Greed Management

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Are you greedy? I am. … Yes, as much as I wish I were selfless, other-focused, generous, and altruistic, often I am not. Instead, upon true reflection, I find that I’m selfish, covetous, egotistical, and greedy. Though I’m good at hiding it some of the time, at other times, my greed raises its ugly head. Mind you, not all the time, but often enough.

As a follower of Jesus, husband, father, son, brother, corporate leader, community-minded citizen, and educated student of leadership, I wish it weren’t so. I wish I were more “other focused.” Yes, the beginning of change (within ourselves) is self-awareness and a desire to change. Yes, I’ve made improvement. Yes, I hide it well. Yes, I’m a “work in progress.” But in the end, I’m still greedy. How do I know?

Whenever there is major change, a major shift in my family situation, work environment, or personal surroundings, I inevitably ask the question, “What does this mean for me?” … “Is this good for me?” … “Will I have to change?” … “Is my ‘fill in the blank’ __________ (salary, title, benefits, stress, office, etc.) getting better?” … “Is this an improvement compared with my current situation?” … “Am I maintaining the status quo?” … “Or is my situation worsening?”

During the last six years, I’ve experienced a significant amount of change in my personal life (including family and church) and work life. Some of the change could be viewed as positive change. In some instances, the change was challenging, difficult and demanding. If I’m completely honest, I could say that I’ve experienced a significant amount of change my entire life, not just the last six years. … Haven’t you?

OK, be honest. When you’re faced with a major change, who and what do you think about first? … How the change will impact others? Or do you think about the impact on you?

As I’ve observed others during times of major change and reflect on my own emotions during times of transformation or adjustment, I realize that many of us (all?) tend to think first of ourselves. And I’ve come to the conclusion that we need to manage our expectations. Our sense of entitlement. Our pride. Our greed. That’s why I’ve named this article Greed Management instead of Change Management.

What will happen if we think of others first? What impact will this have on them? Is there something I can do to help? Are others hurting, confused or fearful because of the pending change? How can I help clarify what is going on? How can I empathize? How can I encourage?

Yes, some change does represent a “loss” to our personal status (title, salary, expectations, etc.), yet rarely will our focus on self stop the pending change. Why not help others? Serve them? Make a positive impact on the lives of your family, your community, your place of employment.

And remember, not all change represent a loss. Some change represents a “gain.” Give it a chance.

Recently I was on Palau, a small island in Micronesia (near my boyhood “home” on Guam). The sunset and clouds were beautiful. Peaceful. Tranquil. And I started reflecting on some pending changes in my life (personal and work/business). I determined that I would give extra effort to focusing on the needs of others first. Think about them. Serve them. Comfort them. … This shift in focus not only helps the larger/broader organization, it helps me. It’s a more healthy and stable approach to managing change. The change that all of us inevitably face in our lives.

Are you greedy? Are you helping others during times of transition and change or thinking first of yourself? Be a leader, serve others and put their needs first. And notice the difference it makes in their lives and in yours.

As always, the floor is open to your comments, suggestions, thoughts, and feedback.


Photo by Author

2 thoughts on “Greed Management

  1. Thanks Robert for this great post and for your transparency. I too struggle with self-focus a lot. I’ve been noticing that I’m a little more free of it lately and I’m happier as a result. I think one’s level of experiencing happiness may be directly proportional to our level of other-focused capability.

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