There is an old gambling adage that goes something like this: if you look all around the room and you can’t find the mark, you are the mark. In other words, if you reach the point where your self-confidence transforms into hubris, things can get dicey in a hurry. And from my point of view, there is great danger in believing you are able to out think the room in business as well.
I have personally known of a person in a closely associated business that was so entrenched in his ways that he—without actually realizing it—continued to do self-harm because he operated out of self-importance and habit. From what I was able to observe, he had the opportunity to fully invest in a rising company but instead was only interested in maximizing his month-by-month salary. And of course “invest” had more than one meaning. From what I gathered, there were a group of individuals in their business unit who chose to immerse themselves and become part of the team unit in order to get behind the mission and vision of their company. They did this by making uniform and parallel decisions, both in the ways in which they conducted everyday business, and by how they selected their compensation and reinvestment packages.
Even from a distance, I could see this one individual standing apart, and sadly, never allowing himself to experience an epiphany. Ultimately, he became isolated and paranoid and suffered greatly, as the other team members reaped the rewards of camaraderie, not to mention great returns on their investments. I remember trying to decipher his motivation but there was no breaking through his wall.
The most interesting and instructive part of the story came down to one intriguing observation: after years of the same pattern and the same results, he still saw himself as correct and immovable. And it is that attitude that I attempt to fight against in my own business, both when I make company decisions for Sumus, and when I offer counsel to clients.
Part of success in business is having the firm conviction that you must stand steadfast in your decisions. We have all heard amazing success stories about people who refused to adjust even in the face of overwhelming odds, and in the end enjoyed breathtaking success. But in the vast majority of cases, success is ultimately gained with collaboration, flexibility, and growth.
At Sumus, we seek the opportunity to be invited in to your business to observe and evaluate in order to calmly yet decisively deliver prudent input. We believe that if something is not working in your company, we can assist you in isolating the reasons and making the necessary adjustments, all the while retaining your vision of what your company is meant to be. This might seem too simplistic but in my experience it is not: believe in your business but not to the point of its injury or even its failure. Do not become the mark in the room.