May 9, 2016
What’s in it, for you?
That can be an incendiary question, with explosive answers. I ask the question, focused on the prize that awaits you in the top-box of an organizational chart. When you arrive at the place where you have no one above you to say “no,” what options would you find waiting for your “yes?”
In the military community, they have an insider’s acrostic: RHIP. Rank Has Its Privileges is the statement of fact that seeks to explain why Private Average won’t be having dinner anytime soon with General Elite. “Get over it, grunt: he’s better than you…”
In 1984, Jim Koch walked away from $250k/year – working with Boston Consulting – to peddle his new craft beer brand, bar-to-bar. From then to now, Sam Adams has become the big-name on the boutique brew shelf. And, in 2013, Koch hit the billion-dollar net-worth mark. After 32 years, Boston Beer Company is an overnight success; he can now afford to indulge himself…
If you’re looking for Koch, he’s wearing the same denim shirt and khakis he started in. He drives himself in his Ford Hybrid, and – on the plane – he’s sitting in coach, just like his executives do.
“I can’t make the math work – the average person at Boston Beer makes $55,000 a year. When I go to Munich for business, how can I justify paying over a month’s salary for a first-class ticket? Is having me get a little more legroom and a better meal really more valuable to the company than what the average person contributes every month? I’ve never believed that… People are always sensitive to hypocrisy or compromises from managers, and the behavior of senior leaders is scrutinized, magnified, and commented on by everyone.”
To Koch, the people impressed by displays of wealth are “idiots” and not worth dealing with. And by rejecting that, he’s broadcasting a different message to the people watching him, in his company, industry, and media. “I also don’t want everyone else to think that vanity and egotism are values our company encourages.” read his story
Two hundred years earlier in Ireland, Arthur Guinness started his own brewery. The brand has become an international icon, but Guinness’ achievement went beyond kegs and bottles. He was a passionate evangelical, under the influence of John Wesley, who famously counseled: “Earn all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can. Your wealth is evidence of a calling from God, so use your abundance for the good of mankind.”
Guinness used his wealth and talents to make the world better. His business success allowed him to use his time, talent and treasure to serve his community and the Kingdom. His life motto: Spes Mea in Deo – “my hope is in God.” read his story
Business plans and success stories are great… but, as you pursue your career ambitions, it’s always important to clarify your motives: what’s in it, for you? “What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:1-3)
Here’s a strange contradiction: for-profit business guys, in the beer business, who seem to have their appetites more in-check than some modern public servants and religious stars who find in their status an opportunity for excess, rather than example…
Earn all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can…