by Tom Reilly

Lao Tzu, Chinese philosopher, 6th century BC wrote, “The reason why rivers and seas are able to be lords over a hundred mountain streams is they know how to keep below them. That is why they are able to reign over all the mountain streams. All streams flow to the ocean because it is lower than they are. Humility gives the ocean its power.” Organizations that embrace the paradoxical power of humility find that it is good business.

Is The Humility Paradox right for your organization?

Does your organization …

  1. Have silos? (Do departments and team members battle each other?)
  2. Impose its definition of value on customers?
  3. Have a reputation of arrogance?
  4. Allow rank to have its privileges? (Do leaders enjoy privileges others cannot?)
  5. Treat customer service as a department versus an attitude?
  6. Welcome change? (Does your organization view it as an opportunity?)
  7. Adapt to market forces? (Does your organization drive or follow the market)
  8. Embrace innovation? (How innovative are your products, systems, and procedures?)
  9. Promote teamwork? (Encourage cooperation versus competition among teams?)
  10. Encourage personal development? (Does your organization provide ongoing training?)

“Yes” responses on questions 1-5 signal the need for more organizational humility. “No” responses on questions 6-10 signal the need for more organizational humility.

Author byline: Tom Reilly is an author of twelve books. Tom is literally the guy who wrote the book on Value-Added Selling (McGraw-Hill, 2010), the book that started the value selling revolution.

This article is adapted from Tom Reilly’s new book, The Humility Paradox (Motivation Press, 2015). It is available at or at AMAZON.

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