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Pride is an Outcome
June 1, 2015 | By Neil Ducoff | No Comments
In order to experience a profound feeling of pride, it must be preceded by an accomplishment. To feel pride in your new car or new home, you had to earn the financial wherewithal first. To earn the financial wherewithal, you had to build your career and establish yourself in the business world. To feel pride in your business, you had to work hard, take financial risks, make tough decisions and learn how to recover from the not-so-good decisions. In every way, to experience that profound feeling of pride, you must earn it every step of the way.
There is a difference between feeling grateful and feeling pride. When you give an employee a promotion with new levels of responsibility, the employee may feel grateful for the opportunity … but it’s that feeling of pride for all the hard work that went into earning that promotion – and your trust – that is most profound. When the line between gratitude and pride becomes blurred, raises, promotions, incentives and special privileges can easily degrade into entitlement thinking and behavior. Pride is an outcome because it can only be earned through hard work and a commitment to go the distance. It is the leaders responsibility to never allow a culture of entitlement to contaminate a culture built on pride of accomplishment.
Here are some very personal No-Compromise Leadership thoughts on why pride is, and always will be, an outcome:
- It’s about the journey: The work I do today is the work I envisioned myself doing long ago. If I had to describe the genre of my journey to today, I’d have to label it an action adventure with moments of drama … and a dash of horror story. It’s just a fact of life that no personal or business success story doesn’t include setbacks and times of struggle. The tough times are lessons that build character. It may sound like strange advice, but embrace the tough times and setbacks with decisive action to lead your company back to daylight. Overcoming adversity is the essence of pride. The alternative is to allow tough times and setbacks to crush your spirit, your dreams and your pride. Pride is an outcome.
- It’s what you create: When I honestly and objectively look at all that my company is, and stands for, I feel a sense of pride that is difficult to put into words. It’s the culture, the shared commitment to a purpose and a cause, it’s the work we do, it’s the successes we help owners create. It’s how “our” company works. Strategies isn’t a huge company (I’m good with that) … but it’s values run deep and we practice what we teach and coach. Pride is an outcome.
- It’s more than money: For leaders and business owners, pride manifests itself in many ways that far exceed financial gain. To me, revenues, profit and money, is simply a measurement of how we, as a company, are performing. If we are committed to performing to our full potential, we are ensuring our income, security and our future. We reinvest profit into initiatives that make us better. If it was all about the money, I’d shut it down. Pride is an outcome.
- It’s intensely personal: There is something about being both a leader and business owner that others don’t quite understand or appreciate. We take pride not only in the companies we build; we take pride in the people that grow, mature and succeed in our companies. There is not one Strategies’ employee or coach … past or present … that hasn’t grown personally and professionally from our relationship and the work we do helping owners lead and grow their companies. There is a sense of pride in seeing those around you grow. There is a sense of pride doing work that changes the lives of those you serve. Every time a client shares a breakthrough or success story, I say, “This is what makes it all worthwhile.” Pride is an outcome.
- It’s better when shared: A few days after completing one of our four-day Incubator courses, Laura Watkins, owner of Pure Salon Spa in Louisville, KY, sent me an email that read, “Besides everything I learned and my excitement for my business, I am so touched by the genuine care your team has for you as their leader. It is so obvious the amount of respect they have for you and your leadership. You have built one heck of a team and it was an awesome experience to witness how all of you interact and care for each other.” Laura sent a similar email to each of the coaches that lead the Incubator. Being a leader is about being a coach to those you lead. Over the four days, I only taught one hour of the course. The coaches did the heavy lifting and loved every minute of it. Laura’s emails were a testament to the Strategies culture we protect and cherish. Pride is an outcome.
- It’s something you build on: If you noticed a few bullet points back, the context shifted from “I/me” to “our/we.” Control freak, egotistical and dictatorial leaders have a very self-serving version of pride. To them, empowerment means, “If I trust you, or choose to, I will share power with you.” Yes, I guess one can build a successful company on the backs of others. The problem is, that kind of success is not sustainable. It lives and dies with the command and control leader because of their warped interpretation of the true meaning of empowerment. Just like my team members, I have my work and responsibilities. The last thing I want to do is meddle in everyone’s work and oversee their decisions. If they are properly prepared and are allowed to take ownership in their work, responsibilities and outcomes … my plate remains clean and manageable. Translation: I can do the work that fulfills me. Strategies becomes more self-sustaining and less dependent on me. And when I look at where Strategies is today and where it’s going … I am overwhelmed with pride. Pride truly is an outcome.
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