I’m blessed to work with some truly talented executives. They’re tough, smart, focused and get more done than humanly possible. Some are more hands-on than others. Others are more consensus builders. I have the most respect for those who quickly ascertain assets around them and find ways (other than authoritative) to channel those assets toward a common mission, vision, or against a common enemy. They get the boat rowing with the same velocity and veracity in the same direction!

egoHere is the challenge – in more than one occasion recently, I’ve observed executive ego get in the way of real change, innovation, or reaching new heights. Because they didn’t initiate the idea, it can’t possibly be worthwhile! They fly off the handle without all of the information, or perhaps even some misinformation. They rely on second hand opinions vs. observable behavior. I equate it to the seasoned baseball player out there to build a legacy while hurting his team because the best player in that position isn’t on the field! It’s shortsighted.

To lead you must have a certain level of confidence. But when that ego gets in the way of others (within or external to your organization) coming up with innovative ideas, or leading key initiatives, your “not invented here” mentality is doing more harm than good. And guess what – your peers, subordinates, and superiors (including the board) see it. Maybe not today or tomorrow or the next week, but your relationships are fairly astute and they’ll see your shortcomings.

In the short term, they may say nothing other than behind closed doors. In the medium-term they’ll begin to openly second-guess your decisions or publicly object to your position on key issues. In the long-term, you’ll need to update the resume! As Jim Collins pointed out, the first stage of an organization in decline is losing great people they should be able to retain! Financial challenges are the fourth stages of trouble!

As my dad drove into me years ago, “all good things in moderation!” Let your ego get in the way of good ideas, regardless of the source of those ideas, and the end is near!

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