What Got You Here Won't Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith is a book that addresses leadership and personal development, focusing on the idea that the behaviors and habits that lead to success at one stage of your career may not be effective at higher levels of leadership. Goldsmith identifies specific habits that can hold leaders back and provides insights on how to overcome them. Here are the key ideas from the book:
Leadership Success and Stagnation
Goldsmith begins by acknowledging that many successful people reach a plateau in their careers where their past behaviors, attitudes, and habits are no longer effective for continued success.
The Twenty Habits
The book identifies twenty common habits or behavioral challenges that can hinder personal and professional growth. These include behaviors like:
Winning too much (the need to always be right)
Adding too much value (the desire to contribute to every discussion)
Making destructive comments
Refusing to express regret
Not listening effectively
Failing to give proper recognition
Feedback is Key
Goldsmith stresses the importance of feedback from others in identifying and addressing these habits. He encourages leaders to seek honest feedback and to be open to changing their behaviors.
The Importance of Self-Awareness
Developing self-awareness is a critical step in recognizing and changing problematic habits. Leaders must understand how their behaviors affect others and the organization.
Apologizing and Making Amends
Goldsmith emphasizes the significance of apologizing when necessary and taking steps to make amends for past actions. This can help repair damaged relationships and build trust.
Instead of dwelling on past mistakes, Goldsmith introduces the concept of "feedforward," which focuses on providing suggestions for improvement and moving forward.
Change Requires Effort and Commitment
Changing long-standing habits is challenging and requires commitment and effort. Goldsmith encourages leaders to make a conscious effort to address their problematic behaviors.
The Role of Leadership Coaching
The book discusses the value of leadership coaching and how a coach can help leaders identify and work on their habits effectively.
Measuring Progress
Goldsmith suggests using metrics and regular assessments to track progress in changing behaviors and habits.
Sustaining Change
The book explores strategies for maintaining behavioral change over the long term, including accountability and support systems.
Personal Responsibility
Goldsmith emphasizes that ultimately, leaders are responsible for their own behavior and must take ownership of their personal development and growth.
Continual Improvement
The book's underlying message is that leadership is an ongoing journey of personal growth and improvement. Leaders should constantly strive to become better versions of themselves.

"What Got You Here Won't Get You There" offers valuable insights for leaders looking to evolve and excel in their careers. By identifying and addressing unproductive habits, leaders can adapt to new challenges and continue to achieve success in their roles.