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  • leanderopperman

The Value of Humility when Leading People

Updated: Apr 4

I have finished reading Winning on Purpose, a great book by Fred Reichheld, a 40 plus year veteran at Bain and Co.

I found the following excerpt insightful:

The longer a firm enjoys success and the more powerful it becomes, the greater the risk of greed, arrogance, complacency, and entitlement combining to derail progress.

At the same time, it becomes easier for executives to focus internally—contesting political turf wars, revamping organizational charts, and so on—instead of listening to customers.

Time gets wasted on internal squabbles rather than being spent on innovating ways to solve customers’ problems and enrich their lives.

How do you avoid this trap? The best way I know is to embrace the mission of enriching the life of every customer you touch and to make sure you are listening to customers and scrutinizing their behavior so you know whether or not you are actually delivering on this mission.

Asking for and acting on feedback from customers requires great humility, and this challenge increases as a company grows in power and stature.

We have yet to discover a company with no detractors, so even the greatest firms have room to improve.”

Reichheld, Fred. Winning on Purpose (pp. 262-263). Harvard Business Review Press. Kindle Edition.

When I developed UNLOK's Five Client Onboarding Criteria, which helps me to be focused when deciding which engagements to accept, I decided that for any potential client to be onboarded, the founder must:

Be fun and interesting

Be open-minded (and be able to inspire and be inspired)

Have a challenge it needs me to help the firm with

Be humble; and

Be committed.

I plan to stick to this discipline to ensure that I can only take on clients whom I can powerfully serve: clients who want me to help them develop and execute a sustainable strategy. One that will unlok their firms' potential.

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