The Role of Power and Greed

Corporate maze

I don't desire the end of Wall Street or capitalism in general.  The protests happening in NYC got me thinking.  I heard an interview last evening with a successful wealth creator, who discussed the the difference between an entrepreneur and an opportunist (gambler in many respects).  If I may paraphrase, he said that entrepreneurs create something and thereby create wealth for many.  The opportunists primarily seek to enrich themselves or a few only.

I don't want to overstate my opinion on the impact of power and greed, but those two cousins have often been left unchecked in our world today.  I'm not talking about passing a law to stop them.  But I would like to see the culture of our businesses and the schools address power and greed for what they are.  More progress would come if we stopped ignoring it. 

Many an organization (profit and non-profit) have entered into something with good intentions, only to find themselves the slave to a hideous master.  Namely, power and greed.  Never forget that power and greed are living, breathing things.  They have a desire to rule you and the culture (work, politics, etc.).  The question is whether you will let it and what will you do to control it.

Has anyone in your organization ever sat down with you and discussed how to handle power and greed, before there was a problem?  I often wonder that about Wall Street and those who lead there.  If you're a part of most organizations the answer is no.  I think its important enough to evaluate and discuss, considering how impactful it is on other human beings.