Proud: Good. Pride: Not So Good.

Fancy Place

When does your reputation become a roadblock?

When it makes you deaf to the needs of the people you serve.

Thursday, I was leading a meeting for a group of 300 finance professionals.

The venue, on Park Avenue in Manhattan, looked magnificent:  luxurious ballroom, red carpets, giant chandelier, polished silver, white gloves–the full 9 yards.

It couldn’t have looked finer.

There was only one problem.  The elegance came at one speed:  slow.

We were holding a business meeting.  At ten minutes into the first morning break, I went downstairs to help wrangle people back up to get started again.

There was a line, sixty people long, still waiting for coffee.   The staff wouldn’t let people pour their own drinks.

I spoke to the banquet manager, and explained the need to speed things up.  His reply?

This kind of service is what we’re known for here!

He didn’t want to hear it from me, or anyone else for that matter.   Our group’s needs would be met:  only as long our needs fit neatly into his method for meeting them.  In his mind “what we’re known for” was high quality food and impeccable service.  In my mind “what we’re known for” was pissing a lot of business-people off by making them wait in line forever.

The buffet lunch wasn’t much better.  Scheduled for 45 minutes, it took an hour and ten minutes to feed the masses.

It’s one thing to be proud of your work.  But when proud gets rigid and stubborn, it transforms into pride–the sin of sins.

Confidence becomes arrogance; a sure way to turn off your customers and/or the people you lead.

Where are you at risk of turning “proud” into “pride”?

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