In his book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, Marshall Goldsmith talks about the habits that keep successful people from going further up the ladder. And he should know. He has made a career of conducting 360 Degree evaluations at various companies. And if you’re wondering, there are twenty-one of those habits.
As I was listening to the book on my iPhone, it seemed to me that many of these bad habits come from the simple fact that we don’t know when to stop talking. We want to appear in the know. We want to appear smart. So if someone tells us something, we say we already heard it. We have around thirty reasons why someone’s suggestion won’t work. Someone’s idea gives us an even better idea, so we tell them about our even better idea.
What struck me about Goldsmith’s book is the fact that most of those reactions are totally unnecessary. It doesn’t matter if we’ve already heard the news. It doesn’t matter if we already know how to do something. It doesn’t matter if we know thirty reasons a idea won’t work. All we have to do is say thanks and then move on. Comments beyond that usually have more to do with our egos than any sincere attempt at communication.
So I came to work today with the idea of simply thanking without making comments. I think I made it five minutes. It’s harder than you think. But probably well worth the effort.