Many years ago, one of my university professors mentioned that "windowsill" was voted the most beautiful word in the English language. Being an armchair linguist, this factoid naturally stayed with me.
Words have enormous power. They can make us erupt into laughter or bring tears to our eyes. They can influence, inspire, manipulate and shock. They can build and destroy.
Some words have different effects on different people. One such word is humility. It is one of those words that are seldom in neutral gear. Some, like me, love the word and all it stands for. Some almost fear it and interpret it synonymously with lack of self-confidence or timidity.
The dictionary defines humility as modesty, lacking pretence, not believing that you are superior to others. An ancillary definition includes: "Having a lowly opinion of oneself, meekness". The word "humility" first struck me in the context of leadership when Jim Collins mentioned it in his seminal work Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap... and Others Don't. In this book, Collins examined companies that went from good to great by sustaining 15-year cumulative stock returns at or below the general stock market, and after a transition point, cumulative returns at least three times the market over the next 15 years.
Among the many characteristics that distinguished these companies from others is...
"When I started using Mind Tools, I was not in a supervisory position. Now I am. Along with that came a 12% increase in salary." – Pat Degan, Houston, USA
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