contribution blogIn essence, the reason to do business and to identify and achieve goals is to ultimately contribute. Contribute to society, to others and to the world around you. Because of something you did, the world will be different, and hopefully, better. Though Contribution, our next Leadership Principle, can be on a small or a large scale, in order to illustrate this Principle, let’s examine the lives of two people we have already referenced whose successes have allowed them to contribute on a grand scale.


Example: Walt Disney

The legacy and heart of Walt Disney (see Blog post “Have a Little Faith: The Power of Possibilities Thinking in Business”)are carried on in his company, the Walt Disney Company. The Company states the following as its philanthropic vision: “Disney will build on our philanthropic legacy with programs that share our resources and talents to make lasting, positive change in communities and promote the happiness and well-being of kids and families.” The Walt Disney Company funds programs and organizations such as: Protecting the Planet, grassroots conservation initiatives and emergency funding. It also donates to after-school enrichment programs and, of course, supports children’s programs that promote creativity, storytelling and thought leadership.

Example: Warren Buffet

Warren Buffet (see Blog post “You Can Only Rely on Yourself: The Importance of Accountability in Business”) in June 2006, announced a plan to give away his fortune to charity. He has stated: “…I'm going to give virtually all of those claim checks to charity when my wife and I die.” Specifically, 83% of his mass earnings will go to the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, one of the largest private foundations in the world whose primary aims are to enhance healthcare and reduce extreme poverty, and nationally, to expand opportunities for education and access to information technology. Buffet pledged about the same—roughly 10 million— to Berkshire Hathaway Class B shares, which made history as the largest charitable donation ever. In 2001, Buffet auctioned off his Lincoln Town Caron eBay to raise money for Girls, Inc., an organization that strives to give confidence to girls.

What this boils down to

There exist thousands of organizations, such as Meals on Wheels, Toys for Tots, Feeding America and JDRF, that serve as shining examples of Contribution. Obviously, only a very small percentage can make the enormous charitable contributions of people like Walt Disney and Warren Buffet and comparably large organizations. But, just like everything else, contributions to society are proportional. And even though your organization may not exist as a charitable foundation or a non-profit, no matter what you’re turning out, you are ultimately contributing to society. As such, you have an enormous responsibility to leave everything you encounter better than you found it. To leave people you encounter better than you found them. When everyone in an organization lives their life as a contribution, fully aware of their responsibility to give of themselves to the world and to the people around them, your business has true potential to thrive—to be great and to accomplish great things. A new product. A thoroughly researched report. Whatever it is, realize the enormity of what you are doing. You are putting something out there, into the world—its impact may as well be a positive one. 


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