What Got You Here Won’t Get You There – Part 1
Some people go through life with an unerring sense of direction. They know who they are and where they’re going. We feel secure around them. We feel that any surprises will only be pleasant surprises. They are our role models and heroes. However, we also meet some people of the opposite trait.
They think they have all the answers, we see it as arrogance. People like this don’t realize that these flaws may sabotage their otherwise golden career. Worse still, they do not realize that (a) it’s happening and (b) they can fix it. This book by Marshall Goldsmith is a map – a map that can turn the maze of wrong turns in the workplace into a straight line to the top.
Success Attainment Blinkers
Four key beliefs help us become successful. Yet each can make it tough for us to change. That’s the paradox of success: These beliefs that carried us here may be holding us back in our quest to go there.
Belief 1: I Have Succeeded
Successful people believe in their skills and talent. It’s a mantra that goes like this: ‘I have succeeded. I have succeeded. I have succeeded.’ Whether or not they actually voice it inside their heads, this is what successful people are telling themselves. It’s not because they are reminded of all the stuff-ups they’ve created, and failures endured in recent days. On the contrary, it’s because they edit out the failures and choose instead to run the highlight reel of their successes.
Belief 2: I Can Succeed
This is another way of saying, ‘I am confident that I can succeed.’ Successful people believe that they have the capability within themselves to make desirable things happen. Given the choice, they will always bet on themselves and one of the greatest mistakes of successful people is the assumption, ‘I am successful. I behave this way. Therefore, I must be successful because I behave this way!’
Belief 3: I Will Succeed
This is another way of saying, ‘I have the motivation to succeed.’ Successful people have an unflappable optimism. They not only believe that they can manufacture success; they also believe it’s practically their destiny. As a result, successful people tend to pursue opportunities with an enthusiasm that others may find mystifying. The danger with this, of course, is that unchecked, this ‘we will succeed’ attitude leads to burnout and over stretching of critical resources and focus.
Belief 4: I Choose to Succeed
Successful people believe that they are doing what they choose to do, because they choose to do it. They have a high need for self-determination. When we do what we choose to do, we are committed. When we do what we have to do, we are compliant. It’s called cognitive dissonance. The more we are committed to believing that something is true, the less likely we are to believe that its opposite is true, even in the face of clear evidence that shows we are wrong.
These four behaviours and their limiting factors highlight the theme behind this book, the reason that ‘what got us here won’t get us there.’ As Goldsmith states “Almost everyone I meet is successful because of doing a lot of things right, and almost everyone I meet is successful in spite of some behaviour that defies common sense.”
Peter Drucker put it succinctly stating, ‘We spend a lot of time teaching leaders what to do. We don’t spend enough time teaching leaders what to stop. Half the leaders I have met don’t need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop.’
Next week we will look at habits’ worth breaking!