To make your business succeed, you need a certain degree of cockiness, ego, pride or whatever you want to call it. In this sense, “pride” is defined as believing that you are worthy of success and have the ability to create something valuable. But as you taste the good life, beware. The same pride that drives your achievement can also drive your business into the ground. When pride swells into arrogance, it blinds you. You may not see the competition winning over your customers or new technologies threatening to make your business model obsolete – until it’s too late. Arrogance hurts relationships with employees, customers, investors and suppliers, who are all the keys to your venture’s long-term success.
How do you keep from crossing the line from healthy entrepreneurial pride to destructive arrogance? Here are five tips:
- Surround yourself with excellent people. If you have qualified and experienced staff telling you that a decision you’ve made is probably not the right one, you need to listen to them. They can see things more clearly because they don’t have the same investment in your pride as you do. If you run a solo operation, look for successful entrepreneurs who would be willing to spend time with you and give you objective feedback on your business ideas.
- Listen to criticism. When you receive criticism, whether from people you trust or even those you despise, put your ego aside. Ask yourself: “What can I learn from this criticism? How can I use this to improve my company or business plan or investor presentation?” You may find that even your harshest critics will give you the million-rand ideas you need to take your venture to the top.
- Study your customers and competitors. When you become arrogant about your successes you often ease up on the activities that got you to the top in the first place, such as anticipating customer needs and competitor moves. When things start going well, double your efforts to learn as much as you can. Keep focused on the activities that make your venture successful.
- Get other people to talk about themselves. When business is booming, resist the urge to brag. Sure, be excited and proud ofwhat you’ve done, but remember that the more you talk about yourself, the less people want to be around you, causing you to miss potentially lucrative business opportunities. When you get people talking about their own successes, dreams or anything about their lives, they will become more receptive to you.
- For successes, give credit to others; for failures, take personal responsibility. If you’re willing to put your ego aside and admit that some things don’t go the way you want them to go and it’s your fault, that perspective will keep you out of trouble.
|The Super ego
How can you tell when your pride has become arrogance? You find yourself: