June 17, 2010

Only in the short run, can you directly serve yourself

Wisdom from Robert Lane, the CEO of Deere as quoted by David Wessel of the WSJ at the 2010 Tuck School Commencement.

"Embrace the rich irony of business success. Apparent success, premature claims, appearances that later collapse. This is not success. Do not seek it. Do not claim it. The irony? The irony is you cannot, as a company or an individual, directly serve yourself if you are to create such lasting success. It’s impossible. You cannot generate enduring success for a great company or for yourself by acting as if ‘it’s all about me.’ Only in the short run, can you directly serve yourself. Only when others – customers, employees, shareholders, the environment – have been well served on a sustained basis – only then can you deem yourself a successful executive."

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