The cover of the June 13th issue of Fortune magazine asks the question Is Greed Still Good? I haven’t yet read the article, but it spurred a thought – Was greed ever good?
Greed is one of those words or qualities that generally strikes a chord. Many feel that’s what’s wrong with business and business leaders today, others conjure thoughts of being taken advantage of, some may have no feeling one way or the other. I’m closer to the negative feeling camp, thoughts of hand wringing financiers comes to mind.
greed n 1: excessive desire to acquire or possess more (especially more material wealth) than one needs or deserves 2: reprehensible acquisitiveness; insatiable desire for wealth (personified as one of the deadly sins)
But could greed be a quality desirable in sales teams? What if you had legions of salespeople that were greedy? Hungry sales professionals seeking more and more commission; working hard to close as much business as they can, making as much money as possible – all to buy the toys of success. All the while making more money for their company, its´ shareholders and beneficiaries.
I’ve worked with a few salespeople I would have no trouble calling greedy. They always were on the hunt. They wanted a bigger house, a fancier car, a more extravagant vacation, and twice of everything anyone around them had. A few of them got it. They blew through their quota at lightening speed and were further rewarded by the company with trips, accolades, and esteem.
They were greedy. And we all celebrated.
Is it possible greed is a great quality for salespeople? Or is the word so tainted, it’s an unacceptable quality for all people and professions?