MESSAGE FROM THE AUTHORS
month we continue our new series of articles called
Building Trust on the Way In with a
discussion about keeping up the good work.
because you do a bang-up job once doesn't mean you're
destined for future success. Leaders know that relying
on past results can be perilous.
if You Flub It?
the Big Mistake
Virtual Inner Circle
month's issue: Listen and Do Your Homework
Harvard Business Review case study: Succession
and Failure, co-authored by Rob Galford. Available
TRUST ON THE WAY IN PART II: PASS THE HUMILITY, PLEASE.
Past Performance is
no Guarantee of Future Results
Even if you are a star chef Alain
Ducasse type, with a terrific track record behind you,
you know that every leadership situation you encounter is
different. While it certainly helps that you might have opened
three new stores or four new regions in the same way you have
done before, this next one can indeed be unlike the others.
If you are on the way in to a situation
that is similar to others you've encountered, taking that
deep inventory of what is the same, and making that profound
inquiry into what may be different (whether consciously or
unconsciously) has probably helped you each time. The more
conscious you can be about the deep inquiry of similarities
and differences, the better off you will be.
Take Jean, for instance, someone with
substantial experience in this vein. Jean runs a huge mail-order
An hourly work force of several thousand,
along with 130 front-line supervisors, 25 second-level supervisors
and 5 managers reporting to Jean, handle as many as 100,000
orders in a 24-hour period. The work force is largely part-timers,
engaged in strenuous physical work, and performed according
to rigorous standards and measures. As one can imagine, it
is not an easy place to work, and the combined challenges
of retaining a part-time labor force and maximizing their
productivity are substantial.
Jean's company places great emphasis on
building trust. They expect their leaders to not only be confident,
but also trustworthy, and caring. Jean builds this emphasis
on trust into a set of practical action steps to which she
By dint of promotions, transfers and schedule
changes, Jean has had her fair share of situations in which
she was required to build trust anew. In examining some of
her more successful experiences with building trust on the
way in, her very first comment squarely addressed the relative
value of one's prior experience as follows: " In almost
all the successful ones, I took the preconceived notions I
had developed about jobs and people, and I held them to the
side. You just can't start out with them."
Jean went on to say that relying on past
results was perilous, as it could deceive one into thinking
that situations (and solutions) were similar when the case
was precisely the opposite.
Your past performance might have gotten
you into your new situation, but continuing “in kind”
may not be what will make you successful.
How about you? How have you kept from
using your past success as a crutch in future situations?
Let us know.
forward this newsletter to your colleagues and friends who
are interested in organizational and leadership issues. Your
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