Business Success and Making Sacrifices

One of the sessions I really enjoyed at this year’s SHRM Annual Conference in Las Vegas was presented by Sue Meisinger, former CEO of SHRM, on the “10 Things Your CEO Will Never Tell You, But HR Needs to Know.”  If you missed the session…well, that’s a bummer but Sue did mention a report you might find interesting.  Booz & Co. compiles a CEO study each year that offers some insights about the role of the CEO in today’s marketplace.  It's an interesting read and you can find a copy here.

In reading the report, one thing I believe every CEO is faced with is the concept of sacrifices.  In fact, this isn't just a CEO dilemma.  Many business professionals have to decide if they are willing to make sacrifices for their careers.  And what kind of sacrifices they’re willing to make.  Cindy Krischer Goodman talks about sacrifices and work life balance in an interview with Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

It can be very easy to look at other people and think we can duplicate their success.  Whether it’s driving the same car as our neighbor, taking the same vacations as our colleagues or emulating the same things as a social media celebrity.  The bottom line is we can duplicate actions but we probably don’t know the sacrifices they’ve made along the way to earn their success.  Chances are the person we’re comparing ourselves to makes it all look so easy.  And the tough choices … well, they don’t get talked about too much.

Steve Boese wrote a piece during the SHRM conference that mentions, “Tony Hseih (CEO of Zappos) is not smarter than you.”  And it’s probably true.  The question really is– Is he willing to sacrifice more than you?

Also keep in mind one person’s sacrifice may not be a sacrifice at all to someone else.  For example, I remember years ago trying to book a speaker for a conference.  This person is a very well-known individual and we were willing to pay huge dollars to get him.  He turned us down.  Why?  The conference was on his wife’s birthday.  He wasn’t willing to make that sacrifice – regardless of the money.  (For the record, Mr. Bartender has said that I can take all the paid speaking engagements I want on his birthday.  No sacrifices there.  Ha.Ha.)

As we start to look toward the future, is anyone else thinking about sacrifices? 

(Editor’s Note:  This post was originally published on the blog HR Bartender, a friendly place to discuss workplace issues.  With increased media attention on the role of CEOs, it might be interesting to revisit the subject.)

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