Be Authentic, Value Family Life and Show Loyalty to Others – The Values and Principles 10 Top Business People Live by
Values and principles are often seen as irreconcilable with business. The 10 businesspeople below, however, show that you can live by important values and still be successful in business. We hope that you will be inspired by these principles in your own journey of personal growth. When reading through it, keep an open mind and think how and where you can apply them in your daily life.
1. Serve Other People
Dr Sharron McPherson, Social Entrepreneur & Activist, Founder of WEDI, Author & Educator: “We are our best selves when we are serving others. Nothing is greater than using our gifts and our resources to help build up others and to make a positive impact on our environment.”
Dr McPherson reminds us of the importance of serving other people to build stronger, happier and more successful communities. Through helping other people we are indeed also helping ourselves, as we find more joy in giving than receiving.
2. Live a Life of Integrity
Nolan Watson, President & CEO of Sandstorm Gold: “Business is full of people willing to lie and exaggerate in order to get what they want. I was raised to understand the importance of integrity, and I have found that if it is a principle that you are willing to put ahead of all other principles, it will eventually define you. Not only in your own mind, but others will notice as well and eventually they will seek you out as a desired business partner.”
Integrity is a very important value that should be cultivated from a young age. It is the quality that makes a human being act in a morally upright way and make decisions based on personal conviction without the influence of pressure from peers. In an article on the Forbes website titled Success Will Come and Go, But Integrity is Forever, Amy Rees Anderson defines integrity as “doing the right thing at all times and in all circumstances, whether or not anyone is watching.”
3. Appreciate the Interconnectedness of Everything
Patrick Schofield, Social Entrepreneur: “The 20th century economist E.F. Schumaker has written a seminal book, ‘Small is Beautiful’ – Capitalism as if Humans Mattered. It encapsulates the principles & value that I live and work by. Primarily that humans are more important than the work they do and that as humans, we’re part of a much greater holistic system which is more important than we are as individuals. No ‘one’ person is indispensable, so, we shouldn’t take ourselves too seriously.”
Patrick refers here to the importance of acknowledging that we’re part of something greater than humanity itself. This means that we will act in a socially responsible manner, leading us to live with greater responsibility towards all living beings and changing our lifestyles to live more sustainably.
4. Work Hard
Jerome Touze, Co-Founder of social network site, WAYN: “I really believe in meritocracy and hard work culture. That’s my school of thought but it doesn’t mean that I’m right; it’s just the way I do things: I believe in hard work. And, you know, there’s no magic formula. It doesn’t mean that if you work hard you’re going to be successful, because there are a lot of people who work bloody hard and sometimes it’s just through bad luck, bad timing, you know, there is that. But in our case it has been very much about you work really hard and hopefully you get the results.”
As we are getting told from a young age: “Nothing worthwhile comes without hard work.” In our modern culture where we are used to everything being quick (such as fast food restaurants, access to multiple communication mediums and modern transport), we sometimes forget that those who made it to the top have put in the hard yards to get where they are. There are examples of successful people who “made it” without working hard, but the overwhelming majority had to be dedicated and persevering, grafting away every day.
5. Show Loyalty towards Others
Hunter Lovins, Founder of Natural Capitalism Solutions (NCS): “I trust people. Sometimes to a fault. As per the quote above, this means that sometimes you have to endure betrayal, but that’s a small price to pay for the brilliance people can achieve if you set a common goal and trust them to do their best. Believe in the people you have empowered and expect them to create miracles. They may fail, but they’ll sure do better than if you were looking over their shoulders.”
In a world of increasing diversity we find it hard to trust people with individual characteristics different from what we are used to. Hunter Lovins reminds us that the benefits of trust outweigh the possibility of disappointment. People may breach our trust, but a lack of trust in other people will rarely bring out the best in them.
6. Have a Curiosity and Capacity for Wonder
Maria Popova, Founder & Editor of Brain Pickings: “Not only a tolerance for but an embrace of the unknown, the uncomfortable, the uncontrollable. An active practice of awe and gratefulness – of both absorbing the light of the world and reflecting it back with luminous generosity”
We sometimes try to over-control our lives, which is often a source of unnecessary anxiety. Maria Popova wants to teach us that we should be less risk averse and be more open to change and all the wonderful surprises life has to offer!
7. Be Authentic
Thebe Ikalafeng, Global African Brand & Reputation Architect, Advisor & Author: “Know yourself, be clear about who you are and what you stand for, be authentic and consistent. Be the same person at home, work or play. As Shakespeare said: ‘To thine self be true’.”
“Be yourself.” Something we hear so often, but one of life’s greatest challenges. We are continuously challenged to be someone else, a copy of another person. Authenticity means that we live according to our true selves and the values that we hold most dear. It releases a great sense of energy and enthusiasm as we’re not bound by what others think of us, but are able to express our individuality more freely.
8. Cherish Your Relationships
Allen Ambor, Founder & Executive Chairman of Spur Steak Ranches: “Value relationships above everything else. Nothing can be accomplished, especially in Africa, unless strong relationships are in place. I also believe that when you reflect back on your life, it won’t matter what you accumulated. What will matter are the people you spent your life with.”
The African proverb, “If you want to go far, go together” points to the importance of strong relationships. We can only move our companies and our countries forward once we have the buy-in of people. Building strong relationships requires treating people with respect and taking a genuine interest in other people’s well-being and growth.
9. Value Family Life
Jamin Warren, Founder of videogame arts and culture company, Kill Screen: “Value your relationships at home. If everything is great at home, then work will be good. But if things are terrible at home, no amount of success will override that.”
Apart from the responsibilities that come from being a husband, wife and/or parent, family relationships will have a big influence on your work performance. Never take a healthy family life for granted and ensure you spend enough quality time with your loved ones through maintaining a good work-life balance. Ask advice from a good friend or make an appointment with a therapist or family counsellor in cases where the relationships between family members become strained.
10. Recognise the Humanity of Others
Dee Poon, Chief Brand Officer at PYE: “I think that it is very important to recognize one’s humanity. If you can recognize your own humanity, then you will be able to see it’s the same humanity in others. This is the first step towards being able to connect. And, when we recognize that we are all the same, then we will never do anything that will hurt others – at least not intentionally! – and rather hope and allow for the best for them as we do for ourselves.”
Dee is pointing us towards one of the most important attributes a human can have, which is respect. Respect is the ability to see someone for who he or she is, without holding prejudices against that person. When we respect one another, we recognize the intrinsic value of each human being, including ourselves.
We trust that you have gained some valuable lessons from these ten successful businessmen and women. It is important that we decide which values are important to us and live by them. As a general rule of thumb, as one of the business people we interviewed before reminded us: Do unto others… that will be a great starting point for cultivating the values mentioned above!