Understanding corporate arrogance
The term corporate arrogance is mostly used with reference to big corporations which treat their customers contemptuously just because they feel they no longer need them the way they used to in the past. Such companies feel they are too big to fail and that their less endowed customers are now a dispensable nuisance.
They even quote the 80:20 rule which states that 80% of your sales come from 20% of your customers. Woe unto you therefore if you fall in the remaining 80% of the clientele with a minor contribution. If you have an issue, you will be thrown from department to department and from one officer to another until you give up.
Dangers of success
All of us want to be successful in whatever we do be it business or formal employment. However, many times we are oblivious of the dangers that come with success. Success can be either a blessing or curse. It all depends on how you handle it. Unfortunately not many people can handle success successfully.
Success thus is a double edged sword. It can propel you to greater success or consign you to mediocrity. In this case, I wish to discuss success in the financial sense. Nonetheless the issues discussed here can as also apply in other fields.
It is easier to drown in success than to sink in failure. This is the tragedy of success especially to those with limited ambitions. They stare so long on the bright light at the end of the tunnel that they become blind and fail to see the exit ahead. In the end, they become permanent occupants of an endless tunnel.
A call to eternal vigilance
Money means power and power corrupts the minds of the simple. I have heard numerous cases of people who after succeeding financially, became unreachable and unresponsive to requests for assistance be they financial or advisory.
The corrupting power of money is so strong that each of us is called to eternal vigilance. You only need to miss a single step and you will tumble down like a load of bricks. As the saying goes; “money is a good servant but a poor master.”
Success reveals our true colours
I have become convinced that over 90% of the people manifest decorum and respect by the sheer force of circumstances. A slight change in circumstances and their true colours are thrown to light. It is then that you are shocked to realize that what you mistook for a cat was just a rained on lion.
Once we are settled in success, it is easy to see our former brothers in struggle as a bother that should be dispensed with speedily. To a great extent, it is part of human nature. We tend to get frustrated when people approach us for assistance and we are tempted to ask: “Can’t a man have his rest and enjoy it?”
Every milestone achieved in life brings security and comfort that calls for celebration. While there is nothing wrong with throwing a party after meeting key goals, it is even more important to turn the celebration into a moment of reflection.
Each man is indeed entitled to enjoy the fruits of his labour and bask in the glory that may come with it. However, we should temper such celebrations with decorum and modesty. We may in future find our fortunes reversed and turn back to the same people we despised at the height of our glory. Let us suffer no illusions. Even mighty glory can turn into a sorry story as our fortunes change.
The builders of the Titanic ship gloated that nothing could sink it. They boasted that even God could not do so. We all know what happened in the end. Humility is what separates entrepreneurs from everyday trader. A trader thinks about the next tender while an entrepreneur thinks about the next agenda to propel him higher towards realizing his vision. Most traders live one day at a time celebrating even the minutest achievement. On the other hand, an entrepreneur focuses on the long term agenda and therefore is not diverted by short term excitement.
Titanic mentality deceives people that they have reached the pinnacle of success and nothing can bring them down to earth. This mentality makes one become careless and unable to see or face the reality of life for what it is. The thinking that one has reached a point where he is immune to failure is a mere fantasy and a sickening fallacy. Humility and continuous retrospection are therefore the building blocks of sustainable success.
Once we have succeeded financially and in corporate matters, we tend to project ourselves as self-made men. We want to enjoy the accolades and privileges of high office without the inconvenience of tracing our way to this point and sharing the credit with those that made it happen.
I agree with those who say that there is nothing like a self-made man. At one point or other there are people who held your hand in difficult circumstances. It is the cumulative effort of others that has made you who you are. We are a product of the travails and sacrifices of others.
Yet today, once we have made it, we tend to overstep our boundaries by claiming that there is no God. Let us be reminded (if there is need to do so) that it is by the grace of God and the generosity of mankind that we have managed to cover the distance however small. It is not by the sheer force of effort and determination.
Appreciating the true meaning of Success
Today, people only appreciate success if it comes clothed in freshly minted bank notes. In the final analysis though, success will not be measured by how much money we have made. On the contrary, it will be measured by the difference we make in society and our legacy.
Before we take pride in success, let us assess ourselves objectively and ask whether the corporations we run and the lives we lead speak of an enduring legacy. There must be more to life than chasing after the next shilling or riding in the newest toy in town. There must be more to life than living in a ten bedroom house while you can only sleep in one bed at a time.
True success can never be defined in monetary terms. It’s worth is too expensive to be equated to cash. With this realization, we can appreciate the need for humility in a sea of abundance.
The end can never justify the means
What is sad is that most of these arrogant corporations and individuals are those who acquired their wealth through dubious means. When it comes to financial success the end can never justify the means. There can never be any pride in flaunting the proceeds of corrupt practices.
Let us learn to keep our feet on the ground no matter how high we rise. Nothing justifies going around kicking the backs of others just because you have made it and they haven’t. Most critically, if you have robbed your way to success, arrogance is a no go zone. You should consume your goodies with your head hanging low in shame and choking with tears for yours is not success but the very definition and manifestation of failure.
Success has consequences
Lastly we all need to know that success just like failure has consequences. Once you are successful, people will start elevating you and inflating your worth. They will say all manner of things (mostly positive) about you. If these things get to the head they can corrupt the mind.
No matter how successful you may become, do not allow yourself to be magnified by people and exalted to the high heavens. The danger in surrounding yourself with praise singers and hero worshipers is that it will put a brake on your chances of rising higher.
There is nothing wrong in being appreciated and complimented for ones turn of good fortunes. However, the excesses that individuals entertain set the ground for their downfall. People have been known to do embarrassing and dangerous things under the influence of success. Thus success, like any good thing should be consumed with moderation.
After many years of struggle it would be the height of absurdity if the very thing we have yearned for ends up being the trap that ensnares us. Let us stay alert and warned accordingly.