Wehr: Thoughts on "What’s In It For Me?"
We live in a disposable, time-poor era, where expectation has taken over from aspiration and everyone demands everything now. The simple act of doing someone a favor or good deed has been replaced by the all-too-common phrase, “What’s in it for me?” It’s a sad indictment on modern society.
The same shift in mindset has (unfortunately) taken place in the business world. Many organizations seek short-term profit over the long-term success of their very own industries. The irony is that if the industry does better, then common sense would suggest that they would be more successful too. Shortsightedness and inability to look past their own KPIs will ultimately prevent the company from achieving its true long term potential.
Luckily, there are still plenty of people who understand the value of investing their time and money for the greater-good of the industry they work in and are prepared to give without asking, “what’s in it for me.”
Several years ago I was a vocal skeptic of an association that represents the industry I worked in. I didn’t understand (and didn’t want to understand) the value proposition that it delivered to its members, so I did the bare minimum to support it. Then one evening I received a telephone call from the Chairman of the association – who incidentally also happened to be one of my biggest dealers and a close friend. “You know how you are always saying the association doesn’t do anything for you?” he said. “Well I’m nominating you onto the board. It’s time to put up, or shut up!”
Never one to step down from a challenge, I immediately phoned the Executive General Manager of the company I worked for, to ask his opinion. His advice was as surprising as it was profound. He said, “You need to do this … not for us, but for you. This is your opportunity to make your mark and build your profile and reputation within the industry. The more you put in, the more you’ll get out of it.”