Our common culture is all about serving ourselves. Taking care of ourselves. Looking out for #1. There was a phrase I heard when I taught in the public school, “Imma get mine”, insinuating that they do not care what happens to other people but they feel obligated to what they believe is theirs. The approach they take however baffles me based off of what we see works in the world.
Selfishness, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is being concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself : seeking or concentrating on one’s own advantage, pleasure, or well-being without regard for others. I propose that in the world of business, if you hope to be successful, you must change it to only being concerned about others. Without others, how do we even make money?
Taking that another step, we have to be concerned about the lively hood of our employees. Happy employees, and employees who know that you care about them, usually work harder and better for you. When your employees work hard for you, your company thrives. When your company thrives, then you succeed!
In the book Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality, by Scott Belsky, he discusses Zappos. At Zappos their main focus is on customer service. They hire people who want to serve customers, which makes their customers happy and makes them come back. They also focus on employee happiness, which is why they have a very fun environment. Their hiring process is incredibly thorough but it has to be that way so they can have happy employees who are customer oriented. Zappos lives to serve customers and employees and in that it serves their owners by projecting profits of $97 million despite a drastic shift in their company in 2016.
Chic-Fil-A is the same. In the book Called to Create, by Jordan Raynor, he discusses how Truett Cathy built his restaurant based around two aspects. Hiring people who he can teach and give an opportunity to and mentor, and then amazing customer service. He once said “Putting people before profits is how we have tried to do it from the beginning”. In 2018 they reported over $10 billion in revenue, which is a strong supporting number for our new definition of selfishness.
Now lets look at the science behind our selfishness. When we serve others chemicals are released into our bodies. These chemicals are dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin. These three perform tasks like making us happy, feel better, connect us with others, intimacy, lower blood pressure, and many other perks! All we have to do is serve others and we receive! So why are we not being selfish and serving others?
Let me close saying this. Serve other people with selflessness. Obviously, you cannot selfishly serve people, but I hope this breaks down the idea of selfishness in our society. Serving others is better for us in every way. It truly does benefit us. Sure sometimes it seems hard or may be uncomfortable, but looking at the benefits from it I can say for myself that serving other people is well worth it. I hope that you all go out and serve someone in your business and every day life. So go on and be selfish!
- “Selfish.” Merriam-Webster, Merriam-Webster, http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/selfish.
- Feloni, Richard. “Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh Explains Why 18% of Employees Quit during the Company’s Radical Management Experiment.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 14 Jan. 2016, http://www.businessinsider.com/zappos-ceo-tony-hsieh-on-holacracy-transition-2016-1.
- “The Press Room.” Chick-Fil-A, thechickenwire.chick-fil-a.com/Press-Room.
- “The Neuroscience of Giving.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, http://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/vitality/201404/the-neuroscience-giving.
- Belsky, Scott. Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles between Vision and Reality. Portfolio/Penguin, 2012.
- Raynor, Jordan. Called to Create: a Biblical Invitation to Create, Innovate, and Risk. Baker Books, 2017.