Blame yourself for failures and blame other people for your successes. When you run out of people to blame for success, blame good luck. There’s no such thing as bad luck – it’s a crutch for people blinded by a bad attitude and too afraid to accept that failure might be their fault.
My biggest failure as a manager occurred when I did not hear the needs or woes of my team. I did not pay attention, did not read stressed faces and paid mind only to my own tasks. Your core mission as a manager? Get results out of others. If you do not understand your team because you have not listened to them, then you cannot possibly know their strengths and weaknesses enough to optimize results. You cannot tap into people’s drive if you have no grounds to empathize with them. It takes time and energy to “be there” for your team. It takes patience to hear every word and understanding to process everything. It often takes forgiveness and humility to avoid taking things personally. It takes regular interaction to stay current (people change, after all). More than anything else, it takes open ears. Listen to your team, hear them out. If they don’t speak, ask questions. Schedule a meeting. Go out for drinks or a meal. Whatever it takes to make your people comfortable enough to speak their mind.
Debate can only get you so far. There can be more direct ways to prove your point. When arguments crop up, set them aside, tentatively concede, or agree to disagree. Then find another actionable way to prove your point. Execute your vision, implement your procedure, test the waters – and return with indisputable support for your position. If you are confident without question, waste no time. If you fail to deliver, you can swallow your pride and know that you tried. If you succeed, you can save face with humility and a greater sense of accomplishment. What you do is more persuasive than what you say.
The key to building a great brand? Consistently providing great value. Without question, a brand like the one Ramit built will grow if you continue to deliver on your promise. People are thirsty for good content and will follow. However, the distance between a strong brand and a sustainable one can be measured by humility. Without too much self-deprecation, a brand must genuinely acknowledge weaknesses, listen to all parties invested and restrain bragging rights as much as possible. Celebrate success with your fans, defend your gifts to the world – and hold back the rest.
I have learned through nearly a year of writing this blog that headlines, tweets and content centered around myself or plugging my writing perform far worse than direct content. I beg you, dear readers – call me out any time my writing is sullied with boasting. No one likes content adulterated by too much Craig Ormiston.