By Chuck Sink Subscribe to my bi-weekly newsletter by clicking here
One of my clients (we’ll call her Sarah) is a fine representative of hard work and ambition guided by honesty and enlightened self interest – the desire to do well in business with the noble goal of providing greater service to her family and community. She’s also an example of how good work is still rewarded in a relatively free country like the United States. Greedy, corrupt, money grubbing people need not apply to Sarah’s company, not as employees, suppliers nor even clients.
Sarah shared with me an email from a prospective new client. In her first meeting with them, the discussion rose to ethics and morals in business. The prospective client was extremely impressed with her overriding notion that greed is NOT good! Sorry Gordon Gekko (Michael Douglas’ character in the 1987 film Wall Street). The soon-to-be client’s email went on to lament how gains from greed are short lived and that Sarah’s company will prosper and endure with her kind of attitude. It concluded with an invitation to discuss new business.
Sarah and I have begun to really hit it off in our business relationship. We’ve only known each other a short time and yet I felt comfortable revealing more about my life situation than I would tell most other people. I trust her and that trust has paid off in serious discussions about doing significantly more business with her firm. I’m hopeful there are enough of us left in America to regain economic growth but here’s the problem:
Macroeconomics, Cultural Decay and the Leadership Deficit
On a macro level in this country, I believe we’re losing the moral and ethical basis for being a great nation. Our government and institutions, including universities and many large corporations are suffering the death of strong, honest leaders. Shortcuts and favors are granted to companies like General Electric which paid no federal taxes in 2010. The linked story is from ABC News, hardly a conservative blog site!
GE actually shed over 21,000 US jobs in 2009 and 2010 sending them overseas while paying no taxes on over $14 billion in profits! And yet Jeffrey Immelt, CEO of GE, is the point man on President Obama’s so called “Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.” Jobs and competitiveness? Where, China? If the Wall Street protesters are going to scream foul against corrupt chief executives why not start with Mr. Immelt and the president himself?
Political correctness has stifled creativity and hogtied fearful leaders from solving many of our country’s systemic problems. Greed and corruption at the highest levels of government and institutions, excused by a large plurality that has lost its moral compass, are the reasons the country is in a rotten economic and cultural state. Corruption leading to extremely bad policy is on overdrive in the current Administration and most of the Congress. It’s been this way far too long. The American People put them all in power. Our “leaders” are the ugly reflection of ourselves in the mirror.
Washington is where the powerful greedy flock. The boomlet around DC is a house of cards supported by reckless borrowing and massive spending by the Federal Government. It will eventually collapse of its unsupported weight. This will either be very good or very dangerous. I suggest prayers for the country are in order.
Unions, special interests and corporate lobbyists are strong forces constantly tempting the powerful. The dominant political parties are controlled by varying degrees of this nastiness. One party is completely possessed of it and the other is fractured with an elitist faction desperately trying to cling to power. The vacuous “hope and change” message people fell for in 2008 was nothing but a fatuous distraction to continue business as usual and much worse, in my opinion. I’m actually holding back here which I suppose is the prudent thing to do. I trust by now the reader knows where I stand.
Real prosperity can only be created and sustained by providing real value; fulfilling the desires and needs of a willing marketplace. Every transaction, every deal must be win-win and everyone must understand there’s no free lunch. Certainly those who are physically and mentally unable to provide for themselves through no fault of their own need our help. Personally I provide assistance locally and know some amazing heroes doing wonderful, selfless work.
Unfortunately, too many people today think they’re owed a good living by virtue of birth and nothing else. They are a huge drag. These people actually include certain lawyers and business executives who are out for the quick fixes and fast money without working too hard. They go for cronyism, frivolous law suits and corrupt deals instead of real enterprise.
On the contrary, thank you Steve!
Steve Jobs was an example of real American greatness. His fortune came only as the result of clear vision, intense hard work and commitment to making products people love; products that make life better. His ideas and their implementation have thoroughly transformed computing, communications, movie making, the internet, music production and distribution, the arts and more.
Politically, Mr. Jobs was very liberal and supported Democrat candidates for office almost exclusively. He did not, however, expect competitive advantages handed to him in return by way of government largess, policies or special interest loopholes. He didn’t want them because he was driven to create and build superior technologies and wonderful products that people want to buy. Steve Jobs wasn’t motivated by politics and power grabs. His recent death drew showers of accolades from people across every spectrum; people now hungry for the birth and rise of principled, steadfast, honest leaders. Where have they gone? Where will they come from? We need look no further than inside our own hearts.