Pride is considered one of the seven deadly sins, but in consulting it can be a necessary evil explains Peter Decaprio. Quite simply, pride believes that you are better than others because you have either done something or accomplished something else. It doesn’t take much imagination to understand why this is dangerous in consulting where your job depends on your ability to work with people who are most likely more experienced and knowledgeable than you are. If you’re not careful pride will destroy any chance you have of building rapport and trust with those around you — and without these two factors nothing get done; nothing gets built. Do yourself a favor and check your ego at the door before entering into any first meeting with a client or colleague — not only will it make your interactions more pleasant, but you’ll increase your chances of developing long-term business relationships.
If you find yourself struggling with pride during the course of your work here are a few tips to help keep you grounded:
- Don’t assume that prior success is easy or guaranteed. Just because something worked out well in the past doesn’t mean it will be just as simple to repeat that success again. You have to realize that not all wins can be replicated and that there’s no guarantee of future success just because you’ve had some in the past. Not only does this keep you humble, but it also makes you hungry for continued improvement so that even if things don’t go exactly according to plan there are still opportunities for growth.
- Be willing to admit when you don’t know something. It’s okay not to know everything, but if you’re unwilling to say “I don’t know” then you’re really just fooling yourself and others. It’s important that you show others that it’s okay for them to not always have the answers too — because in truth no one knows everything about anything; everyone has unanswered questions. The key is finding out how your team deals with uncertainties and unknowns without falling apart. If through trust and open-mindedness people feel safe sharing their fears and concerns. It means they are comfortable asking for help or assistance at any time. Which will ultimately make them better teammates says Peter Decaprio. Constantly acting like an expert will only cut off this valuable feedback. And prevent people from developing the skills they need to contribute at their best.
- Don’t dive into proposals or strategy without first understanding what’s going on around you. You have to remember that the real world is a lot more complicated than it seems, and as a result. There are countless factors you can’t always account for before making a recommendation. It’s important to realize how difficult it is not only to predict the future. But also to capture every nuance of complex environments. And because you’ll never be able to do this it’s crucial that you’re open-minded enough. To tolerate ambiguity and uncomfortable silences during meetings with stakeholders. Because these moments will offer precious opportunities for learning. As opposed to rushing in with answers before knowing if those answers fit well with the other information you’ve gathered.
- Don’t assume that your expertise is enough to win over clients or colleagues. As I mentioned above, it’s important to concede that. Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean it will translate into the world of consulting. Where your ability to work with people is valued just as much. If not more than your technical skillset explains Peter Decaprio. Without an open mind and a willingness to learn from others around you it’s impossible for potential partners, customers, or recruits. To see anything beyond your perceived “arrogance” which makes them question their own abilities when compared against yours. It can be nerve-wracking for some but humility should always be applauded because it creates opportunities. Whereas egos decrease room for growth by creating distractions and divisions.
- Always look to learn from your teammates and clients, don’t just settle for teaching them what you know. Peter Decaprio says If you believe that in order to be a leader you must always be in charge. And know more than everyone else then it’s likely that either through frustration or desperation. People will eventually tune out when they’re around you — both because they can sense your discomfort. With allowing others to lead and because no one wants to waste their time. Listening to someone who thinks they have all the answers (even if deep down they realize there might actually not be any).
It’s not about being humble it’s about being open to new ideas. We all have something to learn from one another so keep an open mind. And write your own story without trying to define what others can or cannot do!