" Surviving is winning, because if you are the last man standing, as they say, then you are the last man standing."
—Richard D. Parsons, chairman and CEO, AOL Time Warner, Inc.
Success Magazine asks all of its new employees to share their definition of success. In a feature article about these responses, each new employee, from twentysomething to fiftysomething, offered a unique viewpoint. Victoria Conte, president and publisher, said "At the end of the day, success is knowing that I helped better someone's life."
I believe that professional success should be balanced with personal success. When some people become wealthy or famous, they find that it's not enough. Those who work and live for success should consider whether they'll be happy when they get the success they seek.
To be successful, one must keep in mind the principles that guide one's work and life—without them, it's easy to get sidetracked. If you have these principles clearly in mind and act consistently with them, you will avoid second-guessing your decisions.
In the movie Citizen Kane, the main character takes over as publisher of a newspaper. He publishes what he calls a "Declaration of Principles" on the front page of the paper that states that the paper will present the news honestly. If someone were to ask you what the principles are that you or your company operate by, how would you respond?
" So every leader, and every employee, needs to be clear about their identity—their values, their beliefs—which provides an anchor in rough waters. Let me conclude by mentioning a few of these anchors, each of them essential for a leader to succeed and for a company to step up to its social responsibility.
"The first is integrity, which is non-negotiable. Integrity is the foundation for trust, without which a leader isn't going to lead anybody anywhere. Second is personal accountability—another non-negotiable. Third is a concern for people—treating your employees and public alike with candor and respect. The fourth, and last, is leading by example."
—Kenneth I. Chenault, chairman and CEO, American Express Company, from his keynote address, NYU Stern's Graduate Precommencement Ceremony, May 14, 2003