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Leadership Thought #322 – It Has To Be About More Than Just Money

The most successful business owners I know are focused on building great companies and/or fulfilling an important mission instead of just making money.  Financial success should be the end result not the driving force.  This becomes especially apparent after the business experiences some level of economic success.  Instead of becoming greedy and short term focused these leaders often double down and invest surplus resources in continuing to grow the business and its people.   They genuinely appreciate the importance and responsibility of having a positive impact on others and adding real value to their marketplace.  

Self-satisfaction comes from a sense of doing something worthwhile, difficult, and significant.  I’ve always believed that what motivates you matters.  There has to be something that gets you out of the bed in the morning and inspires you to put forth your best effort besides money.  Self -aggrandizement gets old quickly.  There are only so many things you can buy, privileges you can experience, or vacations you can take before they begin to lose their luster.   Just look at the professions where people get rich too quickly (and too easily) to see the evidence of how self-destructive and ego-driven many of these people become.

While most of our management decisions happen in the present tense, leadership is about looking to future.  Once you get to a certain size you need to be very careful about putting your own personal economic needs above what’s best for the company.   It’s amazing how something that can take a lifetime to build can crumble under the weight of a few bad decisions and selfish thinking.  I also believe that passion is a critical variable in success and this only happens when individuals are inspired by a higher purpose which is rarely just personal wealth.  Once the pursuit of money and power becomes the end all and be of business we end up with the questionable ethics that now permeate Wall Street and our political process. 

Focus your leadership energies on building, creating, innovating, problem-solving, empowering, and inspiring others towards a common worthwhile objective and good things will happen. 

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