Last night I was at a Smart CEO event and they were honouring 50 of the fastest growing companies in Washington D.C. and the Northern Virginia area. At the event I got a chance to meet one of the CEOs, his name is Zia Islam. As we’re talking, I asked him, “Zia, what makes you happy about what you do for a living?” And this guy just lit up from within. He’s like “What I really like to do is to help people. You know when our customers come in, I want to make sure I look after them really, really well so they can move forward in their companies and what they’re doing.”
What struck me at the moment was the amount of passion and conviction he had when he said that. It so happens that a lot of times we hear leaders of companies talk about the customer being the number one priority and we really care about them etc. and you can tell that these are just their company slogans that they think about and they try to live by. But with Zia it was conviction, a way of being.
One of the things he told me was that, if you look after people in that way, the money will follow. And you could tell, the money wasn’t important, it was the passion for helping people. And I think if we could all do just that: figure out what our purpose in life is, what our passion is and apply that to our occupation, especially for CEOs it would not only help the people around you, in fact you would be happier within with what you do. A CEO is the compass for the organization and when you do what you think is expected of you or what Fortune Magazine says is the ‘right thing to do’, you do get a certain level of results, but it lacks purity. But when you check within, what turns you on, what your passion is, and apply that to the way you do business, that’s where you achieve pure greatness.