Many blogs address how to succeed in business but many small business owners -and others as well – are as motivated by the fear of failure as by the drive for success. In this year’s Leadercast sponsored by Chick-a-Filet, Jim Collins, author of “Good to Great…Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don’t”, pointed out several ways to ensure failing in business. His observations are perceptive and are of value to all, but especially so to leaders who are already succeeding:

1) Success can frequently lead to hubris. Since leadership is most sustainable when it includes a good deal of humility on the leader’s part, the reverse is equally true and in every sense must be avoided. Hubris can lead to emotional decision making of a disastrous nature!

2)Once successful, many executives seek to accomplish and attain MORE. What specifically MORE is is almost less important to them than its attainment: more sales, more products, more recognition, more whatever, just MORE! This pursuit can drive a company to abandon the very disciplines and thoughtful analyses that led to its success…..all in order just to salve the owner’s or CEO’s ego. BEWARE OF EGO!

3)A leader can be carried away by his or her success and deny or fail to act upon new risks and dangers which may emerge. Sometimes facts are discomfiting and do not want to be faced or even acknowledged. If one’s ego is too inflated, the risk of not confronting new, disturbing facts which must be faced honestly and confidently can lead to crises. BEWARE OF HUBRIS AND EGO!

These two closely related factors, hubris and over-inflated egos, can clearly be dangerous which is why Collins emphasizes the importance of leaders retaining a large sense of humility in the way they run their companies.


About Wilder Baker

Retired advertising agency CEO now active as management consultant with focus on marketing and marketing communications. Work with small companies and business owners to develop their business over the long term. My relationship with clients often evolves into that of trusted personal, as well as business, adviser. I also take short term projects as I can be helpful. I serve on the Board of the American Advertising Federation where I am a past Chairman and am a Trustee of the Hyde Leadership Charter School in New York City.
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