Nielsen: Simple But Brutal Leadership Improvement

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 coaches highly successful senior executives from Fortune 100 companies to behave more effectively in the workplace.  He teaches these already successful senior executives to become even more successful – how to get from where they are now (here) to where they want to be and go (there).  Goldsmith, and the Fortune 100 CEOs who hire him know that What Got You Here Won’t Get You There!

Goldsmith engages these senior executives in what he calls “a simple but brutal regimen.”

  • “First, I solicit 360-degree feedback from their colleagues for a comprehensive assessment of their strengths and weaknesses.
  • Then I confront them with what everybody really thinks about them.
  • I help them apologize to everyone affected by their flawed behavior (because it’s the only way to erase the negative baggage associated with our prior actions) and ask the same people for help in getting better.
  • I help them advertise their efforts to get better because you have to tell people that you’re trying to change; they won’t notice it on their own.
  • Then I help them follow up religiously every month or so with their colleagues because it’s the only honest way to find out how you’re doing and it also reminds people that you’re still trying.
  • As an integral part of this follow-up process, I teach people to listen without prejudice to what their colleagues, family members, and friends are saying – this is, listen without interrupting or arguing.
  • I also show them that the only proper response to whatever they hear is gratitude.  That is, I teach them how to say ‘Thank You’ without ruining the gesture or embellishing it.  I am a huge apostle for thanking.
  • Finally, I teach them the miracle of feedforward, which is my ‘special sauce’ methodology for eliciting advice from people on what they can do to get better in the future.”


Goldsmith writes that this “simple but brutal regimen” is a humbling experience for these overachievers, but after 12 to 18 months they get better, both in their own minds and also in the opinions of their coworkers.  In other words, it works!

Buy the book.  Join the journey.  After all, what do you have to lose?

Far more important… what do you have to gain?  It is so very true… What Got You Here Won’t Get You There!

We will address several of the important steps in this “simple but brutal regimen” in coming weeks.  Welcome to the study and the discussion.

Copyright © 2011 by Dan Nielsen

Founder, National Institute for Healthcare Leadership  

Cell 214-695-1292

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