We’ve all seen it happen: A company gets big, they start thinking they’re too big to fail, and the business falls apart. It’s said that pride goes before the fall; but what if it could have been prevented?
After several years of 40 percent Y/Y growth at America’s Preferred Home Warranty (APHW), the company’s president saw how unchecked pride could become a problem—so he started a book study with his top leadership.
Book studies have since expanded across the company, with all different books helping us to continue improving ourselves, and our service.
“It started with his desire to make sure we keep ourselves in check,” said APHW CEO Rodney Martin, noting the first couple of book studies: Success Kills and Why Great Men Fall, both by Wayde Goodall. “Randy always says to us as leaders that pride comes before a great fall, and those two books are really all about making sure we don’t get a big head about ourselves or the things that come with success.”
The leadership share their weekly meeting minutes company-wide to ensure transparency with our team members. This allows everyone to know what’s going on—including the current book study—and the books are also made available for everyone’s use.
“For me it’s about continual learning, continuing to evolve,” Rodney said. Beyond just going around the horn, the book studies increase the dialogue and conversation at the meetings. “They help foster relationships, and that’s critical to growing a business,” he said.
With the success of those first two leadership book studies, several other departments started following suit. Marketing is currently reading Atomic Habits by James Clear, and another department is working through The Accidental Sales Manager, by Chris Lytle. Each of these books will eventually make it onto the bookshelf, including the current leadership review, Sticking Points: How to Get 5 Generations Working Together in the 12 Places They come Apart, by Haydn Shaw.
“It’s all about what you can do to create a conversation,” Rodney said. “Just by talking about these things, we get to know each other better, sharing our thoughts and views over a whole array of topics over the years. We get a pretty good insight into how each other thinks, and we can understand how to approach each other with different thoughts and ideas.”
These book studies recently helped APHW earn a Torch Award for Ethics from the Better Business Bureau. As it turns out, the best way to prevent overconfidence is to realize how much you have yet to learn.