But in the process he also makes you a better human being. And that is why I applaud him so strongly.

[...]
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Review Details

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Reviewer

Srikumar S. Rao
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   

Location: Commack, NY USA

Top Reviewer Ranking: 4,304