I found this article to be quite interesting and has certainly applied to my life at various times.  It is a great article about Leadership and shouldn't be a stretch to extrapolate to anyone who wants to become a leader within a dental office.  Bottom line, keep learning, keep growing and you will keep succeeding!!  If you get knocked down, and you will, don't stay down long.  Get back up.
 
Darren Kabeerna MBA
 
 
Saeed Al Muntafiq  February 15, 2013

As profound as the saying may be: “The more I know the less I understand,” the opposite sentiment could be applied to the often gung ho and know-it-all attitudes of the young. In my own youth I was no exception. It was 1989 - fresh out of university, back to my country after studying in the UK, and full of world-dominating expectations – mostly unrealistic as I would soon find out.

I was stone broke, having worked two jobs to fund my first degree. I was interviewed by the four largest state-owned companies of the time. I felt that as a citizen of my country I had the God-given right to be employed added to that in my own mind I knew everything. There was nothing that anyone could teach me.

I eventually landed a job with one of the largest Oil&Gas companies in my country. Displaying my usual arrogance, I felt I was doing the company a favor during the interview. Nevertheless, they offered me the position of Marketing Executive for a defined geography totaling 28 retail oil outlets. My first monthly pay check was around $1500 – it felt like a million. I was given a Toyota Cressida to drive (a brown one) – it was my first car and it felt like a Rolls Royce. I had arrived at the gateway to the world.

My job was to do the rounds of all the stations, among other responsibilities; conduct ‘dipping’ fuel level tests and returning to the main office to place replenishment orders where necessary (in those days most of the stations themselves didn’t have telephones). There were four other people in my department – all older – all more experienced – and I knew better then all of them – or so I thought. I was convinced that within six months I would also take over my boss Kevin’s job – a veteran in the industry of 34 years.

How wrong I was. Yet Kevin would be my saving grace – after one fateful day when my arrogance became my undoing. The cardinal rule in the oil industry is to never let a retail filling station run out of fuel. And low and behold, just three weeks into starting the job my radar, blurred by my own presumptions and arrogance went way out of focus. Five stations went dry at the same time – out of 28 stations this equated a huge 18% chunk of the fuel retail business. Worse still, with the stations unable to communicate by phone, I didn’t find out until I went to the office the next morning, along with a note on my desk from Kevin summoning me to see him.

As it happens, I was lucky to have Kevin as my boss - to this day one of the best bosses I’ve ever had. Yes, I received a well-deserved reprimand (the first of its kind. Shock and Owe!!), but a number of revelations also came out of our meeting. The first thing he said that still rings with me today was, “You think you know it all, don’t you? Well, you don’t I do” It was the sudden recognition that I didn’t know it all – not even close. That you need battle scars to gain experience – like the World War Two pilots that put a notch on their plane for every enemy aircraft they shot down (each would earn their worth in the eyes of others by collecting an impressive brace of notches). Most of all I learnt that at all times you should retain a healthy dose of humility.

Of course it is impossible to succeed without some level of ego – have you ever seen a ‘timid’ great leader? It is through our own self-confidence that we develop crucial skills in communication or negotiation for example. But great leaders equally recognize that they don’t know it all – acknowledge their mistakes – and perhaps most importantly learn from those around them. In the subsequent 12 years I spent working with some of the best global Oil&Gas companies, I never let another station go dry – neither did any of the teams I led.

I like to use the analogy that if ego is the engine and horsepower in a car, then humility is the traction control that keeps it on the road.

My conversation with Kevin gave me a life-changing perspective – a completely different outlook. It taught me to surround myself with people more experienced than myself – to interact and learn from them – to absorb their knowledge and experience.

I put my arrogance aside and created a learning ethos within myself. At the end of my own work shift at 3pm, I would go to our fuel terminal at the Port to learn about logistics, distribution and shipping. At 6pm I would go back to the filling stations and learn about the on-the-ground ‘nitty gritty’ aspects of the business. I would be at work half an hour before the next guy arrived, and leave the office two hours after everyone had gone.

Within nine months of my huge faux pas, at the age of 22, I was promoted to the much more senior position of retail sales manager.

There are many that highlight the importance of maintaining a work-life balance – and of course there are huge life benefits in doing so. At the same time, being at the top of your game means making sacrifices – often at the expense of the work-life balance we often so eagerly seek. It’s even more important then, to make your sacrifices work for you. It’s a solitary and uphill struggle when you’re trying to build the notches of experience when you’re out on your own. If you want to be in the top 5% of CEO’s in the world. You will not have a work life balance!

Till part two…..