What do they know?
I remember my investment broker telling me years ago, “making money doesn’t make you smart.” Maybe you’re just lucky. Or maybe all that talent and education and hard work finally paid off. And maybe these celebrity CEOs can tell us how to do better for ourselves and our businesses. They seem to be rich and smart and successful.
But don’t judge a book by it’s cover, or the recommendations of other celebrities, or the fact it’s a bestseller. Those are just signs of good marketing. (Lessons there that might help me sell more of my books!) But buyer beware. It’s important to check the credentials and the content before we get too excited looking for nuggets of truth and wisdom in their books.
I’m currently reading Ray Dalio’s, The Changing World Order, and Marc Benioff’s, Trailblazer. Dalio is the billionaire founder of Bridgewater, the largest hedge fund in the world, and Benioff is the billionaire founder of Salesforce, a world leader in cloud computing and customer relationship software. Both very bright, rich, and successful.
Dalio presents an interesting perspective on the rise and fall of empires over the last 500 years and the effects on banking, currency, finance and economics. He recommends his principles for investing to deal with current and future changes in the world order. There are some helpful insights for managing your investment portfolio, but I find the fifty to one-hundred-year timeline not very relevant for decision-making in today’s volatile world affected more by short-term political and economic issues. As another famous economist, John Kenneth Galbraith, reminded us, “In the long run, we’re all dead.”
Benioff’s book is more relevant for CEOs and small-business entrepreneurs trying to navigate current social and cultural issues of the modern world affecting their businesses every day. Benioff is the epitome of the ethical, enlightened entrepreneur and explains his belief that business is the greatest platform for social change.
Salesforce was founded in 1997 and guided from the start by Benioff’s principles:
- Values create value
- Creative success is a triumph of imagination guided by values
- Consistent application of Salesforce’s core values: trust, customer success, innovation and equality are essential to it’s continuing success
- Corporate culture defines how you express your values
- Employees at all levels must be committed to the culture of supporting local communities and advancing social progress.
Benioff admits to the challenges and the mistakes he’s made in the process, but he sets a very high standard for any business leader to follow and be more pro-active. He makes a very convincing case that being socially responsible and active in the community will make the business more attractive to employees, customers and other stakeholders, and consequently, more successful. But it has to be more than a mission statement, more than a marketing slogan.
Are you a believer? Are your actions guided by ethical values and a social conscience? Is your business a platform for social change?
Be better. Do better.
Del Chatterson, your Uncle Ralph
Learn more about Enlightened Entrepreneurship at: LearningEntrepreneurship.com Read more of Uncle Ralph's advice for Entrepreneurs in Don't Do It the Hard Way & The Complete Do-It-Yourself Guide to Business Plans - 2020 Editions.
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