Several years ago, back in my J&J days, our European President was commenting on the Dot Com boom of the late 90's. He was not impressed. Being Sicilian he was both reflective and directive!. "Alasdar, " he said,"there are only 2 types of Business, good business and bad business. This looks like bad business to me". How right he was! I've used this thinking ever since.
Our Country GM had another reflection. He described the way he was trying to lead our business as; "Enlightened Self-Interest". It struck me both observations were insightfully correct and peculiarly they were also linked. The link is the first calls for sound business judgement and an ability to look under the bonnet of what's on offer. Then apply clear thinking and sound perspective. The second can be layered on top of that to inform HOW you do business. These together shape your credibility as a Leader. This is how great reputations are built. All legacies depend on it.
Today in business, this is often called 'win-win'. I'm a big fan, let me tell you why. When you adopt this as a way of life, you get good business discipline for free. Your focus is on adding Value to the agenda of your clients. This negates any tendency towards self-serving behaviour. Your success then is an OUTPUT of that process. It's how all positive relationships are built and nurtured. In my experience, people respond to that and personally, I feel more effective and congruent working in that way.
Sometimes in life you need an exception to prove a rule. The global Banking crisis is a prime example Have a look at this satirical story told using cartoons. http://docs.google.com/present/view?skipauth=true&pli=1&id=ddp4zq7n_0cdjsr4fn
This highlights what happens when these principles are violated.
Your comments as always are welcome.