Wednesday, March 14, 2007

What Got you Here Won't Get you There.

Busy days. Too busy. I am setting myself a set of strict rules for the next 90 days to allow me to handle the volume. More on that later.

I read a book on the flight back from San Francisco that a friend recommended called, "What Got You Here Won’t Get You There" by Marshall Goldsmith.

I was particularly intrigue by the title because often self-help books say things like, "If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always got". My variation of that is… "If you do what you have always done, you will go bankrupt". The reason self-help books say things in those words is that they are trying to appeal to people who don’t think they are as successful as they can be. What I like about this book is that he is appealing to people who are already successful.

The book runs through a list of 20 habits that can hold people back. Often these habits are rooted in high success. Many of them can be thought of as common arrogance (success can breed arrogance) and this is all something that we have to fight - not only as individuals but as companies.

Some of the habits:

Habit 12, making excuses, this often comes down to people answering the "why" question when what really needs to be answered is "how" – not why did it fail; but how could it succeed?

Habit 17 was failing to express gratitude. I think many people could be more grateful.

Habit 18 – punishing the messenger. Nobody likes to hear bad news but if you punish the messenger, you will not get any news and find out about things too late.

There was an entire chapter on the 21st Habit called Goal Obsession.
"By itself, goal obsession is not a flaw. Unlike adding value or punishing the messenger or any of the other twenty annoying habits, goal obsession is not transactional; it’s not something you can do to another person. But it is often the root cause of the annoying behavior. Goal obsession turns us into someone we should be.

Goal obsession is one of those paradoxical traits we accept as a driver of our success. It’s the force that motivates us to finish the job in the face of any obstacle – and finish it perfectly."

"A valuable attribute much of the time", but taken too far, it can become a blatant cause of failure.

The book has a section on how we can change for the better and even has a seven step method.

I would recommend this book to anyone who is successful and is willing to grow and learn.

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