Hubris … don’t catch this disease!

HubrisHubris! All of us want to be successful in our business or profession. However, if we allow ourselves to believe that everything we do is right or there’s no need to question our premises, we may have contracted a deadly case of hubris. Alternatively, do we ask question to find a better way or where we can pivot to a better way. We can give ourselves a checkup by asking a few simple questions.

The world is changing, are we?
Change is no longer optional and we must pay attention to it. The workforce is changing. Your customers are searching for information about you in new and different ways. Are we ready to welcome younger people with a very different mindset? Are we sure that a time and energy intensive project will be long-lived enough to provide a proper return? Do we you know that whatever we’re doing is going to be obsolete sooner than we thought? If we aren’t asking these questions, we could be caught by surprise.

What would happen if …? If we are not asking, expect trouble.
I think this question is one key to success. If we are not asking what could happen, there’s a good chance of being blindsided with a nasty surprises. Even if we are skilled at asking this question, there’s a good chance of some surprises. The good news is that we will have the practice and willingness to consider the possibilities. If we are not used to asking this question, our anger may delay our reaction time before we can do something positive about the change that has happened.

Think like a beginner.
We can practice this by pretend that we know nothing about a topic or issue. This mindset allows us to ask better questions about what is happening in our business or profession. The beginners mind will let us pivot if we must.

Can you know everything you should?
The amount of available information can be overwhelming. People are thinking about things in different ways. Client’s expectations have changed. The Internet and being allowed to measure everything has changed how we think about marketing and new customers. Are you using tools that let you measure more effectively? If not, you could be falling behind your competitors in finding the right clients for your business. If you have lots of hubris, you’re not going to be seeking the best ideas from outsiders. You’re going to think you have it knocked. But, you probably don’t.

Do you have a good thinking partner?
I have lots of people I call to just kick ideas around with. You should too. These might be paid advisors who have a broad knowledge base. It could be friends who have successfully gone through a similar issue. Remember the things that are probably going to come back and bite you are things you never expect to happen. You can’t assume that just because something has happened before it’ll happen again. The challenge in today’s environment is the speed of change, not that change is happening.

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James E. McClain is the author of Successful Career Development: A Game Plan, the book upon which some of our training programs are based. He has over 30 years' experience as a corporate HR executive, small business owner with ongoing experience in career development and as a college instructor. His educational background includes a B.S. and Masters degrees Education and Certification in Financial Planning. Our promise is that "you can pay more for training but you can not buy better training." The mission is to deliver the most effective and cost effective training and development programs.

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Posted in Leadership, Performance Management

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