Ethics and Greed
Properly directed greed is the driving force for accomplishment. To attain any worthwhile goal, effort and risk are involved. If not for greed the Transcontinental Railroad would have never been built, the stock market wouldn’t exist and you wouldn’t be in the fast lube business. Greed is good. Because we want more, we are willing to put forth more effort and take the risks involved in building a business. The most greedy are the true heroes of our economic system, because they create the infrastructure that provides jobs, income and support for all the others, as well as generating the taxes that fuel the government’s projects and the funds for charitable endeavors.
The success of any business hinges on management’s ability to manage greed — the greed of all those involved — while maintaining high ethical standards. The concept of what is right and what is wrong is frequently tempered by circumstance. Business owners are continually faced with ethical decisions, and those decisions can be swayed by how well the business is doing, employee problems, supplier relationships, government edicts and the storm of daily events that must be handled.
The human conscience has an awareness of what is right or wrong because of our religious beliefs, upbringing, laws and social protocols.
I would submit to you another powerful, very logical motivator for doing good is greed. No one gets their greed satisfied by working alone or taking advantage of others. Those who get to the top of the ladder in business absolutely require the assistance of others. The banker is required for financing, the employee team is required to get the job done and the customer group is required to generate the vital profits to grow the business. Suppliers are required. Maintenance must be done. Deliveries must be made. You can’t do it alone.
Satisfying the greed of others is just another way of saying, “Great leaders become so by serving others.” This happens to also be my favorite quote from lube industry pioneer Larry Dahl. It’s as true as any law of physics — the more and better you serve the needs of all those around you, the higher the position in life you will attain and the more profits you will accrue.
The more you consider the mission statement of your business to serve the customer’s, best interests, to create jobs and opportunities for others and to enhance your community, the more successful your business will be.
Think of everyone involved — employees, suppliers and customers — as part of a single, large team, and your job is to coach them and make their lives better. Give your employees proper training, good tools, recognition and appreciation. Let your suppliers know their role is valued and appreciated. Treat customers with dignity and a high level of courtesy. Make every sale or recommendation with the spirit of enhancing their welfare, not just your profitability, and they will come.
There are two key issues that deserve awareness on your route to the top in business: Your sense of integrity when dealing with others and your absolute duty to satisfy the greed of those who provide the ground swell that lifts you to the top. The top is rarely reached by pulling. You get there by being pushed up by all those around you, when what is good for you is also good for them there is a concerted effort to push you upward.