Obviously slightly cocky he, Bob Lanier began the session with an uncomfortable pill for most of us to swallow. An entrepreneur needs to have an ego. After being overwhelmed by the Isms and books like Good to Great that stated great leaders are rarely cocky but innately humble, Bob’s maxim smacked us in the face harder than a Spalding basketball dunked by Wilt Chamberlin.
In our first meeting with Dan Gilbert, he mentioned that Donald Trump’s seemingly big ego was actually a small ego. In Good to Great, a level 5 leader rarely saw success as their own doing. As I tried to digest this statement by Bob Lanier I had to draw some connections in order for it to make sense. Dominic Pangborn was the first thing that stuck for me. Dominic boldly told his boss after barely hearing about the health benefits offered at his new job that he better be nice to him because he was going to be his boss one day. Then he made it happen.
As I thought more, an entrepreneur really did need an ego. A great leader can be humble, sure. A great leader probably needs to be humble, but I think that’s part of growth. Entrepreneurs need to have bravado in their ego that tells them they can do what’s never been done before or what others don’t believe they can, that’s the only way it happens. An Entrepreneur needs to think that it’s them that make good things happen in the beginning, because in most cases it will have to be them that make things happen.
As I rethink the past few months I can only help but wonder, have we been led astray. I believe everything we learned is important in developing an organization that is built to last. But everything has it’s time. A billionaire CEO wouldn’t throw a party after closing a million dollar party to celebrate and bask in his glory, but I bet at his first million dollar deal he did gloat a little. An Olympic track star wouldn’t get on the track and start crawling around, but at one point that track star had to crawl before he could run. Are we being taught that crawling is what week entrepreneurs do before we’ve learned to make solid steps?