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What do executives want out of life?

Author: Kets de Vries, Manfred F. R. INSEAD Area: Entrepreneurship and Family EnterpriseIn: Organizational Dynamics, vol. 39, no. 1, 2010 Language: EnglishDescription: p. 1-12.Type of document: INSEAD ArticleNote: Please ask us for this itemAbstract: This article is based on the responses of 160 senior executives to questions of what success means to them. Eight major categories of success emerged: family, wealth, work/career, recognition/fame, power, winning/overcoming challenges, freindships and meaning. Experiences of success depended on "intrinsic" or "external" validation, and the inner scripts that these executives had developed while growing up, which influenced their perception of success and how they experienced it. The qualities of focus, persistence, and self-mastery, among others, featured in the scripts of many successful people. The darker side of success was partly accounted for by what can be described as the "Faust Syndrome", the melancholia that follows the sense of everything being completed. What the narratives of most of these executives illustrate is that success is a journey, not a destination
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This article is based on the responses of 160 senior executives to questions of what success means to them. Eight major categories of success emerged: family, wealth, work/career, recognition/fame, power, winning/overcoming challenges, freindships and meaning. Experiences of success depended on "intrinsic" or "external" validation, and the inner scripts that these executives had developed while growing up, which influenced their perception of success and how they experienced it. The qualities of focus, persistence, and self-mastery, among others, featured in the scripts of many successful people. The darker side of success was partly accounted for by what can be described as the "Faust Syndrome", the melancholia that follows the sense of everything being completed. What the narratives of most of these executives illustrate is that success is a journey, not a destination

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