“What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”
by Marshall Goldsmith

Book Review Written By Danielle Woods

At the most recent Women’s Network Luncheon, the fierce and fabulous women at my table suggested I read the Dream Manager by Matthew Kelly. After devouring it in a weekend, my mind was open to looking at the way we work and our interactions with others in a new way. I was thirsty for more so I did the logical next step and asked Audible for a good follow up read and was instantly intrigued by a cover that said “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There”. Whoa, Audible really does know me well. Well enough to know that I’m always looking for personal development ideas on taking things in my professional life to the next level anyways, but I’m guessing that describes most of us reading a Women’s Network Must Read book review. Read on and let’s decode how to “Get There” together, shall we?

In “What Got You Here”, we learn early on that technical skills are not the issue in getting from the place that we are to the place we want to be. You and many other people just like you have the technical skills to slay your dream position and even if you don’t, that isn’t the biggest issue. Our mindset and behaviors are what define us as either just good or great. Fortunately, these things are somewhat easy to mold and if you are thinking about changing for the better, you’ve already completed the first step says the author.

“If you want to change anything about yourself, the best time to start is now. Ask yourself, “What am I willing to change now?” Just do that. That’s more than enough. For now.”

― Marshall Goldsmith, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

The next hurdle is doing an overhaul on how you see yourself says Goldsmith. He warns that we need to become cognizant of how we take in and send out information, warning that the higher your position, the more your thoughts sound like orders to your coworkers. The author also warns us that a common pitfall is allowing others to tell you so many positive things about yourself that you become big headed and stop being able to see flaws that may be opportunities for improvement (I want to work at the office this guy is working at). His suggestions? Learn that it is ok to question your own flaws, get honest about how you can improve, and begin identifying traits that you want to stop just as much as traits you want to start.

“We spend a lot of time teaching leaders what to do. We don’t spend enough time teaching leaders what to stop. Half the leaders I have met don’t need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop.”

― Marshall Goldsmith, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

When working with a subordinate, Goldsmith suggests that you listen, listen, listen. Don’t listen to respond, just listen to understand. Know that almost all your employees are motivated by the same four things (money, power, status, and popularity) and that we have to lead by understanding what motivates our team rather than what we want. The best thing you can do, is give away all the credit for every success and give out recognition where its due without fail. Goldsmith’s Pro-Tip: Create a To-Stop list today of time wasters and energy suckers, then make a To-Praise list and make sure you have sent out praise routinely to the people on that list.

“People will do something—including changing their behavior—only if it can be demonstrated that doing so is in their own best interests as defined by their own values.”

― Marshall Goldsmith, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

“What Got You Here” promises to be a read that helps successful people become more successful by doing simple things that other’s have forgotten like saying Thank You, remembering to focus on the person you’re speaking with, and not letting our successes change our ever-present quest to become the best person we can be. I certainly think after reading this book that the directions it provides can help any of us be a more proficient leader, team member, and employee by doing the simple work of redirecting our mindset. While I wasn’t blown away by any of the revelations in this book, I would definitely nominate it as one of the Top 10 Books to Buy Your Manager on Bosses Day (that’s totally a thing right?). For more ideas on how to go from good to great, grab “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” by Marshall Goldsmith and enjoy it for yourself.