Going Places | Outlook Business
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Going places
Essar Oil’s Lalit Gupta reviews What Got You Here Won’t Get You There

Marshall Goldsmith’s brilliant take on life and professional success in What Got You Here Won’t Get You There has universal appeal and is worth a read for the entire corporate world, where human relationships need to be measured more by one’s recognition of their colleagues’ efforts rather than by the profits or losses. Goldsmith, a disciple of legendary management guru Peter Drucker, talks about how business leaders need to realise that the success achieved by them is not final and there is a higher but simpler road ahead. 

Goldsmith identifies several key habits that are formed at the workplace and the ways to overcome them. He says that the fact that successful people tend to be delusional isn’t that bad. Our belief in our own wonderfulness fills us with a needed sense of self-confidence. But, Goldsmith points out, while our self-confident delusions can help us achieve great things, they can also make us resistant to change. The corporate world is full of talented individuals who have worked extremely hard to reach coveted management positions. To them, Goldsmith asks: where are you headed and do you have it in you to reach the sky?

The part I liked most about the book was Goldsmith’s advice on the importance of apologising, listening and thanking. The author hits the nail on the head when he says that “If you realise that you have done something wrong, either very recently or in the past, apologise”. It is a simple and lucid formula to clear your conscience and your relationship with your co-worker, even if it requires swallowing a bit of pride. Listening, Goldsmith says, is the first cardinal rule of management, which most of our leaders seem to have forgotten. I agree with Goldsmith when he says that when someone speaks to you, listen to him or her. Do not interrupt and always try to understand before responding. And lastly, giving your colleagues handwritten thank you notes will make their day. Go ahead, try it; it’s really worth the effort. 

Goldsmith’s effervescent and matter of fact narration captures the reader’s thought process and forces him or her to look for better outcomes in life and at work. Even the smallest positive change can bring about a real impact in the organisation, so why shy away from making one? Goldsmith exhorts leaders to be open to co-workers and encourage open dialogue. He says an effective organisation is one that recognises problems and nips them in the bud with utmost honesty and sensitivity. I would recommend this book to all my fellow leaders as a great start on the road to self-improvement.

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