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Know Yourself

by The Authors on May 9th, 2012

The more experience you acquire, the harder it is to challenge your assumptions and biases, unless you make it a daily practice to clear your mind, your heart, and your routines of every idea, belief, or practice that is no longer facilitating or accelerating the achievement of your desired results. The success and sustainability of your organization depends on it.

Failure to do so can lead to disastrous results. Kmart is a case in point. The discount retailer built a powerful brand only to see it taken over by Target and Walmart. Holding on to basic assumptions and biases about low prices, product quality, store location, and marketing were not enough to save the one-time $40 billion retailer from massive layoffs, store closings, and bankruptcy. When competitors such as Target, Walmart, Sam’s Club and Costco changed the game, built stronger brands, and developed clearer marketing messages, Kmart just kept doing the same old things because, after all, it had been the first mover in the market. Big mistake. If Kmart executives had been willing to challenge their assumptions and biases, they may have been able to improve their powerful brand instead of resting on past success. They may have been able to embrace new technology instead of giving in to the resistance of employees. They may have been able to focus their marketing strategy instead of letting it bounce all over the place. They may have been able to manage cash flow instead of letting profits dwindle year after year.

Know yourself. Understand your strengths and weaknesses. Develop the humility to surround yourself with people who are better and brighter than you are, people willing to challenge you and your assumptions and biases. The major reason for business failure is poor management, caused by leaders who did not recognize their weaknesses and did not seek help from those whose strengths could have helped. To learn more about how to keep yourself Above The Line by constantly challenging your assumptions and biases, join our Accountability Community at, where you can review the accounts of actual leaders and organizations.

Above The Line and Accountability Community are both registered trademarks of Partners In Leadership Inc.

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