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Posted on Mar 31, 2017

Why Hide Humility as a Differentiating Value?

Why Hide Humility as a Differentiating Value?

I recently read an interview with Bracken Darrell, CEO of Logitech, where he stated that humility was part of the company culture. This caught my attention because humility is not a value commonly found in business.

Logitech-logoAccording to the interviewer, Darrell made the following profound statement:

We’re really not dominant in anything. We’re kind of humble about everything. We have a few moments of greatness. When we go into a category, we try to design it from a consumer experience out.

To be “humble about everything” AND “design…from a consumer experience” feels like a powerful combination. Is this really possible?

My next step was an investigation of Logitech’s website to explore the company’s values. Sadly, I found none. Or at least none that are clearly stated. Yes, there are various corporate governance documents, as expected for a publicly traded company.

Why is the value of humility not publicly stated for all Logitech employees to see? Does it really exist?

I then found Logitech job postings on various sites that included the following phrase at the top of each job description:

Be Yourself. Be Open. Stay Hungry and Humble. Collaborate. Challenge. Decide and just Do. These are the behaviors you’ll need for success at Logitech.

Now THIS is a powerful values statement. It’s also a great way to let prospective employees know what’s truly valued at the company.

So why wouldn’t Logitech post this values statement on their website, or at least under the Careers section? To me, it feels like a missed opportunity, as there are others who also claim this value.

Companies that Claim Humility

Two companies that publicly claim Humility as a core value are Avon and Kellogg’s. They have succinctly defined this value as follows:

  1. Avon Products: Humility simply means we’re not always right — we don’t have all the answers — and we know it. We’re no less human than the people who work for us, and we’re not afraid to ask for help.
  2. Kellogg’s: We have the humility and hunger to learn
    – Value openness and curiosity to learn from anyone, anywhere
    – Seek and provide honest feedback
    – Be open to personal change and continuous improvement
    – Learn from mistakes and successes in equal measure
    – Never underestimate our competition

Now imagine the clarity that could be offered to employees – and all other stakeholders – if Logitech would outline and define the value of Humility with the same level of specificity? Imagine the impact if others at Logitech openly and freely talked about this value, instead of just the CEO?

Those that embrace humility as a core value know that this is NOT a weak value. It’s how some strong brands have been built.

Real humility requires tremendous fortitude and strength to remain positive, to keep pushing forward, while acknowledging you don’t have all the answers. Humility gives permission to employees to acknowledge their mistakes and highlight what they’re doing to learn and grow and that will ultimately enhance the competitive positioning of the company.

This is the message I perceive the CEO of Logitech was sharing in this interview – and which I suspect is likely part of the company’s culture. So why not share this on their website so the company attracts others who value humility?

For those that can handle it, Humility can be a strong differentiating value. And it needs to be shared publicly.

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What other companies embrace humility as a core value?

Why-Hide-Humility-as-a-Differentiating-Value