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Humility in the Workplace and Sugar Buzzes
February 21, 2019
By Brett Grischo


A perk (or problem) of being in the media planning and buying business is all the goodies our sales reps bring into the office. Halloween, Christmas and Valentine’s Day are particularly awesome (and horrible – to the waist line). Candy, pastries, cupcakes – I’m beginning to think these people are also investors in dentistry and health clubs with all the yummies they bring us.

For the record, I am NOT complaining. I have will power. Somewhere. We all appreciate the nice gesture and the sugar buzz that comes in handy around that midafternoon energy slump. As I sit at my desk writing this blog post while eating M&M’s, bagels, cupcakes, frosted cookies, assorted nuts and handfuls of goodness from the triple combo popcorn can with Xmas decorations, I can’t help but think of pie. Yes, pie. Humble pie.

Mindy recently sent me an article about humility in the workplace. I humbly said, “What are you saying,” and she replied that it wasn’t directed to me as a personal problem, but rather something that we haven’t actively discussed as an important part of our culture and as a trait individually and collectively at Explore. I shoved some donut holes in my face and said, “Cool, so you are saying I’m awesome, right?”

She took away my peanut butter cups and told me to read the article. I did and then I researched humility in the workplace further. I found fantastic posts like this and this and then the Blue Toyota Syndrome (you never see a blue Toyota until you buy one and then you see them everywhere) hit me harder than the sugar buzz from the giant chocolate Valentine I ate after the day-old chocolate chip brownie.

A recent Wall Street Journal article had a blurb from Jim Collins where he said, “great leaders share two qualities: personal humility and unshakable resolve.” And then later in the day I was watching a lesson on writing at MasterClass by Malcom Gladwell and he said we have a moral obligation to pursue humility as a trait. We are better people when we are humble. Humility allows one to navigate the world more easily. It’s easier to learn, to get along with others and to appreciate the world around us. We are truer versions of ourselves when we are humble.

The topic of humility in the workplace is being thrown at me while I’m also seeking out the information! Dang. I love how the universe works even more than I love these Snickers bars (are these from Halloween??? – I don’t care).

So, Mindy and I went to Acova because we do some of our best work while bellied up to bars and discussed humility in the workplace much further. We think everyone at Explore demonstrates a healthy dose of humility and that collectively we are indeed a humble shop. With that said, we think we can be more conscious of humility as a trait that we want to own and demonstrate unconsciously and regularly. So, we are adding humility to our company values and also to our employee review process so we can gauge how we are doing; for one and for all.

Our company culture should reflect our personal values and vice versa. We know we can’t do this thing called life without others and having humility in the workplace will make us better individuals and a better media planning and buying shop.

As I scarf down another slice of birthday cake, I am humbled by my peeps at work. I hope they feel the same about me. And I hope they hide the Peeps at Easter. My stomach already hurts.




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