Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Self-confidence – Me Versus We

After a couple of interesting incidents over the last couple of weeks, I have been reminded that hubris is alive and well in business.

It is true that self-confidence is essential to success - there aren’t many people who are “doormats” who have managed to become wildly successful in their field.  Doormats aren’t great at showing the self-confidence, vision and leadership necessary to get “stuff” done nor do they inspire others to do the same.

However, there is always some point in the execution of a company where help is needed.

And that’s where the self-confidence needs to change, from one of “I have everything I need” to one of “we have everything we need”.

The transition from “I” to “we” is essential in the internal dialog, starting before a collaboration is first suggested and being consistently present through to the completion of the collaboration.

Of the many companies I have been privileged to work with over the years, I have had a few organizations approach me for help with the following common scenario:

1. They have little or no strategy and their poor execution have led them to a very precarious position.

2. They have waited until the last minute to ask for help (and needed a miracle by the time they asked) and were now demanding immediate remedies.

3. Their self-confidence level is off the charts with no results to validate it.

4. They believe they can set the terms for what happens next and proceed to make a “my way or the highway” offer that heavily favors the people who created the problems in the first place.

One company owner, just before losing over 25 million dollars in a complete corporate collapse (a good bit of it being taxpayer money), said to me “Of course I can set the terms – this company was my idea and I deserve to harvest the majority of the rewards”.

Maybe so – but I know that if I am in trouble, the last thing I want to do when asking for help is to tell the world what it owes me.

It reminds me of one night back in the 1980’s when my car broke down while I was driving in the area of Gatineau Park in Quebec.  It was late at night, in a remote area, minus 40 degrees with the wind chill and before the days when everyone had a cell phone.

I was in trouble.

When the two Quebec police officers happened to come upon me by chance, did I say “I can’t believe you don’t have any coffee in your cruiser. What kind of rescue is this?”.

No – I was profusely grateful for the help.

I was reminded then as I have been many times since that, despite our belief in our abilities to get stuff done, there are always times when we need others.

Some moments call for an “I can do it”.

Others call for a “we can do it”.

Successful people know when each is appropriate.

In service and servanthood.


The same entry can be found on my Musings-in-a-Minute blog, found here.

No comments:

Post a Comment