“I know, I know … ,” my friend Peter said.
“What do you mean you know if I haven’t even explained how the strategy works?” I insisted.
The more I tried to talk to Peter, the more defensive he got.
“Listen to me, Peter,” I persisted. “I can help you brainstorm solutions to this problem.”
“No, no, Hector, I got it, I got it,” said Peter rejecting my help.
Laterthat night I asked myself, “What did I say wrong? Did I offend Peter in any way?” I worried.
I was confused. I could sense that Pete hadn’t been listening to me. I couldn’t understand why.
READ ALSO – Strategic Work (Smart Work) vs Hard Work.
Nearly a year went by before I had the opportunity to see Peter again at a friend’s house. After chatting a moment with him, I found the opportunity to talk about the misunderstanding of that day.
“Pete, I don’t know what happened that day. I could sense you were uncomfortable with my conversation. Please, accept my apologies if I offended you in any way that night.”
“No, you didn’t say anything wrong, Hector. No worries,” Pete said.
“But why you were so defensive? I don’t understand.”
“I almost lost my job a few weeks after that event. I was struggling with myself that day. Today I understand that I was arrogant and full of my success. My pride didn’t allow me to listen to your advice.”
“But I was just trying to help,” I said.
“Yes, I get it. Today I can understand more about my reaction that day. I call it the CEO disease.”
“CEO disease?” I asked. “You are a very successful CEO, my friend. What do you mean?”
Pete explained, “The problem with successful CEOs is that we have the power to create a world around us that caters to our own validation. We choose who we surround ourselves with. If we are full of our success, most of those people will want to please us, never telling us what we need to hear, no matter what warning signs may be flashing in front of us.”
“So that day you were uncomfortable because I was telling you what you didn’t want to hear?” I asked.
“Correct! This blindness almost destroyed the company!”
“Really? That bad?” I asked surprised.
READ ALSO – 17 Clever Life Hacks You Need To Learn.
“I’ve learned that the biggest inhibitor of success is arrogance and pride,” Pete said.
“It got really bad. We’re still making changes. Today, however, I don’t want people to agree with me all the time! We need to challenge ourselves constantly to achieve success. That’s a culture of growth.”
“Great lesson, Pete!”
“Yes! Lesson learned: Never let success go to your head and failure to your heart,” Pete said laughing.
Credit: Hector Quintanilla