How the Mighty Fall, by Mike Breaux

I like reading books about leadership. I’ve got a bunch of them sitting on my shelves, right next to my coloring books.  Two of the classics are ‘Built to Last’ and ‘Good to Great’, by Jim Collins. Both are full of super enlightening research on how organizations get well-led and how they move from mediocrity to excellence.

A few years ago he came out with a small sequel to the ‘Good to Great’ book that took a look at some companies who had once ascended to ‘greatness’, but are now not even around anymore. The book is called… ‘How the Mighty Fall’.

He identifies five levels that dying companies go through as they spiral downward. Allow me skip past the first stage and move to the second.

 2. Undisciplined Pursuit of More

He talks about how lots of companies/organizations take their eye off of their main purpose, neglect their core competencies, and begin chasing after all kinds of different things. Case in point, electronics giant Circuit City began to do that, while its competitor, Best Buy, just focused on electronics. Bought anything at a Circuit City lately?

 3. Denial of Reality

Like all of these, I find that this one translates over into marriages, relationships, addictions, etc. It’s when you refuse to acknowledge reality. The research shows that when an organization starts pretending that everything’s okay, ignoring warning signs, and painting a rosy picture for the outside world to see, it’s on the way down.

 4. Grasping for Salvation

This is when many companies say, “We need to bring in an outside superstar to pull us out of this mess.” This is the stage where they are desperate for a silver bullet, swinging for the fences, just trying to survive.

 5. Death of the organization

Now, the fascinating thing about this research to me, is that the decline goes all the way back to the Stage One. Want to take a guess at what that might be?

You got it…EGO.

He calls it,

1. Hubris Born of Success

Dating back to ancient Greece, the concept of HUBRIS is defined as, ‘excessive pride that brings down a hero, or outrageous arrogance that inflicts suffering upon the innocent.’  Cockiness.

I couldn’t help but think how a secular business book had uncovered something that the Bible’s been saying for a long time.  “Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness (cockiness) before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

I’ve seen this play out in so many organizations, churches, marriages, friendships, teams, and people. I’ve seen EGO rear its ugly head in the lives of so many men and I cringe when it rears its head in mine.  I can point to so many bad decisions, bad reactions, and conflict that I’ve been through, and almost every time, can identify my own selfishness as the culprit. Pride. Hubris. EGO (which stands for Edging God Out). That’s how the mighty fall.

There are a few things that I have tacked up behind my desk that I need to re-read periodically. One of those things is by Beth Moore:

My name is Pride. I am a cheater.

I cheat you of your God-given destiny…because you demand your own way.

I cheat you of contentment…because you “deserve better than this.”

I cheat you of knowledge…because you already know it all.

I cheat you of healing…because you are too full of me to forgive.

I cheat you of holiness…because you refuse to admit when you are wrong.

I cheat you of vision…because you’d rather look in the mirror than out the window.

I cheat you of genuine friendship…because nobody’s ever going to know the real you.

I cheat you of love…because real romance demands sacrifice.

I cheat you of greatness in heaven…because you refuse to wash another’s feet on earth.

I cheat you of God’s glory…because I convinced you to seek your own.

My name is Pride. I am a cheater.

You like me because you think I’m always looking out for you.

Untrue. I’m looking to make a fool out of you.

God has so much for you, I admit, but don’t worry,

If you stick with me, you’ll never know.

That’s why it says that, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” (James 4:6b) When you and I get so full of EGO, we edge Him, and everybody else out of our life.

How does a narcissist change a light bulb? He stands still and let’s the world revolve around him.

I can’t stand it when I get like that, because I know better. I’ve read the research, I know the stats, plus I’ve been down that road too many times. Check out some ancient preventative wisdom from the heart of God.

Proverbs 18:12 (MSG) Pride first, then the crash, but humility is precursor to honor.

Proverbs 11:2 (NLT)Pride leads to disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Proverbs 13:10 (NLT)Pride leads to conflict; those who take advice are wise.

Luke 18:14(NIV) “For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

And that’s just an extremely small sampling of warnings about pride, hubris, EGO, and self-centeredness.

You know we guys can get pretty competitive can’t we? And it doesn’t take much… “Dude, bet you can’t jump up and touch that awning (7th graders)”… “Bet you can’t open that beer can with your head”… “Bet you won’t run naked around the dorm outside in the snow.” We get stupid.

I lost a bet with my son, Drew. He was talking about getting tattoo and I said, “There is no way you will go through with that. You are a chicken when it comes to needles. You hate pain. There is no way. In fact, the day you get one is the day I get one!”  He texted me from the tattoo place, “Your move.”  I thought, “Crap, now I gotta get one, and I hate needles!”

So I’m in the process of paying up on my bet. It’s just going to be a little bitty tat on some meaty part of my body (I’ve heard that hurts less) and I’ve already had a friend sketch it out. It’s my life verse from Micah 6:8 which basically reminds me daily to check my EGO with God. “Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God.”  Choose to do the right thing. Live and love beyond yourself. Move out of his seat and let God be God.

So what do you say we all try to do that today?  Let’s walk through this day without doing anything out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. What do you say we put others first, honor them, look out for them today?  The research is in, the warning signs are everywhere, so let’s not allow pride to take us out.  Act justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God.

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Categories: A First Faint Gleam

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5 Comments on “How the Mighty Fall, by Mike Breaux”

  1. June 28, 2012 at 12:03 pm #

    Reblogged this on Scott Hembrough and commented:
    Mike Breaux is great at sharing such simple messages and this is one of his best.

  2. May 3, 2014 at 10:09 pm #

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