Saturday, March 12, 2011

What Got You Here Won't Get You There...


The book of the week was What Got You Here Won't Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith. This book has a lot of merit. I was most interested in the '20 Habits You Need to Break.' There are quite a few that I can even see I do and something I should work on stopping and without reading that it's a bad habit I never would think to stop doing it.

Often in the leadership world, our coaches spend all their time teaching us the things we need to start doing, but seldom is there any emphasis on what habits we should stop doing.  And it's very important if you want to make a jump from middle management to upper management. The higher you get up the ladder, the more well-rounded you need to be. You can't just be technical or just be a good communicator. You need to have the whole package to set you apart from others.

The Habits to Stop:

1. Winning too much: The need to win at all costs and in all situations – when it matters, when it doesn’t, and when it’s totally beside the point.

2. Adding too much value: The overwhelming desire to add our two cents to every discussion.

3. Passing judgment: The need to rate others and impose our standards on them

4. Making destructive comments: The needless sarcasms and cutting remarks that we think make us sound
sharp and witty.

5. Starting with “No,” “But,” or “However”: The overuse of these negative qualifiers which secretly say to everyone, “I’m right. You’re wrong.”

6. Telling the world how smart we are: The need to show people we’re smarter than they think we are.

7. Speaking when angry: Using emotional volatility as a management tool.

8. Negativity, or “Let me explain why that won’t work”: The need to share our negative thoughts even when we weren’t asked.

9. Withholding information: The refusal to share information in order to maintain an advantage over others.

10. Failing to give proper recognition: The inability to praise and reward.

11. Claiming credit that we don’t deserve: The most annoying way to overestimate our contribution to any success.

12. Making excuses: The need to reposition our annoying behavior as a permanent fixture so people excuse us for it.

13. Clinging to the past: The need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; a subset of blaming everyone else.

14. Playing favorites: Failing to see that we are treating someone unfairly.

15. Refusing to express regret: The inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit when we’re wrong, or recognize how our actions affect others.

16. Not listening: The most passive-aggressive form of disrespect for colleagues.

17. Failing to express gratitude: The most basic form of bad manners.

18. Punishing the messenger: The misguided need to attack the innocent who are usually trying to help us.

19. Passing the buck: The need to blame everyone but ourselves.

20. An excessive need to be “me”: Exalting our faults as virtues simply because they’re who we are.

It's not uncommon to see a few traits listed that apply to you. It is your job to notice these flaws and work to correct them. I know I'm going to!

This book was good. There are a lot of examples that help put these habits into context. As always, if you have any questions on the book don't hesitate to ask. I would be more than happy to help anyone that wants it.

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