According to a recent Twitter post by Ray Dalio of Bridgewater Associates, the two most significant barriers to good decision making are your ego and your blind spots. He says, "that together, they make it difficult for you to objectively see what is true about you and your circumstances and to make the best possible decision by getting the most out of others."
Microsoft's CEO, Satya Nadella, declared in 2014, the new game was to be a "learn-it-all" company rather than a "know-it-all" one. Nadella is quoted as saying, "A learn-it-all company makes the decision that every day will be a new day, with learning, exploring and experimenting as the norm."
That's' great advice. As a CEO or leader in the C-Suite, you do not need to be a know-it-all.
Who says you must have all the answers. Is this an area where your ego can hold you back?
Do you believe you should have all the answers?
In the early days of my career, we chose what we thought was the best distribution channel to go to market. But after disappointing results, we ended up leapfrogging the norm of selling industrial products through industrial distribution channels and decided to sell to the end-user directly via direct marketing.
Our founders had run successful businesses, but direct marketing was very different.
We were blessed with owners that highly supported growing, experimenting, and learning. Every day at work was a new adventure. Because we were new to building a direct marketing business, we reached out to gurus. We were in learn-it-all mode.
We invited Don Libey, Al Ries, Laura Ries, Simon Synek, Robert Fritz, and many more to central PA. Throughout my 30+ years, we engaged multiple experts in all the critical areas of our business.
It's funny to think back to the mid to late 1980s; there was no internet, no YouTube, no Google, so knowledge was obtained in the old fashion way.
What benefits were we expecting? Initially, it may have been survival. Still, it was our wish that meeting with the gurus would accelerate our learning, minimize potential mistakes, and set us on a stable business growth trajectory. I believe having this growth mindset and desire to seek help, fueled our business success. But we had to admit (let go my ego) that leadership didn't have all the answers. Investing in consultants who had been down the road before and had engaged with many successful direct marketing companies, we believed, would accelerate our financial and people growth.
When I reflect, I'm thankful for people who encouraged me and supported my learning.
Ask yourself the following:
Are you "out over your skis"?
What experience, insight, & knowledge would be impactful?
Who are the gurus that could help?
Then go and do some research, choose a guru, and make the call.
As business coaches, we believe that "as the leadership team goes, so goes the rest of the company."
The world is changing and changing rapidly. There is a lot to learn.
So as a leader, don't let the ego get in your way. Don't be afraid to ask for help — model to your leadership team the value of being curious and humble.
Learning is a never-ending journey.
So as Nadella said, " a learn-it-all beats a know-it-all." Which do you want to be?
Don’t be blindsided.