Mastering Confidence And Humility In Business Can Save You Money

“Confidence and humility are a powerful combination.” So writes Chris Brogan as a general truth, and it certainly applies to the buying process. (Visit Chris here – great reading & thinking.)

In fact, confidence and humility and the yin and yang that make Buying Excellence work.

Here are the couplets of CONFIDENCE/HUMILITY and how they counter-balance:

  1. Be CONFIDENT about the goals.
  2. Be HUMBLE about the methods.

If you know what is important to you and how the purchase will drive your economics, you are prepared to buy well. (See Know Thy Benefit.) If you are not sure of your goals or their relative importance, any half-decent salesperson can convince you that what he’s selling is exactly what you need.

In terms of HOW you get to those objectives, humility serves you well. Technology and best practices change constantly, and vendors usually know far more about the current solutions than you will. A humble posture makes every purchase an education.


Be CONFIDENT about your process.

Be HUMBLE about your skill.

Use a proven approach to sourcing/shopping (try Four Steps to Buying Excellence) and commit to it at the start. If you decide you are going to find four qualified vendors, or reach out to two peer companies, or get team input on your choice… FOLLOW THROUGH. Don’t second-guess the plan because a viable solution appears early on; trust the plan.

Have the humility to put your instincts and prior successes in the back seat. Those who consider themselves great negotiators are set up for a fall. Many disastrous decisions can be traced back to a point where someone was 80% sure they were making the right call, so they skipped a checkpoint or third opinion.


Be CONFIDENT about what is right.

Be HUMBLE about what is realistic.

If the purchase meets internal resistance or implies organizational change, your leadership needs to balance the ideal outcome with political viability. This may mean accepting second-best in the short term because others are not as prepared for change as you are.

Your choice is to be resentful or to be respectful.

The latter path – folding in the humility – positions you to learn more and to educate others. You can still be right, but you’ll also be far more effective.



What major decision or purchase does your team face in the next month? Here are six questions to ask:

  1. Are you confident about your understanding of the goals?
  2. Are you confident about the process?
  3. Are you confident about the right outcome?
  4. Are you humble about how your goals can be achieved? (Open to learning new methods?)
  5. Are you humble about your skill? (Putting it below process?)
  6. Are you humble about what is realistic for your team at this time?

At Buying Excellence we specialize in 1, 2, and 3 above (and love talking about 4-6)… so give me a call if you’d like help changing a “no” to a “yes.”, 703.944.9676.

Or post a comment below and let’s keep the conversation going. Humbly (and confidently) yours, Jack.

Here are some other great articles on the site that can help you achieve your Buying Excellence:

The Four Magic Words Of Negotiation

3 Ways To Save Money: The Only Things You Ever Need In Business Dealings

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