Greed in disguise

By Rick James

Greed is good at disguise. It can masquerade as success or even blessing…

People used to talk a lot about ‘small is beautiful’. But nowadays bigger always seems to be better. Some agencies (and even churches) may have become ‘fiscally mesmerised’ by ever increasing income targets. A desire for growth becomes the main driver for decision-making. We use size to define success. We are really proud of growth. We justify this fixation on the basis that growth means we can reach more people and change more lives. But there may be a shadow side to this growth objective. Our motives may not be wholly pure. Our desire for growth may be influenced by greed.

Greed is not just something out there in organisations, it affects us all as individuals. As an OD consultant, I am deeply uncomfortable when clients ask ‘What do you charge?’ I know I have to earn an income, but how much is enough? I may only charge ‘the market rate’, but my daily fee may be much more than a local salary for a month or even two… Am I really worth that amount of money? Or has greed altered my perspective?

Greed is all around us. It is not just in richer countries. We need to be on a constant look-out. We need to grapple with the uncomfortable questions. If we feel we have fully answered them, perhaps this just shows we have lost our way.

  • What disguises does greed wear in your life?
  • How can you fight against it this week?