Walk in Humility, Defeat Self-Importance

humility, john g miller, qbq

That’s 15-year-old me entertaining my brother-in-law, Tom, and sister, Lucy. As you can probably tell, as a kid I was loud, verbal, boisterous, and high-energy. Witty and funny, too— the “class clown.”

So I thought. 😉

My family used to laugh when I’d declare, “There’s no conceit in my family … I have it all!”

As they say, that’s all fine and dandy for a young person—but hopefully, this “self-importance” did not stay with me as I grew.

How does one tame self-importance? The answer is nothing new to you, but always worth exploring.

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Accountable People NEVER Stop Growing Up

Yep, that’s 23-year-old me. Chuckle all you want — I’m not offended. 😄

Viewing this photo, I know something you don’t:

As a man, husband, and future father, I had a ton of maturing to do.

Quick Story

Over coffee, I asked a longtime friend, Rich, how his two sons were doing. His response surprised me.

“Well, one grew up. The other one didn’t.”

I asked, “Wait a second, Rich, aren’t they both in their thirties now?”

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Customer Service: Outstanding People Care

outstanding, customer service

Reasonable people know mistakes happen. How do I know this to be true? Examples like the one below. This is a story of a vendor solving a problem that the vendor itself created — and yet the customer is still “wowed.” It’s not rocket science — people just want to work with people who … care.

Nancy’s Story

John, when we place an order with a supplier using their automated purchasing system, the pricing is quoted by them and approved by us seamlessly. A couple of days later, we receive emails from the vendor informing us the product has been shipped and providing an ETA. It’s all very slick.

Recently, several days after I placed three orders, the usual emails had not been received. Upon checking, I discovered no materials were en route.

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Be Like Humble Servant, Captain Terry!

One of our favorite stories ever. Enjoy, share! John and Kristin

servant, servant leadership, leadership, qbq, accountability

I arrived at the Cleveland airport for my flight feeling dread. I had to get to Portland, Oregon that night, and I was taking the last flight west. On top of that, I had to connect through the always chaotic O’Hare International Airport.

We pulled away from the gate on time, but then a “ground hold” happened. Going nowhere, my worry meter kicked in.

Meanwhile, I was sitting next to a United Airlines pilot — Captain Terry Callaghan — who was catching a ride to O’Hare to pilot a flight to Germany. Airline pilots operate in a hierarchical, seniority-based system, and only the most senior pilots fly the foreign routes. Add that to his captain’s hat and distinguished gray hair, and I knew he was an experienced professional. He was able to explain the reasons behind our delay, which helped a little, but I still needed to be in Portland that night — and we were losing precious minutes fast.

We finally took off …

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Making Ownership Happen!

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ownership, accountability, managing people, management skills

This image still makes me laugh. A patron had spilled two ounces of coffee on the floor … and the staff had put up a warning sign! What’s your first thought? Mine was, How ’bout just wiping it up? Isn’t that what you’d do at home?

Truth be told, the barista team behind the counter was busy exchanging views on their past and present romantic relationships.

Yep, they could be overheard.

Not spoken, but clearly voiced through lack of action, were three statements that can destroy any organization:

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18 Easy Ways to Destroy Trust

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Princess Jasmine is in a perilous situation. For the second time in the 1992 movie, Aladdin is there, reaching out to her, stretching, straining, desperately trying to rescue her. But she hesitates, frightened.

Then he looks into her eyes and asks, “Do you trust me?”

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Accountable Living: Facts, Truth, and Mirrors

accountability, excuses, blame

Whether we call it “working backward” or just truth-based examination of facts, responsible people get to the root of problems. Forthrightly. Honestly. Dare I say, courageously. For them, there are no fingers pointed at anyone or anything — only a good, long look in the mirror.

Real-Life Example: Mirrors Hurt and Instruct

Todd works with prison inmates and told me this story:

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Am I a COVID-19 Grump or a Positive Leader?

Are you a pandemic grouch? Has anyone called you “Grumpy Pants”?

My wife, Karen — her name is Karen, but she’s not one of those Karens 🤪 — and I are convinced one of the least-talked-about effects of the Coronavirus is people are out of sorts. You know …

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“Why Me?” Is Always The Wrong Question

whining, victim, accountability, leadership

Why me?” is the easiest question to ask — yet theres no value in it at all.

I grew up in a good family. My father was successful and popular, my mom loving and giving. My parents never divorced. We didnt ever go hungry. Hence, some people assume I’ve lived a “charmed life.”

Well, it’s not all been charming …

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