Monday, September 30, 2013

HBR Principles for Developing Humilty - Point 6

This is the last part of the HBR article and it's a great point - be passionately curious. This trait reminds me of many people I know who are successful and well liked because they are humble and willing to do for others. Often when I read about nationally known entrepreneurs they are described as curious. Their brains are always in search of answers, new thoughts and new ideas.

Einstein said of himself, "I have no special talent, I am only passionately curious." This quote from HRB shows why this trait is important to both success and humility. When you and I are curious we are admitting we don't know everything and that shows when we treat others as sources of potentially good ideas instead of just gears in a machine. When others realize that we see them as important and meaningful to the organization and to the overall success, they are motivated to give more and be more curious themselves. The result is a solid team and good success.

To be humble isn't just good for you and me, it's good for everyone around us and it is good for all of our success. Besides it being the right thing to do, it's just a more enjoyable way to live.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

HBR Principles for Developing Humilty - Point 5

The fifth point in the HBR article is listen, even (no, especially) to the weird ideas. This point is a little harder for me to understand because I have never been a big fan of the weird or unusual. I have always liked the "play by the book" type of thinking. This has lead to me judging other ideas too quickly because they are "weird" or the ideas are coming from "weird" people. That seems to be what HBR was meaning - if I'm not humble enough to learn from anyone then I am limiting what I am able to do.

Many times the "weird" ideas come from highly curious people who can easily get off course. Even if some of the ideas are not worth considering, I can't let myself then assume all the ideas are not worth listening to just because of the source.

At the heart of humility is the realization that I don't have all the answers and that others are needed to find the best solution. Sometimes the "weird" ideas are the best ones to hear.

Friday, September 13, 2013

HBR Principles for Developing Humilty - Points 3 & 4

The next two points in the HBR article are never underestimate the competition and embrace and promote a spirit of service.

Never underestimate the competition. Yesterday I was reading a book that said something like "success is the enemy of success". It basically meant that when a company is doing really well or when a person is doing really well he begins to believe he can't be beaten. This is the same idea as underestimating the competition. When we believe the competition is not as fast, smart, nimble or aggressive as we are - we are in for a hurt. The competition is working as hard as we are, is developing a strategic plan to beat us, and is willing to try new ideas to gain an edge. It's better to be a little paranoid which drives us to always improve.

Embrace and promote a spirit of service. This, again, is about a mindset and a perspective that allows humility in order to be better at what you do in life. Going out of your way to do something for others when there is no gain from the action is just the right way to live. We recently helped a competitor who had gone through a fire in their facility, because we believed it was the right thing to do. It would have been easy to ignore their pain and try to use their problem against them but it's just not the right way to live. Your employees, vendors, and co-workers figure out real fast what kind person you are when others are in need.

Friday, September 6, 2013

HBR Principles for Developing Humilty - Points 1 & 2

The HBR is an excellent publication that comes monthly and is full of insightful articles. The articles are detailed and full of good information. But if you don't want to spend the money on the magazine, it is also possible to get good HBR info from the HBR blogs. Recently there was a blog on humility and its impact on business. This blog has six principles and is worth the read.

The first of the six principles is Know What You Don't Know. The author pushes the point that no one can be the master of the universe and that no matter what level of skill you have in any area there are things you don't know. Sometimes it's better to ask a question and learn than appear to know it all and miss learning. Usually the know it all limits him/herself because others don't want to share with or help a know it all.

The second of the six principles is Resist Falling for Your Own Publicity. Sometimes it is fun to believe everything that is said or written about you or your company. Unfortunately many things are written to make you or a company look better and some details are omitted. Where I work it is amazing how many people begin to believe our own press releases or what our vendors say about us. It's not that it is never true but there is always a motive behind what is said or written. Remembering that helps avoid believing your own spin.

Humility is something that great companies use to keep a level head and keep working to improve. Humility will get you incredible results.