Howard Hughes – the cost of success

After a year or so of getting things together to roll out my next few projects, there has been plenty of time to chew over what personal and corporate development strategy to use.  Having tried a few different models over the years, I find myself reviewing the strategies of many of the people in my space who have been really successful.

One person I have looked at a  lot is Howard Hughes. He got an amazingly lot done in a very short time. From my perspective what can undeniably be said is that he was a top down boss. Every person who worked with him was a hired gun. Most of them were good, loyal workers but still very few if any of them had equity. Their only buy-in was a salary check.

Not having to share his thinking or strategy with others allowed Howard to move very quickly and decisively. But this approach is a double-edged sword. It also meant that decisions fell heavily on Howards shoulders and that he could not share the load of decision making with others because they had no skin in the game.

Continuing to build the Hercules (also derisively called the “Spruce Goose”) after the war had finished and purely to make a point with the US government must have been a terrible strain. I for one would hate to be in such a position without an army of supporters who understood my moral position and supported it.

It makes you wonder how much this contributed to Mr Hughes mental deterioration later on in life.

On the other end of the scale you have Thomas Edison. Although he always had enough money to run and fund things himself, he almost always worked with investors who were also astute business men. To me this helps share the load of making decisions.

If you have good, experienced and knowledgeable people as partners who also have skin in the game and you help mitigate the possibility of failure.

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