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The Arrogance Of Success

by David Brock on November 26th, 2008
Success masks all sorts of problems and challenges. In the past couple of months, we have been deluged with reports of dramatic failures of all sorts of businesses and organizations — many of which were the benchmarks of success just a year ago.

While the housing, finance, and automotive industries seem to be the most visible,there are very visible examples in every sector.

We all strive for success, frankly it brings on such a rush. The rush keeps us pushing for more success. At some point, however, too many of us are seduced by success. We forget the hard work, focus, discipline and other things that caused us to be successful.

Many times, we stop listening, we stop learning, we start to think we can do no wrong. In many growing, successful organizations, I also see the newcomers or hangers on — those who have had no hand in the original success, but now because they are part of a very successful organization, think they are successful and can do no wrong.

The blindness and arrogance the success creates can be devastating to individuals and organizations. It’s important that all successful people not be seduced by this. It’s great to be proud of success, but at the same time we can’t become complacent or overconfident.

It seems to me that all successful people and organizations need to maintain some level of paranoia (Andy Grove was right!) and humility. We have to remain dissatisfied and hungry. We have to continue to listen and learn. We have to look around at others, we have to examine ourselves and continues to change and grow.

I am a great admirer of Jim Estill. Recently, he wrote a blog on this topic — the Paradox of Success. Jim provides great insight and clarity on this topic.

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