Imagine this scenario. Your company is on a roll. Everything you’re doing is showing results. Profits are up. Products are flying out the door. Services are in demand. It seems you can do no wrong. And then you get cocky.
You start to assume things can’t go wrong. Won’t go wrong. This is a dangerous place to be – and a reckless way to run your business.
You don’t have to plant the seeds of arrogance too deep to reap a successful crop. Which is why, just because “everything” might be going right for you (for now), it’s imperative that you keep a level head as a leader – keep it all in perspective, especially the truth: that soon enough, things may not go right, and you’re going to need to be strong enough, company-wide, to handle it.
Part of that strength comes from core values and business sense. On the subject of values, if you’re the type of leader who leads by example and inspires trust, faith, comradery (camararderie) and loyalty throughout your organisation, then chances are, your company has the wherewithal to weather any challenges. If not, and you’re prone to chasing money, following trends and endorsing unaccountability, then it’s just a matter of time for you.
Which leads to the business sense. We all want to succeed, make good money, grow our businesses and build a legacy. Truthfully, the number one objective of any for-profit business is to make a profit.
If making a profit supersedes every other objective, for example, product and jobsite safety, customer service, equipment maintenance, project planning, innovation, workforce quality and industry relationships, then you’re in a race to the bottom. Leaders with this type of mindset often cut corners, cook the books, fudge safety reports, suppress checks and balances, intimidate whistle blowers and more.
Ultimately, the CEO sets the precedent for how the entire organisation will inevitably operate. If he or she mandates profit above all else, as that mandate moves down through the organisation, it will only get worse.
Piece by piece
A true leader understands his or her company from the ground up. Be in touch with every person that comprises your organisation. Talk to the people who might end up having concerns about certain directives. Prevent their message from getting “amended” on the way up – before it gets to you.
Accountability is another integral piece to either eventual failure or success as an organisation. Something to think about in our industry, especially. As a leader, if your company makes a mistake, own it. And then move on.
Playing the three Ds of unaccountability – deny, distract, defer – rarely works out for anyone – just ask Boeing. Within the realm of specialized transport and mega lifts, the media is always seemingly just around the corner. The bigger the mistake, and the longer you implement the three Ds, the more they’ll hound you. And in the digital age, as we know, nothing goes away – everything is archived. This will become your legacy – even if you do recover and find future success.
Public opinion is a slippery slope: if they can’t trust you to admit when you’re wrong, how will they believe you if or when you’re not wrong? Again, the culture this type of behaviour creates is contagious and destructive. What if no one within the company takes ownership of problems, mistakes, and undesired results? How do you fix anything if no one will admit they’re wrong?
At the end of the day companies find success by design not default. And arrogance only ever breeds more arrogance. That is, until it doesn’t. And at that point, your business is likely getting sold off, piece by piece.