It’s great when someone can increase profits, even better when someone can turn a company around [from almost going down to the tubes to a successful operation]. And if you can remake a brand, like what has been done with Old Spice, that is an amazing accomplishment.
But what I’ve been thinking about lately is how great it is when someone can say this:
You made this place a better place to work.
That’s right. That’s what I think is the best thing. It doesn’t mean no profits. It doesn’t mean no attention to sales. What it does mean is that you have improved the quality of life for the people who work there. Given how many hours we spend at work, if you can make the place a better place to work, you have done some very good work.
One of my former clients in Japan was a genius. Maybe he still is a genius. He brought a new brand to Japan. They started with one store and when he left ten years later there were more than 100 successful stores. While the European headquarters saw their profits sink, the Japanese division contributed a very large share of the company’s profits.
The only problem was that they guy drove people crazy. People who worked at headquarters only lasted a few months. Some left after one day or one week since the atmosphere was so toxic. The atmosphere in the stores was fine, far away from HQ, but people avoided going to HQ.
No one was sorry to see him go. Even though he ran a very profitable operation, he never could figure out how to work with people.
He was replaced by someone who had to do some healing. The next guy was not a genius, but he was able to create a more stable atmosphere, and make the company a better place to work.
You don’t have to enter the competition, but you can make life better for the people you work with.
It’s nice when people say that about you. It feels good.