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What Got You Here Won't Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful

by Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter
Hyperion, 256 pages, $16.29

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"Taking it to the next level" is a popular mantra with supervisors, and it applies to themselves as well as their subordinates. What Got You Here knocks down the walls on management and explores how successful people are able to push themselves to the next level. Supervisors who struggle with the intricacies of delegating, motivating a team and rewarding employees will benefit from this "how to" and "how not to" guide. People are raving about Goldsmith's insights and calling this book a "must have."

"A few people never seem to need any help in getting to where they want to go. They have a built in GPS system," Goldsmith writes. He goes on to say that these are not people who need his help. This book is for those who aren't quite as sure of where they are and more importantly, who they are. Managers in charge of leading others can sometimes lose touch with what they are projecting to employees, and What Got You Here's case studies and incisive observations help bring who you are into sharp focus.

We've all heard how "Nothing succeeds like success" and the business world places a premium on succeeding. Goldsmith's trick is to examine the pitfalls of success and he finds an abundance of delusions that people in power positions slip into, including:

  • The Need to Win at All Costs
  • Overestimating Contributions to Success
  • Playing Favorites
  • An Excessive Need to Be "Me"

The case studies illuminate situations where managers are not aware of their impact on a situation. For example, Goldsmith writes about Martin, a financial consultant with a chance to sell himself and his expertise to a well-heeled potential client. When the prospect says to Martin "Tell me about yourself", he's off to the races outlining past successes and future plans. Unfortunately, Martin neglects to express interest in his potential client and the man turns him down cold, believing him to be an egotistical jackass. His excessive need to be me has sabotaged his efforts.

If awareness is the key to altering behaviors that can stifle careers, feedback is essential to What Got You Here's coaching principles. Although this book is targeted at upper management, these lessons are ideal for Type A personalities and anyone with their sights set on scaling the corporate ladder. Supervisors serious about mercilessly examining themselves and changing behaviors to improve their leadership skills will be thankful for this frank, humorous, witty roadmap.

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