- Standard of Business
- Producing Real Value
- The Harming of Others
- Directed Passion and Hard Work
- The Handshake
- Misdirection and Deception
- Partnerships of Trust
- Amorality of Money
- Money: A Means, Not an End
- The Great Liege Lord: Greed
- Human Relationships, Not Numbers
- Losing with Honor
- The Trap of Zero-Sum Thinking
- Align or Die!
- Creating Shared Stakeholder Value
- Capitalism: The Powers of Good and Evil
- Guarding Growth
One of the first questions to pass between meeting strangers in the United States is the simple question, “What do you do for work?” The time we spend on our careers cannot but help to mold who we are as a person. For many, whether it is good or not, it represents the major defining attribute for self-image and self-worth. And why is this?
We spend a lot, I really mean a lot, of time doing it.
Even if we are lucky enough to only spend forty hours a week on this endeavor, that represents 93,600 hours (3,900 days) over the course of a 45-year career. Most of us invest even more time than that into our careers.
It’s bound to have an effect on us.
In fact, I think it can have an even greater effect on us than we ever realize, and this is especially true in business careers, though it’s seen clearly in many others.
We talk of people becoming “jaded” or “burned-out” as though these are normal, expected human experiences. The constant “win at all costs” and “it’s only business” have a tendency to push us towards the visage of Scrooge, justifying actions taken while working one would never commit in one’s personal life.
Until the two merge, which they will. It’s impossible to live two separate lives forever. While many attempt to compartmentalize their thoughts and actions, the nature of man is such that eventually one side of the coin will win out. One wolf will eat the other.
So, what are we to do?
To me, it seems best to constantly be taking an honest look at my position, noting where I’ve drifted from the ideal. Like any long journey, intermediate, small course corrections are always easier and better than trying to completely redirect at the “end” of the trail.
Consequently, this means setting a standard, a set of ideals for one to follow. I know I’m not always going to be perfect at it, but without the ideals, the standards, it’s too easy to not notice how far off course one has become until the blaring divergence becomes painfully and dangerously obvious.
So, to publicly declare my set of ideals and standards, I have prepared this short manifesto. While it does not cover absolutely everything, it serves as a set of guides by which I can gauge my position.
I want to share it with you.
I posted a signed copy of this unabashedly in the window of my office, facing outwards for all to see. Not merely hidden in my heart, it publicly declares to others the standards to which I hold myself, and so I am publicly accountable, as well as privately.
There are those who will say these are idealistic and unattainable in today’s cutthroat business environment—the dream of the unenlightened or uneducated. To those I say, my experience and those of many others have proved otherwise. Then, I refer them to the final point; the rules and goals of the game are not affixed to the Law of Club and Fang.
I will play by the rules I chose for the goals I desire. You may play along or not. That is your choice, but I invite you to join me and the others who believe it can be better.