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"Why entitlement could be a danger to business", Phuong Uyen Tran

17:54 | 20/04/2020

Pride can motivate a business, but when it goes with expectation of achievement, it can be a pitfall. Phuong Uyen Tran discusses the negative impact that entitlement can leave on businesses.

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Tan Hiep Phat's Deputy CEO Phuong Uyen Tran

There is a Vietnamese proverb that says, “The rich do not stay rich, and the poor do not stay poor, for three generations.”

It underscores the challenges of making sure the second generation stays as motivated as the first when they no longer have financial hardship to spur them on. A variation of this proverb specifically addressing wealth could be understood as: the first generation makes the money, the second generation spends it, and the third loses the rest of it.

While this isn’t how it has to be, it is all too often the reality and a pitfall that can plague businesses where entitlement is present. Those who don’t feel they have to work to achieve their position within the business will be less likely to work hard to achieve continued success for the business, which will result in a lack of innovation, improvement, and sustainability.

An article published by the Harvard Business Review addressed this very topic. The author, Whitney Johnson, said that entitlement “enters the picture when I think I have the right to something, like a promotion, just because I showed up. Or I expect someone to do me a favor, without any reciprocity, just because I need it…Most of us believe we deserve opportunity — we are brimming with confidence and competence to change the world. It’s vital that we are also equipped with the humility to understand that changing the world requires that we change ourselves.”

We can diligently seek after opportunity without expecting it. Regardless of our personal ties to an organization, true success as an individual — and a company — will only come with hard work, responsibility, accountability, and humility.

It takes a deliberate effort on the part of families and leadership to foster a deep sense of hard work and humility within an organization and those who operate in it. Thankfully, our family’s emphasis on this core principle helped each of us understand the responsibility we have to one another and, ultimately, the business. Responsibility is one of the key requirements for sustaining a business from one generation to the next. I’ve learned from my experience at THP that it is critical I respect my father as my boss — just as he should respect my professional opinion even if it differs from his. However, to earn this respect means taking responsibility for my mistakes and decisions just as anyone else at THP does.

Pride in the business can motivate and create a great desire and duty to be involved in that organization; this is healthy and can foster a strong sense of identity and belonging. However, it’s when this pride is coupled with an expectation of achievement and superiority that the dangers of entitlement can negatively impact the business.

About author Phuong Uyen Tran

Phuong Uyen Tran is a model of success in Vietnam. Phuong Uyen Tran is also a special contributor for Vietnam Times. Her writing, including “Competing with Giant” book, and her latest articles are to advise and inspire young people to start-up, overcome challenges and reach out to the world. It is the story of a little girl taking the great responsibilities for a corporation and devoting herself to society.

Presently, Phuong is in charge of THP’s marketing, public relations, and CSR programs across the 63 provinces of Vietnam and 17 countries where they export THP’s beverages.

She is also a member of the Young Presidents Organization and an Executive of the Beverage Association of Vietnam.

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