Would You Invest $3 Billion Where You Lead

If you had $3 billion to invest in any mission, cause or effort, what would you invest in? While also putting your personal time and energy behind it as the leader of that organization or mission? That’s what the founder and CEO of Patagonia recently did, while retaining a very small portion. I think it was about 2% or so of his investment in the company.

He donated the rest of it to fight climate change. That’s what he’s passionate about. That’s his mission and vision.

If you have the answer to that question for yourself, where you would take $3 billion of your own personal wealth, you know, the vast majority of it, and your time and energy, and still invest it in the cause. That is where you should be leading. That is where you will be most successful as a leader.

What Do You Value Most?

You see, the greatest leaders are not in it for money. Sure, money is important. Money determines the value an organization or a mission or vision places in you. But what you really want to know, as a leader, is what vision or mission do you place all of your value in? That’s where you’re going to be most successful as a leader.

Indications You’re Leading in the Right Place

The best indicators of where you will be most successful as a leader are…

  1. Would you lead for free?
    First and foremost, would you do it for free? We’ve probably all heard that before, right? Would you do the same level of effort? Would you lead the same mission or vision that you’re currently leading if it wasn’t paying you money?
  2. Is it a calling?
    The second indicator is if you feel it’s a calling. Now, whether you believe in God, Allah, or some other deity. Whatever you believe in, maybe you’re atheist or maybe you’re agnostic. That’s fine too. But do you feel somehow compelled – like it is a calling in your life to lead that effort? If so, that’s another great indication that you’re in the right spot.
  3. Making it better?
    Last and certainly not least: is what you’re doing making the world a better place? Now, I know that can sound a bit altruistic to some of you, but for most of us, that should be a core component of what we do in this world before we leave this earth – one way or another. Did we leave it a better place?

If you have those three components in what you’re doing as a leader, then you are leading in the right spot and you are leading where you are most likely to be the most successful leader for that position.

$3 billion. Now, I realize many of you are executives at for profit organizations, and you might be thinking, “Ben, this is all just altruistic”. And you know what? To some extent you’re right. But at the end of the day, if you could invest $3 billion in your organization, is that still where you would invest the money? Would you believe it’s the right organization for you? Would you believe helping your people in that organization succeed and grow is where you would want to spend your time and energy?

Then you are positioned in the right spot to be the best possible leader you can be.

I’m Ben Lipton. Walter. Until next time, remember, keep serving.


Picture of Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner

Ben Lichtenwalner is the founder and principal of Modern Servant Leader and Radiant Forest, LLC. He has studied and promoted servant leadership awareness and adoption for over 20 years. He is the author of 2 leadership books and has 2 decades of corporate management and leadership experience. His corporate experience spans CIO, VP, Director, and many management roles at Fortune 500, INC 500, and Nonprofits. Ben’s education includes a B.S. in Management Science & Information Systems from Penn State University and an MBA from Lehigh University. Ben's Full Profile Here: About Ben Lichtenwalner

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