by Richard Martin

I had a conversation last week with a former client of mine. Apparently, things are going extremely well for him and his organization. That’s a good thing. He seemed very confident of how well he and his management team were doing.

However, I got the impression that he was also a bit smug about it. I congratulated him on his great results. However, I also asked him what proportion of that performance was attributable to him and his team, and what proportion to an excellent business environment. While he acknowledged the outstanding circumstances and good luck, his body language told me a different story. It screamed “Why is this guy harshing my mellow?”

There’s a difference between confidence and smugness. Confidence is a belief in your abilities and experiences. It stems from self-efficacy, the knowledge that you can achieve certain things well, and have a command of certain skills and resources. However, it also incorporates a good dosage of humility and a questioning mindset. I listened to a radio interview with the new head coach of the Montreal Alouettes last week, Jacques Chapdelaine. He pointed out the same thing: Confidence must be counterbalanced by humility, the understanding that you are facing a thinking opponent whom you must respect, and that you might not have everything figured out. There is also uncertainty, and you can only deal with probabilities, never with inevitabilities.

Smugness, on the other hand, is the belief that you have it all figured out and that you are on top of the game now and for the foreseeable future. An important manifestation of smugness is the belief that you have gotten what you deserve, that your position and performance are the fruits of your efforts and that luck or particularly favourable conditions have little to do with your success. This means that luck (bad and good) are not on your radar screen. It’s all blue skies ahead.

The key to confidence is to build competency and to learn from experience. Don’t take things for granted. In a nutshell, prepare for the worst, but hope for the best. Even more important, though, is to appreciate the role of luck and uncertainty in all situations, whether you are the beneficiary or not. That’s where humility comes in. Humility isn’t self-deprecation–false or honest–it’s the genuine appreciation that you don’t know everything, and can’t know. It provides the only effective counterweight to smugness and false certainty.

New Testimonial

“Richard has been instrumental in getting me to draw on my hard-won experience and ideas to turn them into marketable intellectual property and products. His disciplined, systematic approach has already led to several significant accomplishments for me. Whether you’re just starting out as an entrepreneur, or working to get to the next level, Richard can boost your productivity and organizational effectiveness. Be forewarned, though. There is no magic formula, just systematic thinking, disciplined execution, and… Richard Martin.”

Caroline Salette, Owner and President, RE/MAX Royal Jordan Inc. and Salette Group Inc.

Richard Martin’s Business Readiness Process:

  1. Ensure vigilance through situational awareness.
  2. Do preliminary assessment of tasks and time.
  3. Activate organization or team.
  4. Conduct reconnaissance.
  5. Do detailed situational estimate.
  6. Conduct wargame and decide on optimal course(s) of action.
  7. Perform risk management and contingency planning.
  8. Communicate plan and issue direction.
  9. Build organizational robustness.
  10. Ensure operational continuity.
  11. Lead and control execution.
  12. Assess performance.

Contact me to apply the whole thing–or just a piece, as needed–to improve your strategy, your readiness… and your results!

Did you know that an infantry battalion only needs about 3 to 4 hours of prep and planning time to be battle ready? What are you waiting for to get the same benefits for your outfit?

Why Sunday and What Does “Stand To” Mean?

Sunday? I want you to get my insights and advice first and fast, so you can prepare and up your readiness and results before others even know what’s happening!

And Stand To? It’s the order used in the military to get forces to man the parapets and be in a heightened state of situational awareness and, yes, readiness, so they can face any threat or undertake any mission.

My name is Richard Martin and I’m an expert on applying readiness principles to position companies and leaders to grow and thrive by shaping and exploiting change and opportunity, instead of just passively succumbing to uncertainty and risk.

© 2017 Alcera Consulting Inc. This article may be used for non-commercial use with proper attribution.

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