Arrogant assumption

When leaders say any of the following:

  • I put a lot of pressure on myself.
  • I hold myself to very high standards.
  • I am the biggest critic of my work.

It typically means that they will find it challenging to establish relationships based on trust, particularly with direct reports.

And it’s not because what they say is not true. It might indeed be that they expect a lot of themselves, that they are never happy with what they achieve, that they always strive for more.

But they then extend the same expectations on others. They assume that just because others don’t feel the same pressure, don’t adhere to the same standards, don’t agree with the same critiques, it means they are not as committed, as motivated, as performing.

That’s a bit of an arrogant assumption.


We want something, and when we get it we end up being deeply disappointed, unexpectedly scared, ultimately sad.

It might be because that thing is not what we wanted (or needed), but often it’s also because we do not have a clear idea of what the thing will entail. What skills are needed, what resources are necessary, what it actually means to be in the situation.

So, before we move onto the next big project – the new thing we really, really want now – let’s try to be with our achievement for a while. Let it sink in, get used to its reality, make it comfortable.

It might as well be that a bit of routine and practice is all we need next.

Quantity or quality

It’s not quantity that will make you feel accomplished and satisfied. That’s a lazy proxy for work that matters.

It’s not even quality. That’s volatile and no two people would agree on what that means.

It’s the alignment between what you do and what you stand for. And too often we mistake quantity or quality for the final goal.

On people and communities

It does not matter if you are a billionaire.

It does not matter if your new enterprise is going to make you a few more billions.

It does not matter if you are moved by mixed motives.

What matters is the impact you have on people and communities. And some enterprises have this much clearer than others.