Episode: 123 |
Will Bachman:
Chutzpah and Humility:


Will Bachman

Chutzpah and Humility

Show Notes

I discuss four quadrants on a classic 2×2 matrix

Vertical axis: willingness to take the initiative

Chutzah = high willness

Compliance = low willingness

Horizontal axis: openness to new information

Humility = high openness

Arrogance = low openness

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Will Bachman 00:01
Welcome to Unleashed the show that explores how to thrive as an independent professional. I’m your host. And in January, I’m posting an episode daily, long form interview episodes on Mondays and shorter episodes on Tuesday through Sunday. Today, I want to talk about hutzpah and humility. According to some definitions, the words could be considered antonyms. But I’d like to use those words in a specific way such that the meanings are orthogonal and independent. And let’s talk about it traditional two by two matrix with the vertical access as willingness to act independently. And I’m going to say that chutzpah is high willingness to act independently. The opposite would be compliance. So one extreme we have chutzpah. Now, what’s book can have negative connotations in the Yiddish I’ve, I’ve read, but I want to use the term to encompass audacity and presumptuousness, a high degree of willingness to act without permission from authority. So running to be president of the Harvard Law Review, if you’re a student at Harvard Law School, does not demonstrate hutzpah, it would be ambition, but but not really presumption. However, a first year law student that starts a new law review to compete with the Harvard Law Review does demonstrate hutzpah society has not given that student permission. If someone could ask or does ask, Who are you to do this? Or what do you think you are? Who do you think you are to do this, that is probably a sign that you’re demonstrating hutzpah. And the opposite would be compliance. And I think we understand what that means. The other dimension, the horizontal dimension is openness to new information. And I’m going to call the right hand side, humility, humility and the left hand side arrogance. So humility, while it can have the implications of low self regard, low opinion of myself, I want to use the term humility to mean a lack of attachment to being right, a willingness or even an eagerness to have your ideas challenged. And if new effects support an alternate belief, a willingness to change one’s mind, high curiosity, you’d rather be better informed than be proven correct. No. arrogance on the left hand side, however, is that you’re convinced by your own story, you’d rather win the argument. And you’re resistant to new ideas, new facts or changing your mind. So you’re unwilling to ask for directions. So let’s talk about the four quadrants on are to buy to start with the top left. So high hutzpah, and high arrogance. As someone who is in the top left can create a very successful startup least successful in the short term, if the person happens to be right about one big thing and has the hutzpah to act on it. But when new sources of information rise, if they’re close to those new source of information, if the facts change, that startup can blow up. And they because they’re insulated from new sources of information and a changing, changing landscape. So success makes the intrapreneur Executive even more convinced of their infallibility until they blow up. So I would call this sector of high chutzpah and high arrogance, time bombs. Now let’s talk about the bottom left high compliance, but hi arrogance. These are callers to sports talk radio, are full of opinions, but they start nothing useful. Avoid these people at all costs, exclude them from your company, and I call them critics. The bottom right, high compliance and high humility. These are good factory workers. They won’t love the company. They’re do what they’re told. They won’t start anything that you weren’t expecting. It’s what we’ve designed our schools to produce, they give the right answer. They study hard for the test, they can complete an assignment on time. And if the job can be procedure alized then we can get someone from the bottom right to do that. We can call these individuals cogs. The final quadrant is high chutzpah and high humility, somewhat contradictory postures. chutzpah is a high willingness to take the initiative without being granted permission, but also high humility, seeking out evidence to challenge one’s old one’s own cognitive biases. These are the type of people that I like to hang out with as friends or colleagues or his clients. And I call this group linchpins, taking the term from Seth Godin book linchpin. Are you indispensable linchpin, the high hutzpah Humility seeks out new ways to automate her own work to get off her plate so that she can take on new responsibilities. She has the confidence, the self confidence in the initiative to identify a problem and fix it and at the same time, recognize that she might be wrong. So always seeking out signals, how can my business get disrupted to the fact still support my convictions? A lynchpin does not get blown from one direction to the next with the latest trend to rumor. They do have the audacity to abandon their own beliefs and even walk away from a sunk cost investment that no longer makes sense to capture new opportunities that have emerged. In a rapidly evolving market. Individuals with high chutzpah and high humility will always be in demand. They can’t be outsourced, because what they do cannot be procedure. alized. So, thanks for listening. If you thought this was interesting, I hope you share it with one or two friends. And if you haven’t already, you can go and visit umbrex.com slash Unleashed and sign up for the weekly Unleashed email where we include transcripts of each episode, some book recommendations and consulting tips. Thanks for listening.

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