It's true. Being greedy presents a very real danger to the long term profitability of your business. This may sound like a no brainer, but I see leaders stumble here all too often. No, I'm not a communist, and yes, I'm a big fan of the profit motive.
Greed is defined as "a selfish and excessive desire to have more of something than is needed." So, if we apply this to money and profitability, then we see someone who doesn't genuinely care about his/her customers and thinks that if he/she makes enough money it will lead to true happiness. The problem with this approach is that there isn't enough money in the world to make you feel truly happy and successful if you don't care about other people, especially your employees and your customers.
Like with many things, the key concept here is balance and moderation. If you place too little emphasis on profitability, then obviously your business will struggle. By the same token, if you place too much emphasis on profitability, then your business will struggle also. Fortunately there is a fairly generous window of moderation concerning the profit motive that will give you great sustained financial results.
How does this greed thing usually play out? An ambitious leader with a blind spot for greed joins or starts a business and hires other like-minded people. Since by definition these folks don't care much about other folks, they begin to mistreat customers and feed on each other. It doesn't take long for profitability to suffer. To state the obvious: don't do this to yourself.
Technique #1: Eliminate your blind spots through feedback from others who have your best interests at heart, and make sure greed isn't one of those blind spots.
Technique #2: Hire people who have solid values and priorities, including a balanced view of the profit motive. Technique #3: If you're happy, your employees are happy, and your customers are happy, then you'll make all the money you'll ever need.
Copyright Terry "Doc" Dockery, Ph.D. All rights reserved.