Healthcare Leadership: I Have Succeeded

We are in a study of Marshall Goldsmith’s excellent book, What Got You Here Won’t Get You There: How Successful People Become Even More Successful.  The book is relevant to all healthcare executives who desire even greater success in the future.

Goldsmith identifies four key beliefs that helped us become successful.  Each key belief can make it difficult to make appropriate and necessary changes to go from where we are now (successful) to where we want to be (even more successful).  “And that’s the paradox of success: These beliefs that carried us here may be holding us back in our quest to go there.”

Goldsmith states that sucessful people have one idea silently coursing through their minds all day.  Something like… I have succeeded… I have succeeded… I have succeeded.

You may not believe this applies to you.  In fact, you may think this is an example of egos out of control.  But Goldsmith suggests:

        “Look at yourself.  How do you have the confidence to wake up in the morning and charge into work, filled with optimism and desire and the eagerness to compete?  It’s not because you’re reminding yourself of all the scre-ups you created and failures you’ve endured in recent days.  On the contrary, it’s because you edit out the failures and choose instead to run the highlight reel of your successes.”

To prove his point, that successful people focus heavily on past success, past behavior that achieved that success, our individual “highlight reels,” and the inflated perceived value of our contributions, Goldsmith relays an interesting story from his own work.

        “If you ask successful professionals to rate themselves against their peers (as I have done with more that 50,000 people in my training programs), 80 to 85 percent of them will rate themselves in the top 20 percent of their peer group – and 70 percent will rate themselves in the top 10 percent.  This number goes even higher among professionals with higher perceived social status, such as physicians, pilots, and investment bankers, 90 percent of whom place themselves in the top 10 percent.”

What is the point?  It is obviously completely and totally impossible for 80 to 90 percent of a peer group to all be in the top 10 to 20 percent!  Totally impossible.  Yet individually, they believe it.  Try convincing these people that they need to make difficult personal and professional changes in order to go from where they are now to where they really want to be and achieve in the future. 

Goldmsith puts it well.  “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!’  The challenge is to make them see that sometimes they are successful in spite of this behavior.

You have succeeded… you are successful… and that is a very good thing.  However, do not forget that What Got You Here Won’t Get You There!

Copyright © 2011 by Dan Nielsen

Founder, National Institute for Healthcare Leadership  

Cell 214-695-1292

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