The other important qualities that define successful life, ultimately, or meaningful relationships and meaningful work. It will not be money or things or monuments by which we measure our lives at the end.
It will be whether we have created and maintained good, strong, meaningful relationships – from family and friends to colleagues and employees. It will be whether we have contributed in some life-improving way, some meaningful way, to our organizations and communities, in the world. The most important reason to participate in anything is to contribute…
Most organization charts have a guy at the top, and there’s a pyramid beneath him going down. Around ten or twelve years ago, I realized that the pyramid here had been inverted. Instead of me being on the top, I was on the bottom, and everyone else was on top. I now assume that I work for the employees. We grew as a business to the point where basically I’m working for them. I know they think they are working for me, but that’s not how I see it.
Most entrepreneurs get stuck because they never learn to think like an owner. When you only think as a CEO or manager you always think of the business first. As a result, you become a slave to it. I learned early in my career that my business should serve my life, not run it, and that has made a huge difference in how my career has unfolded.
That means you spend a lot of time training. That means you spend a lot of time putting seeds out in the field to grow later. That means you do things for people that don’t get you a dollar today but hopefully will build you a firm tomorrow.
Despite my personal growth on the inside, on the outside I remain very focused and goal-oriented. I doubt those characteristics will ever go away, but the most important lesson I’ve learned from sitting in the driver’s seat is the unshakable goodness and value of people.
Though it is crucial that these people have jobs, the driving decision-makers for me are that these people have jobs and that I make money.
It’s not okay to fulfill just one objective. By agreeing to this contract, I would have to put pressure on other business units and other business contracts so that I would make money elsewhere. By losing it one place, I’ve got to make it up somewhere else.