The Daily Drucker : What To Do In A Value Conflict?

Extracted from Peter Drucker’s book The Daily Drucker.

I saw no point in being the richest man in the cemetery.

There rarely is conflict between person’s strengths and the way that person performs. The two are complementary. But there is sometimes conflict between person’s values and that same person’s strengths. What one does well – even very well – and successfully may not fit with one’s value system. It may not appear to that person as making contribution and as something to which to devote one’s life (or even substantial portion thereof).
I, too, many years ago, had to decide between what I was doing well and successfully, and my values. I was doing extremely well as young investment banker in London in the mid-1930s; it clearly fitted my strengths. Yet I did not see myself making contribution as an asset manager of any kind. People, I realised, were my values. And I saw no point in being the richest man in the cemetery. I had no money, no other job in deep Depression, and no prospects. But I quit – and it was the right thing. Values, in other words, are and should be the ultimate test.

Action point: Does what you do well fit with your value system?
Management Challenges for the 21st Century

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