The English dictionary defines success as a favorable or desired outcome with the attainment of wealth, favor, or eminence. In the workplace, we often measure success by the bottom line. The goal is to get rich as quickly as possible. We seek to obtain wealth at any price. Success can be addicting. Some people will do anything to attain success, even if it crosses the ethical or moral line.
Companies need to make money, but why do we define success solely in terms of money? I once worked for a company that is sales-driven. Each and every moment was about producing more sales. When management push sales to maximize short-term profits—hanging bonuses over employees heads to achieve lofty sales goals—people did whatever it took to get the bonus. This atmosphere sets salesmen up for moral failure and the company for ethical collapse.
Remember the 2008 mortgage meltdown? Remember the Enron scandal? How do we avoid this trap?
Good to Great provides a template. Jim Collins emphasizes obtaining people who are disciplined—people on the right bus and in the right seat on the bus. Leaders must instill the right set of ideas and generate a culture that people can ethically follow. If they do, the company moves one direction. If they do not, companies like the one mentioned above, move the other direction.
How you define success is important. How do you define success?