There’s the adage or cliché that nice guys finish last and it’s important for me to convey that I’m not arguing the opposite, that nice guys in this world can finish first.  I prefer working with nice people but How is really about principled people finishing first. 

And you can be ruthless about your principles.  In the interdependent, social, personal, interconnected world there’s so much pressure on us to be situational, to get what we need to get in the situation in the moment and then it doesn’t add up.  

Being principled gives us the strength to do the right thing, the connecting thing, to enlist others in our endeavors even when it’s inconvenient, unpopular, dangerous and seemingly unprofitable in the short term although it turns out to be profitable not just in the short term but in the long term. 

So the thesis of How is it’s not about nice guys finishing first or last.  I prefer working with nice people.  It’s about principled people and leaders that are principled and they can inspire us because they are doing what they do in a HOW way, a principled way. 

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

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