Is Your Ego Bigger Than Your Skill Set?

I hired “Inga” early in her career. Because I knew she was a rising superstar, I spent a great deal of time mentoring her as well as introducing her to other people in the industry.

When she was ready to move on, I recommended her to an industry legend who was starting a new business. He hired her and she excelled there as well.

But then she left that position to start her own little consulting company. And the “buzz” in the industry has been that she is not always delivering assignments on time and is getting increasingly harder to deal with.

We hadn’t communicated since she went off on her own. Then, about a month ago, I received an e-mail from her.

She asked if we could have lunch so she could pick my brain regarding her consulting business. Because we both have busy schedules, we had to set the date for three weeks down the road.

Two days before our scheduled lunch, I e-mailed her to say I was looking forward to seeing her and to confirm the time and place.

I was shocked by her response. She had forgotten all about it. She said she was too busy, and asked if we could please meet the following day instead.

I couldn’t make it the following day. And I was understandably miffed, because I’d had to re-schedule several appointments to free up the day and time we’d originally set. As I tried to explain this to her, I felt suddenly sad. Here was someone whose ego had surpassed her talent.

Whether you are working in a corporate environment or on your own, you should always be building relationships. Relationships with your customers, your competitors, and certainly with your current and previous mentors. If you take these people for granted… and start putting yourself ahead of them… you’ll be burning valuable bridges. And doing that leads to the demise of any business.

[Ed. Note: I’m sure YOU wouldn’t turn down the chance to get business-building advice from MaryEllen Tribby. In fact, you can have the chance this November at ETR’s 2008 Info Marketing Bootcamp. And MaryEllen’s not the only superstar mentor who can help your income skyrocket. 12 of the world’s best and brightest marketers have agreed to ETR’s Internet Ultimatum.]

Mary Ellen Tribby

MaryEllen Tribby is a business consultant and coach to entrepreneurs in the information publishing and digital marketing arena. She led Early to Rise from May 2006 to January 2010 as Publisher & CEO. She has also served as President of Weiss Research, managing divisions of Forbes, Globe Communications, Times Mirror Magazines and Crain’s New York Business. She currently heads up The CEO's Edge and