People argue over whether an entrepreneur with a sense of fairness, a desire for collegiality, a want to share the profits can succeed in the long run within a business world full of lions and tigers that eat timid entrepreneurs for lunch.
Does a “good heart” diminish the chances of success?
First, let’s separate the “good heart” from the issue of whether an entrepreneur is driven to succeed. A sense of values that allows for sharing and fairness is not at odds with a ‘type A’ entrepreneur driven for success.
What is important is that stakeholders (people working for and with the entrepreneur) accept the entrepreneur for his or her good intentions, sense of fairness and willingness to listen.
Stories of the selfish entrepreneur
I have had numerous experiences during my business career where business people I dealt with took advantage of the moment selfishly because they could, not because they should. I recall an executive who kept a large deposit but canceled a contract, refusing to negotiate, because the next payment due was a few days late. Or another who sued over a gray area issue, refusing to listen or negotiate. (He lost the suit and paid both sides’ fees.)
My unscientific conclusion
And I have come to conclude that “good guys” (men and women) do finish first. There is no scientific proof, no metric to measure the full meaning of “good.” and no special acknowledgement from any “good-watching” organization. Even without these, I am sure of this.
Surely the ruthless more often win in the short run. But early successes, built upon the broken backs of adversaries, are rarely followed by long- term wins for the tyrant or for the tyrant’s company.
Be of good heart. You will enjoy your entrepreneurial or managerial ride much more, and your stakeholders will follow you through the flames as well as cheer your successes.