I am in my final semester at business school earning my MBA from Chapman University. Here at school, we are initially drummed from the very first classes that the primary goal of the firm is to provide value to the shareholders and the importance of understanding the time value of money. It’s been a whirlwind. Essentially, damn the torpedoes and full speed ahead!
We are taught to evaluate portfolios, make strategic choices for the firm based on financial ratios, data, and past Harvard business cases that we have broken down, analyzed, diced and sliced six ways to Sunday. SWOT analysis’ and Porter’s Five Forces are a part of our waking thoughts. We all feel that we now could either be some well-paid corporate nobody or the next Jeff Skilling, or hopefully fall somewhere in between the two.
It’s fascinating because on one hand, we are really supposed to maximize the value of the firm, increase shareholders wealth, and not worry about the little people that we may be squashing in making our key strategic decisions.
A little voice in my head asks me where is the sense of ethics, the Golden Rule, and all of the good deeds we are supposed to espouse as we make our way up the ladder. A quote comes to mind and I am not sure who said it first, but it goes a little something like this “be good to the people who are around you when you are on your way up, you most likely will pass them again on your way down.”
This brings me to my parting thoughts, and that is, above all, be a good person, even if it costs you financially a bit more to do so, and I believe that companies big and small should also strive to adhere to this philosophy.
An individual is only as good as their word, reputations do end up preceding you, and you cannot take money with you when you die. Legacy is all that is left.
~Make it memorably good.