As we approach our 20-year anniversary at The Table Group, I am reminded of all that has changed in our company, and in the world of work since 1997. New technologies. New industries. New trends in employment. But what stands out for me the most is what hasn’t changed.
The best companies, the best leaders, continue to understand that discipline and courage beat intelligence and knowledge every time. Over these past two decades, I have seen so many companies struggle in spite of the considerable knowledge and experience of their leaders and employees, and I’ve seen just as many flourish with far less intellectual capacity, as long as they were capable of embracing the simple—but difficult—realities of building a healthy organization.
And yet, as confident as I am in this truth, I am fascinated by that lingering temptation to believe that amassing more knowledge is somehow the key to success. There is something about society or education or popular culture that wants us to believe that knowing is more important than doing, that inspiration is better than perspiration. But it isn’t. And it never will be. Even in a world where ubiquitous technology and artificial intelligence are the brightest, shiniest objects around.
Two decades after launching our little firm founded on the simple principles of organizational health, I am more convinced than ever that the best leaders will always be those who can delight in new ideas and concepts without losing sight of the fact that discipline, simplicity, courage and integrity will never become obsolete.