There is an old adage that says, “It takes money to make money.” I would imagine that some of the economic problems we have today stem from too many people following that philosophy.
Perhaps a better adage is “It takes great people to make money.”
Everyone has a slightly different approach to motivating and inspiring employees to do their best. Some follow the philosophy of “Good to Great” or “Built to Last”, authored by Jim Collins. These books are a staple and clearly explain the concept of “getting the right people on the bus.”
Others are rethinking the philosophy of Ayn Rand who wrote “Atlas Shrugged” in the 50’s (I am sure you have heard the phrase, “Who is John Galt?”). The book is over 1100 pages long, but I have read it six times and have given it as a gift many more times. I actually have a stack of them in my office that I hand out. The story is simple: “What would happen to the world if all of the people who do a great job gradually disappeared?” Though many people might disagree with the book’s philosophy, the theme is very compelling.
Some of you old timers might refer to Vince Lombardi, the legendary coach of the Green Bay Packers. Upon becoming their new coach, he told his team (who, by the way, were the worst team in the league the previous year), “Gentlemen, I have never been associated with a loser and I do not intend to start now. We are going to relentlessly chase perfection, knowing full well we will not catch it, because nothing is perfect. But we are going to relentlessly chase it, because in the process, we will catch excellence.” He went on to say, “I am not remotely interested in just being good.”
Some might even follow our old friend George Carlin and his famous essay titled, “Thoughts for Any Generation.” A few of my favorite lines from that essay are, “The paradox of our time in history is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers, wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.”
And some of you might even quote Max Ehrmann and his poem “Desiderata,” written in 1927. My favorite lines from that poem are as follows: “Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly, and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself. Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.”
I believe in the basic premise that all people matter. Happy employees are more productive. Happy employees better serve clients and customers. The more you invest in your people, the more committed they will be to your business and its success.