Pride Comes Before a Fall

As we approach the end of the year, I always reflect on this statement. Its origin is in the Bible, and in the King James Version of Proverbs 16:18, we find: “Pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” Over hundreds of years, the phrase has been uttered in a multitude of ways, but its message has remained consistent.

When one has success, a human tendency can be to get “puffed up”, full of pride in that achievement. Unfortunately, this pride leads to an unjustified sense of entitlement and results in inattention. Another way of looking at this example is advice from the sporting world: never take your eye off of the ball. 

Because businesses are run by humans, they too can be easily led into complacency — a feeling of smug or uncritical satisfaction with oneself or one's achievements. This is an all-too-common occurrence, and pride will inevitably lead companies to stumble, and sometimes to go out of business if that pride is not swallowed soon enough. 

The lesson here is that, if a long-term commitment to perfection in performance is not maintained, success will be fleeting. Pride is a killer of companies — do not become a victim of your own success.

Personally, I am enthusiastic when Standard achieves success. I bring it into perspective and make a point to recognize and celebrate it. But I refuse to allow this recognition to go as far as developing into pride. Only by pressing every day for perfection and keeping your eye on the ball is a business destined to see success repeat itself in the future.


If you have any questions or comments, please email me, Pete Taylor, Chairman of the Board and CEO of Standard, at:

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