This is the time of year when we hear amidst the hustle and bustle the common cliché “It’s better to give than receive.” The saying seems to drive consumer sales more than anything this time of year and we often associate it with our personal lives. But I believe it’s a sound business principle, too. Successful leaders – and businesses – live by this philosophy throughout the year. It can take many forms. Here are a few ways I see it.
Good leaders give up their self-interest for the…
- Good of the company. Regardless of your position or title, organizational success is all about collaboration. In my experience, people who get promoted in the long-term and have success in their careers are less concerned with who gets credit and more focused on achieving the desired results. A new favorite quote of mine from Harry Truman is, “It is amazing what you can accomplishif you do not care who gets the credit.” Good leaders do not identify themselves by their title or the credit they receive, but more by how they can positively influence the outcome.
- Good of the customer. Sure, we need revenue and profit to sustain in business. But beyond the dollars and cents, businesses thrive most when they don’t just receive from customers, but also give. This can include cash contributions or perhaps in kind services to support their foundations, affiliates or personal causes. For example, each year we loan a number of laptops to a local organization to help lower-income individuals and families prepare their taxes. Because we’re in the technology business, this makes sense for us. The point is you don’t always have to write a check to support your customers’ interests. What are other ways you can leverage your line of business to support causes that are important to your clients?
- Good of your co-workers. We make decisions every day with employees in mind. Often times it is related to business performance and improving efficiency. However, it isn’t always about how it can benefit Marco, but rather how it can benefit our team members. Several years ago, we made a decision to close our offices the day after Thanksgiving and provide it as a paid holiday. I don’t know if you can put a finger on the business return, but it certainly went a long way in employee satisfaction.
- Good of the community. When we truly capture the essence of “It’s better to give than receive,” we give without expecting anything in return. This concept of “doing well and doing good” has been part of our business philosophy at Marco since 1973. It was a good idea back then and it still is today. We have committed to contributing at least 5 percent of our profits annually to the communities we serve. I personally support and encourage our employees to also be actively involved and allow them the flexibility to volunteer their time during the work day. There’s no doubt it will reflect positively on your organization and contribute to building better communities.
A good read on the philosophy of giving is a book called the Go Giver by authors Bob Burg and John David Mann. It’s a short read with a lot of relevant and powerful content.
So in the spirit of the season, think about ways your business can contribute knowing you might not get anything in return. On behalf of everyone at Marco, I wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous new year.