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Complacency and arrogance

Reading your own press clippings.

Belittling competitors.

Overweening self-confidence.

All are all too common when companies are succeeding, growing and taking marketshare. Everything is going well and senior leadership is blissfully confident that it always will. Any hint of a shadow on the horizon is rapidly dismissed as insignificant, unimportant, and nothing to be concerned about. After all, everything we do is well thought-out, smart, and insightful, if not outright brilliant.

Internal dissent, contrasting opinions and concerns about troubling indicators are quickly dismissed. After all, things are going so well, those can’t be right. Nah…that negativity is just the product of jealousy…feeble efforts by detractors unable to compete in the marketplace or staff unable to grasp how smart the C-Suite is.

You gotta see the new product/service we developed…it’s a game-changer, a big leap forward, way better than our erstwhile competitors! How do we know? Well because we built it…and everything we touch turns to gold.

But wait, what about continuing to improve our core product, enhance our service, incrementally get better? That’s where most of our revenue comes from, what made us successful and built our stellar reputation…

Sure of course yeah let’s do that…but look at this shiny object!
this webinar! This industry award! This way-better-than-anyone-else-has product! This brochure that features a big picture of…me! This interview in (insert media outlet)!

This is all too common in the world of work comp services. As in sports, business, entertainment and politics, leaders that focus on themselves, their successes, their brilliance – and fail to focus on continuing to do what made them successful in the first place – will inevitably fail.

Success is not about you, your social media followers, your past successes, resume, or brilliant ideas.  It certainly isn’t about how much better you are than your competitors…or rather how much better YOU think you are.

Success is about nurturing customers, listening hard to them, seeking to understand what they want, why they want it, and how they want it. It’s about making damn sure the people who pay your bills – your customers – know you are 100% focused on them.

what does this mean for you?

1. if you are darn sure you’re really good and all is well…it isn’t.

2. It’s not about you  it’s about your customers.



10 thoughts on “Complacency and arrogance”

  1. Great post Joe – Good professional and personal advice! Believing your own hype breeds complacency – the fuel for mediocrity! Keep up the great work

  2. Joe, spot on and so easy to forget. The Cliff Notes version of what you wrote is what I shared a couple of days to the founders of one of the companies I’m advising – “Guys, companies and organizations get in trouble when they believe their own BS.” We’ll see if anyone was listening. Be well, Marc

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Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates



A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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