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December 2, 2010

Number one leadership trait for a family business owner is Humilty

When I first heard a CEO say that the most important leadership trait was humilty, I was confused. At the time, I was working with Deloitte and starry eyed about CEOs but have since realized the truth of that definition.
The top family owned business in Ireland is a supermarket, Superquinn. Here is a family business owner who has stayed at the top where so many companies want to be, and surprise, he says his leadership trick is humilty. No Harvard MBA required for that.
Feargal Quinn says, "customer-service innovation and public service demand the same defining trait: humility."
Quinn likes to remind business leaders that they should make only five assumptions, which he calls his five lessons in humility: 

  1. My customers know more than I do. 
  2. My employees know more than I do. 
  3. Neither my employees nor I can be creative all of the time. 
  4. What I knew yesterday is not enough for today. 
  5. I'm not responding fast enough for my customer.

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