What Got You Here Won’t Get You There pinpoints key attitude issues that are somewhat common (but detrimental) in workplace behavior – things that are seen every day, but aren’t always recognized.

In the book, author Marshall Goldsmith describes incorrect mindsets that hold success back and how to correct them. Some of the examples include:

  • Punishing the messenger: getting angry at people who are just trying to help.
  • Negativity, or saying how something won’t work: sharing negativity when you weren’t asked to do so.
  • Winning too much: trying to win even when it doesn’t matter.

After briefly describing these bad habits, Marshall addresses each one in its own chapter by using his own examples from his years of experience as a leadership coach.

I liked a quote he used in the beginning, asking readers to be open-minded and understand that he is in a position to correct:

“A journalist once told me that the most important thing he’s learned in his career is this: ‘Put a comma in the wrong place and the whole sentence is screwed up.’ You may have an admirable skill set for a journalist. And yet, if you put a comma in the wrong place, that tiny sin of commission can wipe out the rest of your contributions.

“Think of me as the friendly grammarian who can shield you from bad punctuation.”

That quotation spoke to me. We need to be receptive to other people’s advice or suggestions, even if they are hard to take.

“Winning too much” was another section of the book that I found enlightening. Specifically, trying to win even when it really doesn’t make sense to.

The book demonstrates this with the following example: a father and son were playing basketball together. The son was 9 years old. The father played fairly with his son at the beginning of the game, but as it progressed (10 minutes into it), the father started trash talking, heavily guarding his son, and then was happy when he beat the kid 11 to 2.

This is a really big problem when shown in the workplace. Needing to win can overshadow valuable perspectives from other team members and put them down. It can make you seem overbearing and irritating, not to mention look rather stupid. I’ve known a few people like this and have been guilty of it myself (heh heh). Most importantly, it limits your success as a professional and human being.

In conclusion: I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in workplace attitude issues and how to address them.

Questions? Comments?

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