Where perfection is the only acceptable goal.

by Marshall Goldsmith with Mark Reiter


4Our Elders'  Specific Takeaways from a "Recent Read"-What Got You Here Won't Get You There by Marshall Goldsmith with Mark Reiter

*The authors are NOT trying to fix flawed skills, flawed intelligence or flawed but unchangeable personality traits-instead they focus on "challenges in interpersonal behavior, often leadership behavior." And they conclude that the higher you go and the more important things you do, the more the problems that hold us back are behavioral and often CAN be fixed with lots of work. Of course, this work must be preceded by a recognition of the flaw and a willingness to invest the effort to change it.

*The authors identify 21 "transactional flaws" that "make your workplace more noxious [and far less productive and effective] than it has to be." Some that regrettably apply specifically to too many providers of elder care include the following 17 of the 21 "Habits That Hold Us Back," which I picked out for our purposes here:

    1. "Winning too much: The need to win at all costs and in all situations…" (Like scoring high on measures that have little to do with care and service)
    5. "Starting with 'No,' 'But' or 'However': …negative qualifiers which [not so] secretly say to everyone 'I'm right, you're wrong.'"
    6. "Telling the world how smart we are: The need to show people we're smarter than they think we are."
    7. "Speaking when angry: Using emotional volatility as a management tool."
    8. "Negativity, or 'Let me explain why that won't work.'"
    9 "Withholding information"-the number one problem in our book for elder care today.
    10. "Failing to give proper recognition: The inability to praise and reward" appropriately and consistently.
    11. "Claiming credit we don't deserve."
    12. "Making Excuses."
    13. "Clinging to the past: The need to deflect blame away from ourselves and onto events and people from our past; a subset of blaming everyone else" but ourselves (see 19 below). Amen!
    15. "Refusing to express regret: The inability to take responsibility for our actions, admit we're wrong, or recognize how our actions affect others."  A MAJOR problem throughout all levels of health care in this country!
    16. "Not listening." Ditto
    17. "Failing to express gratitude." Ditto
    18. "Punishing the messenger: the misguided need to attack the innocent who are usually only trying to help us."
    19. "Passing the buck: The need to blame everyone but ourselves."
    20. "An excessive need to be 'me:' Exalting our faults as virtues simply because they're [just] "who we are.'"
    21. "Goal obsession…By itself… not a flaw. But it often…turns us into someone we shouldn't be."  This is particularly true when the goals are wrong to begin with-like profits/filling the beds as the be-all and end-all, or scoring high on a multitude of measures we or others have created but which we know mean little if anything for improving the care and service being provided, while ignoring other measures that have EVERYTHING to do with that care and service.




  • Self-recognize the flaw(s) in YOU or your company-the problem is NOT "out there somewhere with someone else"
  • Agree that there IS a specific problem that needs fixing
  • Assess whether that "You Might Not Have A Disease That Behavioral Change Can Cure
  • If you do have a "disease" behavioral change can fix, take corrective action by:
  • Picking the right thing(s) to change-don't be delusional about what must really change
  • Seeking and embracing the truth you need and must hear from others
  • Letting go of the past
  • Telling the truth about yourself and others AND THEN
  • Quit judging others and focus on improving ourselves by:
  • Getting feedback without expressing opinions about it
  • Listening with respect and without the need to reply-making others feel like THEY are more important than you/that they are impressing YOU with how smart and funny THEY are to you
  • Apologizing sincerely and without conditions
  • Expressing thanks/gratitude
  • Stopping being prejudiced against employees/customers/clients because of "their" problems
  • Changing NOW-"Monetize" the results, create a solution and share the rewards AND THEN Follow-up with practice, routines and rewards so that change in the bad habit(s) is secured-stop "checking the boxes" and focus on action and accomplishments that really matter


Fort Pierce, Florida



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