Posts Tagged ‘career’

20 Key Habits

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

People who have read my book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There often tell me they found themselves several times in the book!

What habits could you stop that are holding you back from getting to the top?

Look at the list below to find the 20 habits I often find in successful people. I help successful leaders become even more successful by helping them stop these habits:

1. Winning too much: the need to win at all costs and in all situations - when it matters, when it doesn’t, and when it’s totally beside the point.

2. Adding value: the overwhelming desire to add our two cents to every discussion.

3. Passing judgment: the need to rate others and impose our standards on them.

4. Making destructive comments: the needless sarcasms and cutting remarks that we think make us sound sharp and witty.

5. Starting with “No,” “But,” or “However”: the overuse of these negative qualifiers which secretly say to everyone, “I’m right. You’re wrong.”

6. Telling the world how smart you are: the need to show people we’re smarter than they think we are.

7. Speaking when angry: using emotional volatility as a management tool.

8. Negativity, or “Let me explain why that won’t work”: the need to share our negative thoughts even when we weren’t asked.

9. Withholding information: the refusal to share information in order to maintain an advantage over others.

10. Failing to give proper recognition: the inability to praise and reward.

11. Claiming credit that we don’t deserve: the most annoying way to overestimate our contribution to any success.

12. Making excuses: the need to reposition our annoying behavior as a permanent fixture so people excuse us for it.

13. Clinging to the past: the need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; a subset of blaming everyone else.

14. Playing favorites: failing to see that we are treating someone unfairly.

15. Refusing to express regret: the inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit we’re wrong, or recognize how our actions affect others.

16. Not listening: the most passive-aggressive form of disrespect for colleagues.

17. Failing to express gratitude: the most basic form of bad manners.

18. Punishing the messenger: the misguided need to attack the innocent who are usually only trying to help us.

19. Passing the buck: the need to blame everyone but ourselves.

20. An excessive need to be “me”: exalting our faults as virtues simply because they”re who we are.

Source: ©2007 by Marshall Goldsmith, with Mark Reiter, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, pp. 40-41 Hyperion Books. Available from

Life is good.


Marshall Goldsmith’s 24 books include What Got You Here Won’t Get You There  - a New York Times best-seller, Wall Street Journal #1 business book and Harold Longman Award winner for Business Book of the Year. His latest book Succession: Are You Ready? - is the newest edition to the Harvard Business ‘Memo to the CEO’ series.


April 14, 2009 in Boston - Linkage: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There one day program

April 16, 2009 in New York City - IMS full day program

May 6, 2009 in Hanover, New Hampshire - Dartmouth one day program

May 11, 2009 in Chicago - Linkage OD Summit

June 16, 2009 in Chicago - Linkage: What Got You Here Won’t Get You There one day program

June 30, 2009 in Edinburgh - IMS full day program

“Succession: Are You Ready?” Tackles Toughest Management Challenge

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

Bestselling Author Marshall Goldsmith Examines Problems of Executive Transition WATERTOWN, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–With CEO tenure on a rapid decline, many CEOs will soon be faced with the challenge of handing the baton over to a successor. But it’s not only CEOs that go through tough transitions. Any leader, as they move up, around, or out of the organization, will eventually be planning a transition and preparing their successor for the job. How should an incumbent prepare to let go? When is the right time to start identifying potential successors and what is the best way to groom them? How should stakeholders be managed during a leadership transition?

In “Succession: Are You Ready?” bestselling author Marshall Goldsmith offers candid analysis and advice on the problem of succession from the outgoing executive’s perspective. Goldsmith, ranked among the top 10 executive educators by the Wall Street Journal, has coached over 80 major CEOs through a leadership transition. Based on his experience, Goldsmith addresses the following succession issues:

·   Why leadership transition is the greatest challenge for any leader; ·   Why thinking about succession as early as possible will ensure an effective transition; ·   How to identify and mentor potential successors and build a solid pipeline; ·   How to avoid internal political disasters when more than one candidate is being considered; ·   How to understand the personal dynamics of developing a successor and how to overcome the predictable biases and blind spots; ·   How to know when it is time to step down; ·   How to work with the board and other stakeholders, and what to expect from them during the succession; ·   How to let go and hand over responsibility with class and grace. From choosing and grooming a successor while sidestepping political minefields, to finally handing over responsibility, “Succession: Are You Ready?” walks leaders through each step in the succession process. About the Author Marshall Goldsmith is a world authority in helping successful leaders achieve positive, lasting change in behavior – for themselves, their people, and their teams. Goldsmith is the New York Times bestselling author or coeditor of 24 books, including “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There,” which won the Harold Longman Award for Best Business Book of 2007.

His major professional acknowledgements include: BusinessWeek’s most influential practitioner in the history of leadership development; The Economist’s most credible advisers in the new era of business; The Wall Street Journal’s top 10 executive educators; Forbesfive most-respected executive coaches; Fast Company’s preeminent executive coach in America; The Times50 most influential living business thinkers; and the American Management Association’s 50 great thinkers who have most impacted the field of management over the past 80 years.

Goldsmith is the cofounder of Marshall Goldsmith Partners. In 2006, Alliant International University named its schools of business and organizational psychology the Marshall Goldsmith School of Management. He is one of the few executive advisers who have been asked to work with over 100 major CEOs and their management teams. His weekly columns appear on and Almost all of his articles, videos and audio are available online at

“Succession: Are You Ready?” by Marshall Goldsmith; Harvard Business Press; February 10, 2009; Hardcover: $18.00/HC; 110 pages; ISBN: 978-1-4221-1823-8  

Learning to Ask

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

I’ve learned during my career that no matter how much you have achieved, to get to the next level you are going to have to get even better. As you go through my online library at, you’ll find solid suggestions and proven advice to take you on your journey to “there.”

As an executive educator, my mission is to help successful leaders achieve positive, lasting change in behavior for themselves, their people, and their teams. My personal-coaching clients are either CEOs or executives who have the potential to become CEOs in major organizations. They have already achieved megasuccess—and are fully committed to getting even better.

As a board member of the Peter Drucker Foundation for 10 years, I had the privilege of listening to Peter speak on many occasions. One of the reasons that he is quoted so frequently is that he had the gift of distilling meaningful concepts into short phrases. One of my favorite Peter Drucker quotes is, “The leader of the past knew how to tell—the leader of the future will know how to ask.”

My first suggestion for you is simple. Start asking. If you are a leader in today’s rapidly changing world, you are probably managing knowledge workers. Drucker’s definition of “knowledge workers” was employees who know more about what they are doing than their boss does. It is hard to tell people who already know more about their work than we do what to do and how to do it. That’s why we have to ask, listen, and learn from them. We should focus on helping them become more effective as opposed to judging them from our superior vantage point.

Start asking your direct reports, “How can I do a better job of helping you become even more effective?” Asking works. And this isn’t just a theory. Extensive research shows it’s a fact. My partner, Howard Morgan, and I published a study on leadership development involving more than 86,000 respondents from eight major corporations. Our findings are hard to debate.

Life is good.