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What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There

How Successful People Become Even More Successful!

By Marshall Goldsmith
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  • Contains 10 key ideas
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What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith

Your people skills become increasingly important the further you climb up the ladder of success. What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There (2007) describes some of the bad habits that commonly hold back successful people and explains how to change them.

Key idea 1 of 10

Many of us become increasingly superstitious as we achieve greater levels of success.

Even if you don’t literally knock on wood every time you speak well of your own good fortune, you might still be prone to superstitious thinking. And you’re not alone! Many of us engage in superstitious behavior – attaching too much value to bad practices we mistakenly associate with success.

After all, when we behave in a particular way and then achieve the desired goal, we naturally think that we should behave the same way again. We believe that our success occurred because of our behavior. When, in fact, it’s quite possible that we succeeded in spite of our behavior.

The author once observed this mindset firsthand. He was working with an executive that consistently delivered superb results, but had one major flaw—he was a terrible listener. But since his performance was otherwise unimpeachable, his colleagues simply accepted this trait and decided it was useless to express their opinions.

Meanwhile, the executive became convinced that his bad listening skills were actually crucial to his success. They shielded him from bad ideas and protected his creativity.

This kind of flawed logic isn’t easy to correct because successful people are often defensive when criticized. Just imagine how the executive would respond if you told him to be a better listener! Especially considering the fact that he thought his behavior was working entirely to his advantage.

But in the future, that advantage might become a handicap. And that’s why mistakenly attributing success to bad behavior can be dangerous.

Just think of our executive: As he climbs up the corporate ladder, his people skills will become more and more valuable. And how long will his colleagues suffer his blatant disregard for their input?

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