During my corporate career I had the good fortune for many of those years of being associated with the hardest working, most dedicated team of professionals one could imagine. Not only were they extraordinarily proficient at what they did, but also innovative and adaptable to new and better processes, procedures, and technology, always open to better ways and new ideas. What was even more impressive though, beyond their professionalism and technical expertise, was their caring attitude toward the people they served. I know that for a fact for I had the opportunity to observe day to day how they fretted and sweated over doing the right thing – for people.
What I learned from that team is this, that ultimately it is all about people. In everything, all our endeavors, if it is not about people it simply does not exist. Regardless of our jobs, careers, professions, vocations, businesses or organizations – whatever products or services we provide, for profit or not-for-profit – if the ultimate purpose and end result does not benefit other people in some way our jobs, professions, and organizations would have never come into existence in the first place.
Too often, I’m afraid, in this complex and competitive world people are treated as commodities rather than being valued as fellow human beings. Customers are valued only by the contents of their wallets and employees nothing more than tools or machines, replaceable or expendable at the slightest whim – “human resources” we call them rather than “human beings”. And unfortunately when that attitude becomes too pervasive in any business, organization, or profession eventually – eventually I say – it will falter. Consider the Enron debacle for instance from a few years back. Enron’s demise did not begin with the greedy shenanigans of its senior executives; it began when the company and its leadership lost sight of its true purpose, of serving and providing for people.
Take a look around this week and see if you can identify one single worthwhile endeavor that does not ultimately serve and benefit people. Can there be such a thing? It’s all about people, you see, and as long we, in whatever we do, do not lose sight of that fact we will flourish. But if we do we are sure – eventually – to falter.