Four Signs of Stage One Decline (The Results of Pride)

The Signs are Clear When You Have the Eyes to See
Someone in your organization needs to have those eyes!
Great Leadership Lessons, Note 22

dogmatic, dogmatism, deathIt has been several weeks since my previous post in this series. To refresh your memory - check out Pride is the Deadly Organizational Sin.
There are four signs Collins mentions that are the results of pride. Here is a brief explanation of each.

You become dogmatic about your successful ways.
You begin to take success for granted. You begin to think you have the "silver bullet" and the "magic wand." You think all you need do is continue to apply those successful ways and much more good stuff will happen.

You forget the old adage, "The greatest enemy of future success is past success."
You forget just how long you had to turn the flywheel (Good to Great).

Hard on the heels of this is the decline in learning.
Life long learning and organizational learning is always hard. It always takes time, effort, and resources to be a learning leader and a learning organization. When past success goes to our head, when we begin to take success for granted or as if we are entitled to it, when we start to think we are "the smartest guys in the room," then learning slows and stops. After all - why keep learning when you have the secret formula in place.

On a different note, the pride of success causes you to think you can be successful at anything.
You begin to over-reach. You are overly optimistic about what you can do, how much you can do, where you can do it.  The distortion bias is kicking in big time. Fantasizing replaces strategizing. Ideas of grandure replace down to earth, hard work. Careless, on a whim visions and new launches begin to happen.

Tied to the previous idea, you move outside your HedgeHog Core.
(Note - this is key in the Good to Great model). You move outside your area of core competency, great passion and unique branding. The HedgeHog core is where you actually found success. It was your DNA, your identity, your gift . . . and you worked long and hard at making it a reality. Pride leads us outside the HedgeHog of expertise-love-brand and make ill-advised forays into non-core areas (markets, products, fields, etc.). Pride neglects the fact that it was the HedgeHog with the Flywheel that led to success. You think your innate greatness is what led to success and you will be great at anything.

While there are certainly addtional signs that pride is running amok in your mind and organization - these are four significant ones. The stage is set, things are in motion for the second stage of decline.

The insidious problem - the nature of PRIDE means you do not have the necessary eyes to see what is going on.

Brian K. Rice
Leadership ConneXtions International