What can we learn from Warren Buffet’s CEOs?

Warren Buffet’s CEOs are extraordinarily successful. Their primary concern is their organisation’s long term performance. Are the two linked?

In a recent annual report letter, Warren Buffet describes why the managers of his business are so special. How have they averaged an annual gain in earnings of 17.8% over the last 42 years? (Earnings growth of 1,000 times!) He explains that their extraordinary performance is due to their extraordinary motivations.

They have no financial need to work; they have nothing more to prove; they are running their businesses because they love to; they have exactly the job they want for the rest of their working years.

For most of us in the hustle of the corporate world, this description seems unreal. More common motivations are maximising the bonus, getting the next promotion, building our egos, positioning ourselves for when the head-hunter calls with the dream job.

Step back, and imagine yourself in one of Warren Buffet’s CEOs shoes for a moment. You have no self-generated or external pressure to pump the short term at the expense of future years – you will be the one to eat your own cooking for many years to come!

You don’t play corporate games or have your mind half out the door. You are totally focused on your legacy, building an organisation that thrives and survives you.

Your team and customers also know that you are with them for the long term.

Berkshire Hathaway has shown it is possible, and the results it creates. Are we up to choosing to live by the same principles?

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