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What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful Hardcover – January 9, 2007
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From Publishers Weekly
Goldsmith, an executive coach to the corporate elite, pinpoints 20 bad habits that stifle already successful careers as well as personal goals like succeeding in marriage or as a parent. Most are common behavioral problems, such as speaking when angry, which even the author is prone to do when dealing with a teenage daughter's belly ring. Though Goldsmith deals with touchy-feely material more typical of a self-help book—such as learning to listen or letting go of the past—his approach to curing self-destructive behavior is much harder-edged. For instance, he does not suggest sensitivity training for those prone to voicing morale-deflating sarcasm. His advice is to stop doing it. To stimulate behavior change, he suggests imposing fines (e.g., $10 for each infraction), asserting that monetary penalties can yield results by lunchtime. While Goldsmith's advice applies to everyone, the highly successful audience he targets may be the least likely to seek out his book without a direct order from someone higher up. As he points out, they are apt to attribute their success to their bad behavior. Still, that may allow the less successful to gain ground by improving their people skills first. (Jan. 2)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
By now, the CEO as celebrity is old hat. (Just start counting the books from former company heads.) That goes for the executive-recruiter-cum-president-makers. What has yet to be explored--until now--is the celebrity business coach, the individual who helps C-level executives correct flaws, whether invisible or public. A frequent interviewee in major business magazines like Fortune, Goldsmith, with the sage help and advice of his collaborator Reiter, pens a self-help career book, filled with disguised anecdotes and candid dialogue, all soon slated for bestsellerdom. His steps in coaching for success are simple, honest, without artifice: gather feedback from appropriate colleagues and cohorts, determine which behaviors to change (and remember, Goldsmith specifically focuses on behavior, not skills or knowledge), apologize, advertise, listen, thank, follow up, and practice feed-forward. Admittedly, this shrewd organizational psychologist only works with leaders he knows will listen, follow advice, and change--especially considering that he doesn't receive fees until improvements are secure and visible. On the other hand, these are words and processes anyone will benefit from, whether wannabe manager or senior executive. Barbara Jacobs
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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As a corollary, I also felt the author perceived the world with a "cop's fallacy". Police officers sometimes assume everyone in a certain neighborhood or of a certain demographic is scum, because they are only called in to deal with crime, so most people they deal with in that neighborhood or demographic are criminals. Much in the same way, Goldsmith seems to believe that all successful people are arrogant and overconfident, when the truth is more likely that successful people who are not hugely arrogant do not lead their employers to hire a consultant like Goldsmith to fix their behavioral issues, so he doesn't interact with them.
1. IT'S A COMIC BOOK/GRAPHIC NOVEL. Sorry for the caps, but a lot of the reviews seems shocked that it's an abridged comic/graphic novel format of the book. It's a comic. More pictures than words. A comic. That makes it a super quick read, and pretty fun. The description says it's an 80-page comic. This should come as no surprise!
2. There are some annoying editing/continuity problems in the book. There seem to be some problems with keeping numbering consistent with transactional flaws 5-10, and some of the other text seems to have proofing errors that shouldn't be too hard to catch in such a short work. Ultimately, this is not a condemnation of the book, but the sloppiness of the editing and proofreading process is disappointing, especially if one of the goals here is to make graphic novel format more widely accepted and not just for superheroes.
As others have noted, after reading this condensed overview, I will almost certainly be buying the original to get the full picture and context of the "20 flaws". If the message resonates with you, you will want to look at the unabridged original as well. If this quick read doesn't float your boat or ring your bell, it's probably and hour or less of your time, and there are some useful bits in here even if you're not a fan.
Having picked it up recently for a thorough re-read (and being in a very different place in my career, business, and life!) I can tell you that this book is a profound piece of self-improvement.
For successful people who can't see their own obstacles (ie ALL of us!), this video review will show you exactly WHY Marshall's book deserves a place in YOUR executive library and why you'll dog-ear, post-it-note, and mark it up like a madman like I did.
-- David Newman, author of Do It! Marketing: 77 Instant-Action Ideas to Boost Sales, Maximize Profits, and Crush Your Competition
Goldsmith coaches people to make simple changes. These simple changes are difficult to make.
His message is delivered simple and straight. It is a difficult read because you recognise yourself in the examples of undesirable behaviours. Goldsmith cuts through the clutter with the simple advice that we all do all of these things from time to time; we only need to fix the behaviours that are holding us back.
As Goldsmith only deals with successful people he is working to fine-tune an already high performance. This is not a `self-help 1.01' book. It is for people who have become successful while exhibiting certain behaviours but who are now held back by those behaviours. It is hard to change behaviours that are associated with success. This book is not about a quick fix. It is about a long and consistent process that, if followed, will help to build new habits.
Board members struggle to gain entry to the coterie of successful directors. Choosing the right habits to build could accelerate acceptance. Choosing the wrong ones could leave you as you are; only more frustrated. The process relies on external feedback and validation to select the behaviours that need changing. This is daunting for board members given the confidential nature of boardrooms and the team-based nature of the role. Having a third party gather the feedback and qualify the participants to provide feedback makes this easier. If you don't have a professional coach to help you extract the value from this book you will need a trustworthy friend who understands boards and boardroom dynamics.
The book is a call to action. It is especially relevant for aspiring directors or those at the start of their career. It is also great for those sudden changes in board careers such as taking on a committee chairmanship or moving into a different sector. When you are new you need to be more adept at the behavioural skills to compensate for your lack of track record.
It would be exciting to apply this long process to the board performance review to build a lasting improvement in the quality of board interactions.
This is a worthwhile book; it is good but not easy.
* Julie Garland McLellan is a professional non-executive director, board and governance consultant and mentor. She is the author of "The Director's Dilemma", "All Above Board: Great Governance for the Government Sector" and numerous articles on corporate strategy and governance.