If there’s anything that I’ve learned in my 15 years in the business world, it’s this: Nothing can kill a business’s growth faster than out of control egos and greed.
An unhealthy ego looks like a typical know-it-all: They don’t listen to the opinions of others, don’t try to learn, and don’t take ownership. They make excuses and justify their mistakes.
Basically, they’re no fun to work with and often have a negative effect on the business.
Having a healthy ego, on the other hand, means you have a high opinion and respect for others. It means that you acknowledge that they are valuable, that they have experiences and feelings, and that they have intelligence and strengths.
Not sure if your ego is healthy? Take the test below to find out. Then read on for some practical examples for how to prevent out of control egos and greed in your business.
Encouraging healthy egos
Here’ s one practical way we encourage healthy egos at Accord:
Commercial airline pilots have the most thorough on-going education requirement in the United States. Each year, they are required to complete 90 hours of on-going training and learning.
If you add up just our monthly meetings and biweekly conference coaching calls, our managers at Accord Group receive over 140 hours of ongoing classroom training each year.
In other words, we believe an eagerness to learn is a big deal for maintaining a healthy ego. If you hate learning, I’m going to question if you have an out of check ego.
To avoid becoming greedy, our compensation program for our team must be win-win. Systems that are good for the company and bad for the team or vice versa won’t last.
There’s a saying that I’ve formulated in my mind recently: The most selfish thing you can do is be selfless. That means the best way to thrive personally (selfishly) is to focus on helping others thrive (selflessly).
For example, I had a situation once when we were reviewing compensation at the end of the year. During this process, we discovered that someone had accidentally been overpaid.
Instead of pulling that money back into the company coffers, like most would, I wiped the discrepancy clean and gave them a significant bonus for all of their hard work that year.
Even though their good deeds weren’t showing up on paper, I knew that they were doing the right things to win in the long-term.
Leading with integrity
Another way we avoid greed at Accord is by making sure we lead with integrity in every situation.
During our seven years in business, we have never turned a pay program backwards. We make sure that our financial decisions are sustainable. We under-promise and over-deliver.
Simply put, integrity means doing what you say you are going to do.
Think of it like this: View the words that come out of your mouth as a free coupon that you are giving to someone else. Whenever you make a promise to someone, that means they have a coupon that they get to trade for what was promised.
If you have to, create an event in your calendar or write it down in your notes to remind you. Make sure you’re able fulfill your promise when they come to redeem their coupon.