Thursday, July 12, 2012

What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful! by Marshall Goldsmith & Mark Reiter

Executive coaching is a growing business.  Renowned coach Marshall Goldsmith gives his perspective on some of the ways that leaders hurt their own staff and effectiveness without even realizing it. 

This book is worth reading.  That being said:

As a believer (Christian), it is my opinion that the ideology of change in this book is flawed . This author is not a believer, and thus, does not write or think like one who is filled with the Spirit.  There is certainly truth in the book, but its not all truth.  The author (1) is almost purely behaviorally oriented and does not focus on the heart of the issues revealed by these behaviors, and (2) believes that the best way to motivate anyone to change is to appeal to natural law: i.e. their basic desire to benefit themselves.  For example, the author believes that if being a less critical person will enable an employee to move up the corporate ladder...then the motivation for lessening their critical comments must come from self-interest: one's personal advancement.  While behavior change is important, changing behavior alone stands in clear contrast with Biblical teaching and Gospel-centered transformation.  I don't recommend reading this book to strengthen your Biblical foundation, however...

I do recommend reading chapters 4&5 that list and describe the top 21 habits leaders have that decrease their effectiveness and irritate their staff.  These habits are:
  1. Winning too much
  2. Adding too much value
  3. Passing judgment
  4. Making destructive comments
  5. Starting with 'No,' 'But,' or 'However'
  6. Telling the world how smart we are
  7. Speaking when angry
  8. Negativity, or 'Let Me Explain Why That Won't Work'
  9. Withholding information
  10. Failing to give proper recognition
  11. Claiming credit that we don't deserve
  12. Making excuses
  13. Clinging to the past
  14. Playing Favorites
  15. Refusing to Express Regret
  16. Not Listening
  17. Failing to Express Gratitude
  18. Punishing the Messenger
  19. Passing the Buck
  20. Excessive Need to Be 'Me'
  21. Goal Obsession
The author's descriptions of those habits (verbal and otherwise) that we all have, but don't realize, are well illustrated so that one cannot help but find two or three or four that hit 'too close to home.'  He points out that most of the time - we are unaware of these habits - and of course we all know that awareness is the first step toward change.

If you decide to continue on:  the final chapters discuss the author's recommended methodology for changing one's behavior:  (1) get honest feedback about yourself and acknowledge its truth, (2) apologize to those you have wronged - this step cannot be skipped, it is crucial, (3) 'advertise' that you are trying to change.  People have a hard time noticing your efforts - you've got to help them see that you're really trying and asking for their help.  (4)  Listening - i.e. active listening that truly engages and shows respect,  (5) Thanking - actively and intentionally acknowledging others efforts and the fact that you could not be a success without them (6) Following Up - change can easily be a passing fad unless you continually and actively check with others about how you are doing  (7) Practicing Feedforward - asking people for positive ideas on how to improve your future behavior (in contrast with negative criticism about your past). 

The above steps are Biblical in every way - not surprising that Scripture could be applied to each step.  I wonder what Marshall would think of that! 

The last few chapters contain some good advice!  I can recommend this book - just know that I don't agree with everything in it. 






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