What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

I wrote about some of the great events at the IBM Technical Leadership Exchange back in April. But there were some other, more mundane, benefits of attending, too. One of them was the “TLE Bookstore”, which had a selection of technical and leadership titles available for the effort of filling out a paper form — a far easier process than our usual internal book-buying system. So, naturally, I picked out a lot of books, including the one I just finished, Marshall Goldsmith’s What Got You Here Won’t Get You There.

Goldsmith is an executive coach; he deals with people whose salaries have a zero or two more than mine. But that doesn’t make his ideas and advice inapplicable to me — far from it.

The McGuffin here is his list of 20 “transactional flaws” that one person can commit against others. I’m happy to report that I am not guilty of all twenty flaws, but I do see a few of them in myself, including #2 (adding too much value) and #16 (not listening).

Of course, Goldsmith doesn’t just help you identify flaws — he offers suggestions for ways to combat them, especially apologizing and thanking. And he also strongly suggests that you advertise your intention to change, and find a way of really measuring how you do (or don’t) change your behavior. He also points out that you only need to change those behaviors which cause problems with other people (so I’m safe in not working on my messy files at work!).

I will be returning to this book in the New Year and developing an action plan to obviate at least some of my flaws. Recommended.

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