During the recent SAE Commercial Vehicle Congress & Exhibition, Jack Curcio—former President and CEO of Mack Truck—received the Inaugural Commercial Vehicle Sector Lifetime Achievement Award. In a conversation with Jack, who over the years has significantly contributed to both SAE and the industries we serve, he attributed his success in life to always doing the best job possible. Jack told me that this message is one that he communicates in his numerous speaking engagements, particularly to college students: “Take the hand that is dealt to you and do the best job ever.”
This philosophy is not unlike that of my own father’s. He constantly reminded me and the rest of my family members that, if you do the best job possible, you will ultimately be recognized and rewarded—rewarded with more responsibility, more authority, and more money. I always believed that self-interest was better served by doing good work than by getting good things.
Too many times I see in younger generations the desire and need for immediate reward. Too often, it seems, our youth is unwilling to accept special assignments or take on additional responsibilities unless these are accompanied by immediate reward. Entitlement is a word that I never grew up with, yet now I hear it all the time. Interestingly, I searched for the word in my 1960 edition of the Webster’s Dictionary, and found that it did not exist. In my 1998 edition, however, “entitlement” was an entry.
I believe that this relatively new concept has been born out of the drive within organizations to empower people. Some individuals clearly equate “empowerment” with getting what they want.
In my view, there is a direct correlation of entitlement to the current climate of our industries, and this applies to SAE as well. When I first joined SAE 33 years ago, industry felt an unspoken obligation to provide support for professional organizations. It was part of their obligation to the community. Today, SAE is just like every other supplier to industry; we must deliver value in all that we do. We must accept the hand that we have been dealt and always do the best job possible, recognizing that the rewards may take a longer time to be realized.
The consumers of the products provided by the industries that SAE serves are proving this every day. Market share is determined by the marketplace, not by entitlement. Consumers are not only interested in value; they are demanding it. For many organizations—like many individuals—this lesson takes too long to learn.
Raymond A. Morris, SAE Vice President and Chief Operating Officer