The Balance of Humility and Confidence
by Paul McLaughlin, on Nov 28, 2016 9:34:51 AM
In business and everyday life, the forces of confidence and humility are in constant competition. I propose that the two can be complimentary forces. The right balance of humility and confidence is necessary for establishing yourself, achieving goals, and maximizing success. A shift in this balance leads to arrogance ─ a fault in human character, but a deathblow in business.
Take Golfsmith for instance. The Austin, Texas-based golf apparel company recently filed for bankruptcy. Over the past 30 years, Golfsmith grew to be one of the largest US retailers for all things golf. In 2011, it had an aggressive plan to open bigger stores that cost significantly more to operate ─ much like the “super” stores we see today. The decision to expand came just as golf began to lose popularity. Market conditions coincided with the company-wide expansion and left Golfsmith bankrupt. I’m sure Golfsmith was confident with its plans, but was it too confident?
As an individual with impaired vision, this balance of humility and confidence is a daily struggle. I strive to, and can mostly, live independently. I learned from an early age, well before I became disabled, that the way one presents himself, the manner in which he speaks, and even the way he extends his hand in greeting reflects volumes about him. Confidence is easy to spot and can be magnetic, this metaphysical attraction is a major factor in relationships. Most businesses rely on relationships ─ in sales, customer service, management ─ and confidence is by extension essential for success. If you don’t believe in yourself, how can you expect others to believe in you? It should be noted that any sense of confidence must be backed up by results ─ a false facade is dangerous and fraudulent.
While confidence is integral to ultimate success, you must also possess the ability to recognize your weaknesses and have the humility to ask for help. I was, and still am, a confident individual, but when I was faced with losing my vision I realized I couldn’t go it alone. So my new strategy was to rely on the help of others ─ my family, friends, schools, and colleagues. I quickly learned that asking for help was a sign of strength not a sign of weakness.
Of course, any organization would prefer to supply all of the answers to its problems. These answers can sometimes come in the form of new hires, new approaches, and new initiatives. But sometimes problems are deeper and require re-engineering of “the old.” And sometimes you need to look outside your organization for expert help.
Accelare is a recognized reengineering firm and thought leader in using capabilities to translate strategy into action and can help you bring things into balance. We call this healthy balance Enterprise Fitness, and it is the ability to simultaneously Run, Improve, and Transform a business. To achieve a Fit Enterprise, a company must have a Strategy-to-Execution process that provides a clear view of the strengths and weaknesses in the operating model. Once it identifies these strengths and weaknesses, it can then prioritize what to change in order to bring balance and achieve its goals. Accelare CEO, Jack Calhoun, provides a brief overview: