In a previous post, I wrote that qualities of character in the CEO were a more important indicator of business success than the business model. In this and the next few posts, I’m going to share those character traits that I believe are most conducive to business success.
First, a disclaimer. This is one person’s point of view. This is not the result of some study that surveyed 10,000 business owners. Instead, it is the result of my personal, anecdotal experience. I’ve spoken to and with thousands of business executives in the US and other countries, and personally and contractually worked with over 400 of them. I have, I believe, achieved a breadth of experience in the world of business that, coupled with a With that disclaimer behind us, let’s tackle the subject.
Here’s my nomination for a character trait that fuels business success: A continuous quest for MORE.
Let’s define MORE. I’m not talking about greed here, although money is a part of it. MORE refers to the concept that, in every aspect of one’s life and business, there are greater heights to be experienced, greater accomplishments to achieve, greater impact to be had, greater knowledge to be obtained, greater wisdom to be acquired, greater good to be done, and, yes, more money to be made, more customers to acquire, more revenue to realize, more markets to penetrate, more employees to hire, more influence to extend. Regardless of where you are at, there is always MORE.
For a person with this character trait, the status quo is never acceptable. The status quo is only today’s version, and this moment’s situation. It’s a temporary circumstance which can be made better. After all, there is always MORE.
These people are driven by a sense of positive discontent. They believe, at the core of their being, that there is MORE to be accomplished. I often say this is my seminars:
“If there is nothing more you want to acquire, nothing else you want to achieve, nothing you want to become, no one else you want to impact – if you are perfectly content with every aspect of your life and career – then you will not grow, you will not achieve, you will not become a person greater than you are now.”
I am hardly the first person to uncover this trait. Similar sentiments have been expressed by folks far wiser than I.
“The world owes all its onward impulses to men ill at ease. The happy man inevitably confines himself within ancient limits.”
Every invention, every institution, every organization traces its inception to a person who was discontent with something. Every effort to improve, either oneself or the world outside, begins with an impulse of discontent. If you are perfectly content, then the status quo, the world defined by the events of yesterday (Hawthorn’s ‘ancient limits’) is acceptable.
“Restlessness and discontent are the necessities of progress.”
Here’s a similar thought from another mover and shaker in the world. If you are perfectly content with the status quo – in this case, reading by candle light – there is no reason to expend the energy to invent the light bulb. Every invention and every attempt at progress begins with a person driven to create MORE.