Why Love (Not Money) Makes Great Leaders: Insight from Dr. Herb Greenberg

According to Dr. Herb Greenberg, founder of Caliper Corporation, great leaders are not motivated by money.

This is just one of the conclusions Dr. Greenberg drew from his extensive research on the qualities and characteristics that make great leaders, which he published in his book, Succeed on Your Own Terms (which eventually became a New York Times bestseller).

Among the hundreds of leaders interviewed for the book, Dr. Greenberg says that each had his or her own unique definition of success. “Each person knew exactly what he or she needed to do in order to feel like a success, short term and long term,” says Dr. Greenberg. “None of these leaders used money as a definition of success.”

Dr. Greenberg (who lost his sight at age 10) launched his own long and successful career with a single great idea — he was convinced there was a market for assessment tools that could help companies assess qualified candidates for job openings, including sales. In 1961, he left his job as a college professor and founded Caliper. He and his business partner began knocking on doors to spread the word about the value of a comprehensive personality test to assess job candidates in management, sales, and customer service. At the end of four months, they had nothing to show for their efforts but a string of rejections. “Many times, I woke up thinking to myself what have I done?” Greenberg told Inc.com in this video interview. In a blog post, he summed up his recollection of that time by saying, “The number of rejections, including being laughed at, cannot be counted — I can only say that we needed face masks to protect us from the doors slammed in our faces.”

Finally, Gail Smith, VP of Merchandising for General Motors, decided to take a chance on them. Just three years later, Caliper was performing assessments for 900 job candidates a month for dozens of clients. Dr. Greenberg told Inc.com that persistence was key to their success. “Fight through the failures, take the rejections … and we say this to anybody who’s looking for a job or a client. People are going to tell you ‘No.’ If you’re ahead of the curve, you’re going to hear ‘No, no, no.’ You need the ego strength to take that beating … and push forward.”

Today, Caliper employs more than 250 professionals in 12 offices around the world and is a recognized leader in using personality tests and assessments to predict success in management, sales, customer service, and even sports. In this video interview, Dr. Greenberg shares a story with Selling Power founder and CEO Gerhard Gschwandtner about a successful basketball player they interviewed.

“Everyone said he had all this talent in the world … but would never be Shaquille O’Neal or a Tim Duncan, or any of the great ones,” Greenberg says. “I said, “What’s holding you back? Why aren’t you as good as you could be?’ He said, ‘I hate this game.’ I said, ‘So why are you playing it?’ He said, ‘They pay me $6 million a year!’ But that’s what stopped him from being a great leader. Not loving his work.”

Watch the interview below between Dr. Herb Greenberg and Gerhard Gschwandtner and discover the top qualities that all great leaders share.

About Lisa

Lisa is Editorial Director at Selling Power.
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