Navigating the path to career success is often a journey filled with pitfalls and plateaus.
Even high achievers find themselves hitting a wall, unsure of how to move further up the ladder.
The secret to breaking through doesn’t always lie in new skills or networking; sometimes, it’s about introspection and behavioural change.
In this blog post, we’ll delve into five transformative lessons from Marshall Goldsmith’s groundbreaking book, What Got You Here, Won’t Get You There, providing you with actionable insights to supercharge your career progression.
- Identify bad habits: “People will do something—including changing their behaviour—only if it can be demonstrated that doing so is in their own best interests as defined by their own values.” Marshall Goldsmith argues that high achievers often plateau in their careers due to behavioural flaws they aren’t aware of. Recognising these bad habits is the first step to professional growth. It’s not your skills but often these unnoticed behaviours that can stall your progress. Take stock of your actions and understand how they affect those around you.
- Solicit feedback: “Successful people are great at soliciting feedback that is specific to understanding how their behaviour affects their performance.” The book underscores the importance of gathering feedback from peers, subordinates, and mentors. Most people are reluctant to provide honest feedback unless asked. Seeking out this external perspective can be eye-opening, revealing the true impact of your behaviour and offering actionable insights on what needs improvement.
- Apologise and advertise: “An apology is a great way to have the last word.” Once you’ve identified your bad habits, the next step is to admit your faults and apologise genuinely. But the process doesn’t stop there. You should also ‘advertise’ the fact that you’re actively working to change your behaviour. This creates a support system around you; when people are aware of your intentions, they are more likely to offer constructive feedback and assistance.
- Make incremental change: “You can’t get better if you don’t know what you’re doing wrong.” Rather than attempting a complete overhaul of your behaviour, Goldsmith advocates for making incremental changes. Pick one habit to work on at a time. Focus on it until you see improvement. This targeted approach allows you to commit your full attention to one aspect, making the change more sustainable and easier to measure.
- Follow up: “Follow-up is how you measure your progress.” Lastly, maintaining the change is as crucial as the change itself. Regularly check in with the people who are affected by your behaviour and who you’ve asked for feedback initially. This keeps you accountable, shows that you are committed to ongoing improvement, and allows you to adjust your course as needed. It also demonstrates to others that their input has value, reinforcing a positive cycle of behavioural improvement.