Great discussion going in yesterday’s post on the philosophy of profit. Let’s look a little deeper at this…
Remember the big scandal in the States when the details of Jack Welch’s retirement package from GE leaked out. The media was all over it, like ants at a picnic.
Now think about the publicity you saw regarding the WorldCom, Enron and Global Crossings scandals.
Then reflect on the way the Wall Street meltdown was portrayed. All of the “Wall Street versus Main Street” clichés. Now let’s put them together…
What do a very successful CEO, dishonest accounting and poor financial management have to do with each other?
In each case, the end result was a lot of money being made. And then crucifixion by the media. So a guy like Welch gets lumped with criminal actions and unmitigated greed.
But what was Jack’s crime? He was too rich.
Here is a guy that by all accounts, made lots of money from GE. Tens of millions of dollars, if I remember correctly. And then of course the corporate apartment and the retirement package.
Which a big part of, he ended up giving back. And that is a shame. For him, and for everyone.
Because he deserved every penny and every perk he received from GE. Because he made the company BILLIONS. You could argue that the shareholders got the perfect person to run the company. And you could even argue that he might have been a little underpaid.
From my viewpoint, he gave money back, because he didn’t know how to philosophically defend himself against the media attacks. (Or maybe just didn’t want to bother.) I wish he would have stood up for the moral virtue of profit making.
A company must make money. It should make as much money as it can ethically make. And if a company doesn’t maximize its profits, it is short changing its investors and threatening the livelihoods of its employees.
But don’t expect the average employee to understand that. Nor expect the media to be sympathetic to your cause. They are so infected with mind viruses of lack, they can no longer think rationally.
They look at very successful companies and think they are greedy. They see someone like Jack Welch and think he is overpaid. They think life is “unfair” and that rich people have too much. And that is why they will remain broke.
Unfortunately, the average businessperson doesn’t live by a congruent philosophy, so like Welch, they have a hard time defending themselves from attack. They are ashamed to admit they are successful, afraid they will be portrayed as greedy and uncaring, and are intellectually unable to defend the moral virtue of making money in the free enterprise system.
You must be different. You must have a philosophy and be able to articulate it. You must be comfortable defending it, and ok with knowing that the most of the masses aren’t at the consciousness yet to understand this.
Now bring it down to your level. You probably haven’t made millions of dollars like Jack Welch did. But remember when you finally got that dream job, bought that exotic car, or finally broke through with some level of success in something?
Did you feel a little guilty? Did you lose any friends? Hear some disparaging remarks from your family? There are some very important lessons there if you’re open to them…