Greetings Everyone ,
As we begin to wind up 2013, I hope you are feeling
very happy about your accomplishments, your successes
and your wins. Now is the time to begin planning
for 2014. Set new goals. Develop your personal and
professional development plan. Get ready for the
best year ever – 2014. If you would like to get
started with a coach, please give a call and I will
help you find a good coach.
I have just finished reading egonomics. This is
a great book and I would like to share some thoughts
The Costs of Ego
“Ego is the invisible line item on every company’s
profit and loss statement.” —David
Marcum and Steven Smith in egonomics:
What Makes Ego Our Greatest Asset
(or Most Expensive Liability), Fireside, 2007
Fifty-three percent of businesspeople estimate ego costs
their company 6 to 15 percent of annual revenue; 21 percent
say this cost ranges from 16 to 20 percent.
That’s somewhat astonishing, considering “ego” is difficult
to measure by any standards. But even if ego accounts
for only 6 percent of revenue, the annual “cost of ego”
would translate to nearly $1.1 billion to the average
Fortune 500 company—roughly equal to the average annual
profit of these same companies.
Big egos invade every team conversation, boardroom debate,
marketing plan, client interaction, contract negotiation,
employment interview and performance review. There’s no
question it gets in the way and is a major cause of bad
Most of us strongly believe our ego is healthy, contributing
to self-confidence, optimism and success. Most of us don’t
have overinflated egos, but we’re capable of letting them
run amok—and our personal success and organization’s performance
pay the price.
Using five years of research, David Marcum and Steven
Smith write about the costs of ego in egonomics (Fireside,
2007): —David Marcum and Steven Smith in egonomics:
What Makes Ego Our Greatest Asset (or Most Expensive Liability),
Companies can be populated with talented, high-IQ people
with no shortage of vision, education, experience or good
intentions, yet they may still have an undercurrent of out-of-control
egos responsible for huge losses in productivity and profits.
- The person who develops an idea trumps the quality
of that idea
- Hearing, but not listening
- People thinking “me first, company second”
- Only the “right” people have good ideas
- Pressure to fit in
- Failure to challenge status quo
- Candid discussion saved for outside the meeting
- Failures being buried and never mentioned again
- Silos created and tolerated
- Meetings going longer than necessary
- Fear of making mistakes or admitting them
Liability or Asset?
There’s a significant difference between “big ego” and ambition.
Professionals usually start out with big ideas, a healthy
ego, ambition, talent and ideas, which drive success. With
good timing and help from others, great things invariably
But there’s an inherent trap. When people begin to believe
their “own press,” successes create the illusion that they
alone were responsible for workplace accomplishments. “Big
ego” may then take over, leading to the belief that future
accomplishments will be just as successful.
Ego Is a Good Thing
Titrated properly, ego is inherently positive, providing
a necessary level of confidence and ambition. Left unchecked,
however, ego goes on a hunt, seeking more of what bolsters
it. But overconfidence and unbridled ambition can also attack
our talents and abilities, with big ego leading to bad decisions.
Consider these organizational “strengths,” which can backfire:
These subtle differences become leaders’ ultimate blind
Four Signs of Big Ego
Your coworkers and team members are usually aware—much
earlier than you’ll ever figure out—that your ego has become
overinflated. Here are four telltale signs:
a vision, inspires others, attracts talent, keeps
bad ideas to sound good; people overlook substance
doesn’t let obstacles overcome the end goal, finds
a way to get things done—no matter what
alternatives, resists changes (even when they provide
better outcomes), cuts off creativity in the name
of “getting things done”
frozen by reality, even when it’s negative; can help
people get through difficult times; reminds people
of better times ahead
listen to bad news, believes a positive outlook can
overcome anything, rejects bad news as the pessimism
of the naysayers
Your ego may be in control if you experience the
- You find yourself being defensive. Defending
ideas ultimately turns into becoming defensive.
- You continually compare yourself to others.
In truth, being too competitive actually makes you
- You seek acceptance to justify your ego needs.
You crave respect and recognition from others, which
eventually interferes with your success.
- You make a point of showcasing your brilliance.
3 Keys to Maintaining a Healthy Ego
- Viewing a colleague as a rival and planning how to
- Taking it personally when someone disagrees with your
- Disagreeing with someone simply because you didn’t
come up with the idea first
- Prematurely criticizing the competition’s strategies
without considering their value
- Compulsively following a competitor’s lead, just to
“keep up with the Joneses”
- Comparing others’ external environments to your own
(signs of status or wealth, without regard for inner
There are three keys to developing a balanced
Without losing confidence in who we are or lessening
the importance of what we’ve achieved, humility creates
a desire to reach the next level of performance. It doesn’t
lose sight of “me,” but it also prevents our personal needs
and agendas from interfering with open dialogue and intense
debate. Humility channels our ambitions into the success
of “we,” rather than a selfish and short-lived agenda of
Once humility creates an open mind, curiosity drives the
exploration of ideas. It gives us permission and courage
to test what we think, feel and believe to be true, reminding
us we don’t know everything.
Veracity is the habitual pursuit of the truth. It’s not
that people don’t want the truth, but we often don’t want
all of it—particularly the part that’s hard to hear or doesn’t
support our agenda.
If openness and progress are the outcomes of humility, and
innovation is the aim of curiosity, then veracity is the
light that exposes the truths hidden in the shadows of our
habits and comfort zones.
I would like to thank the many
subscribers that forwarded copies of this newsletter to
family and friends. Our subscribers continue to grow.
Do you know a leader who would find these thoughts interesting
and thought provoking? Please help improve our world by
forwarding this to your friends. Who knows where these thought
seeds might take root and grow.
Do you know someone who is ready to try coaching? I love
to give free "test drives" and help people find the right
Enjoy 2014! Be sure you are taking good care of #1.
this to one of your friends, so they can become a subscriber
by going to my web site
coachpinney.com and signing up.
For the last twenty-two
years Jerry Pinney has been president of his own consulting firm.
Currently he focuses his efforts on providing executive and personal
coaching to persons who are interested in improving their quality
of life and consulting to small and mid-sized companies and nonprofits.
He is a facilitator for peer advisory groups with The Alternative
Board and is a Certified One Page Planning Consultant. Jerry has
over three decades of experience in the food industry, and possesses
a unique perspective of customer service, marketing and strategic
planning. In addition to overall general management qualifications,
Jerry has proven expertise in operational planning and business
development. His food industry career started at Jewel Food Stores
followed by a long career with IGA, with their retailers, wholesalers
and ten years as Vice President of Marketing. In addition Jerry
has served as Vice President of Membership for the National Grocers
Association, Sr. Vice President of Procurement for Shurfine International
and Executive Manager of The Zenon Hansen Foundation.
Jerry has also served on a number of
nonprofit boards including: President of the Volunteer Center
of Northwest Suburban Chicago. He is currently a Project Manager
for the Executive Service Corps of Chicago. Jerrys ESC assignments
have included coaching for several Executive Directors, and consulting
on various Board Development projects and on a number of strategic
Pinney & Associates
102 East 32nd Street
e-mail me by clicking here