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In the fast-paced world of business and leadership, it’s easy to get caught up in the idea that our past successes will continue to propel us forward. But what if we told you that what got you here won’t necessarily get you there? We find that many of our clients come to us when they hit the realisation that what they’re doing is no longer working for them.

We often assume that our past achievements are a reliable predictor of future success. After all, if we’ve climbed the corporate ladder or achieved a certain level of recognition, shouldn’t that trajectory continue indefinitely?

Marshall Goldsmith’s book, “What Got You Here Won’t Get You There” challenges the conventional wisdom around repeating what has worked in the past and provides valuable insights for anyone looking to elevate their personal and professional life.

While there’s much to be learnt from past experiences, we find that what worked before may not be sufficient to overcome new challenges or reach higher levels of achievement or new levels of thinking.

The skills and behaviours that propelled us forward initially may become obstacles as we aim for greater heights and we may need to develop new behaviours to truly excel as leaders. This arises in a very marked way for people moving from professional (e.g. Engineers, Accountants, IT Professionals) to leadership roles where the focus shifts from delivering directly to delivering through others.

The Twenty Habits Holding You Back

Goldsmith identifies twenty common habits that can hinder our progress. These include:

  1. Starting with “No”, “But” or “However: The overuse of these negative qualifiers, which secretly say to everyone, “I’m right. You’re wrong.”  We say try ‘AND’ instead!

  2. Adding Too Much Value: The urge to contribute our opinions and ideas excessively – smothering opportunities for others to learn and grow. We say try consistently asking ‘What do you think?’ to encourage others to grow.

  3. Withholding information: The refusal to share information to maintain an advantage over others or in belief others can’t be trusted. We say, the more you show trust, the more people lift to meet your expectations.

  4. Making Excuses: Shifting blame instead of taking responsibility.

  5. Not Listening: Failing to truly hear others. We say, demonstrate active listening by feeding back what you’ve picked up and checking – Ask ‘Have I got that right?’

Something You Can Do

Goldsmith emphasises the importance of feedback. Without honest input from others, we remain blind to our blind spots. We particularly love and often use his concept of “feedforward,”  (check out our post on Feedforward here) where we seek suggestions for improvement rather than dwelling on past mistakes. Asking how we can be ‘even better’ is a sign of humility and a commitment to growth, while in no way suggesting current performance is problematic! It’s a practice that successful leaders embrace.

Whether you’re a seasoned executive, an aspiring entrepreneur, or someone seeking personal growth, this book offers valuable lessons. Remember, success is not a one-time achievement; it’s a journey of adaptation and evolution.

So, what will get you there? The willingness to learn, change, and embrace new ways of thinking and behaving.

If you sense there’s more to achieve, new levels of thinking that you can explore, if you desire to elevate your leadership and magnify your impact, and soar, then we invite you to reach out to us at and discover how our Elevate coaching

or our SOAR Leadership Programme

can empower and support you as you embark on a journey of growth, fulfilment, and transformation. We’ll be delighted to help you.