The word ego written on a weight

Is your ego making you unprofitable?

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The word ego written on a weightDid you know that, in agriculture, ego is one of the main causes of businesses being unprofitable?

Everyone has an ego. Sometimes it gives us a healthy basis for decision making and confidence. Other times, ego works against us, resulting in undesirable outcomes. Have you ever paid way too much at an auction?  Ego can interfere with our ability to determine when our decision to stay in the auction is more about pride or image than about value for money.

Ego becomes an issue when there is an imbalance between emotion and logical reasoning. A good decision requires a healthy combination of both; however, if our ego is allowed to take control, it is likely that emotion will override logical reasoning. Please note, I’m referring to logical reasoning, not logic.  Who determines what is logical and what isn’t? If you go chasing logic, then you’ll spend a lot of time of time trying to determine right and wrong.  This is where egos have a field day!  To know what is right or wrong you need to know exactly what is going to happen in the future. So, unless you have a fully functioning crystal ball, I believe we are better served discussing what might happen.

It is in discussion about possible scenarios where you gain control.*

In considering scenarios, always aim to utilise meaningful information available to you (for example, what your current reality is, potential future rainfall, yield, cost basis or market patterns) as well as gut instinct, experience, passion and clear goals. The more scenarios you are prepared for, the higher likelihood of success you’ll have.

This is where ego is useful. When considering scenarios, ego gives us the confidence to make a decision despite the unknowns or the enormity of the decision.  Decision paralysis costs businesses a lot of money so using ego to make the best decision you can at the point in time is a really good thing.

In my next two articles we’ll look at the impact of ego on decision making and our ability to:


Until then,

David McLean

David McLean

Chairman, RCS.


*A good read on scenario planning is ‘The Fox Trilogy’ by Clem Sunter.