Hubris: extreme haughtiness or arrogance. Hubris often indicates being out of touch with reality and overestimating one's own competence or capabilities, especially for people in positions of power.
When I woke up this morning the word hubris popped into my mind (I also had the weirdest dream about overcoming hurdles but that's for another post). Hubris. I like the way it sounds. The way it rolls off the tongue. We all display a bit of hubris from time to time, whether we are in positions of power or not, as do organizations.
Drawing on my experience in the enterprise software space, I've been thinking about the major enterprise software players. Are they hubristic in their dealings and the way they position themselves? At times... but at worst, its situationally dependent. For example:
Vinnie Merchandani may see some hubris in how SAP had dealt with its customers regarding its maintenance policies.
Is it hubristic of Microsoft to not offer upgrade pricing or transfers for Office 2010?
Was it hubris that led Oracle to shut down a free support blog authored by one of its senior support people?
Overall, hubris seems to rear its ugly head in dealings with customers. And that is indeed unfortunate. Typically, I don't believe these companies suffer from hubris although there are behaviors that arise from time to time that can be classified as such. But the more these (or any) organization puts the customer at the center of their dealings and partners with them in all aspects, the less the tendency to display hubris.
Hubris occurs when an organization (1) thinks they know better than their customers what is right for them & (2) an organization believes that they can maintain the status quo that is beneficial to the firm, ultimately harmful to the customer and takes a "don't worry, the customer will just get over it" attitude. They believe that customers will get used to the firm's new old way of doing things - when in fact its just a tactic to extract more value from the market.
I do think that rather than trying to extract value at the expense of customers, customers need to be included in the process. In that way true sustainable value is created for both the supplier and buyer.
Customers get down right evangelical when they are included.