Strategy of Service – Mercenary vs Missionary Comparison Table

In my previous post, I highlighted a video from John Doer about attributes he looks for in leaders. The concept of mercenary vs missionary in business has had a tremendous impact on me over years. Partly because of my personality and upbringing, I have this desire to serve and make a contribution in the lives of others. For many years in my business, I had a deep level of insecurity that my primary motivation to serve over making money. When I watched friends adopt the mercenary mindset and make some quick money, I felt like I would doing something wrong as a missionary.

Revisiting John Doer’s thoughts around missionaries vs mercenaries has reminded me why I believe the wisest path to building a business is to focus on creating value for customers. Creating value doesn’t happen overnight. It requires talking to people and having empathy over what troubles them. It requires focused determination to help alleviate those troubles. This is a grind. It is a daily battle over years. But I don’t know of any other way to truly create value. And value creation is the only way I know to absolutely ensure that your business will be able continue to solve problems for customers in the future. Solving problems for customers doesn’t always guarantee revenue, but I can’t think of a better long-term strategy.

I took John Doer’s quote on comparing mercenaries and missionaries and outlined the differences in a table for quick review. When I start to feel insecure about the long-term strategy of building value, I’m going to review this. Hopefully you will too.

ThinkingOpportunistic – what’s in it for meStrategic – how can we create something of value
MindsetSprint – short-term, quick-fix thinkingMarathon – we creating solutions that solve problems over the long-haul
FocusCompetitors – looking at copying and comparing to what others are doingCustomers – looking at the customer’s needs and how we can add value
LeadershipWolf pack – Top down autocratic styleMentoring – team based coaching style
ObsessionEntitlement – driven by selfContribution – driven by helping others
MotivationMoney – always worried about making moreMeaning – recognizes the importance of money, but is driven by a deeper purpose to serve others

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