As we celebrate our 30th anniversary, we have many reasons to be proud of the success that we have achieved. However, we should not rest on our laurels, rather we should continue to drive towards a greater calling. We should relentlessly strive to make a difference in the world. Our focus should be on turning our
success into significance.
Bozzuto’s reason for being transcends “just” being developers, managers and builders of communities; rather, our purpose has even more nobility. We are responsible for providing sanctuary and creating extraordinary experiences for those that we serve. With this purpose, we have the unique ability to impact not only the lives of our residents, but also the greater community. Thus, the work that we do has deep significance for us all.
As we strive towards significance through our work, I often compare our company’s stages of growth to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Maslow created a five-tier hierarchical pyramid of needs in order to understand human motivation and personal mastery.
At the bottom of the pyramid are the basic human needs for food, water, shelter and safety. These needs are primal. Businesses in this stage are typically new ventures. When Bozzuto started 30 years ago, my father, Rick Mostyn, John Slidell and Bernie Lubcher had to be more focused on the creation of an ongoing business than making what Steve Jobs called a “dent in the universe”. While they ultimately wanted to make a difference, survival had to come first. Their survival planted seeds for Bozzuto’s long-term growth and took our company to the next level.
At this next level, a business evolves and becomes more mature. Perspective becomes more seasoned as the freedom to focus on strategic thinking replaces purely focusing on survival. In this realm, a business begins to feel a sense of accomplishment, which is a safe and seemingly ideal place for any business. By any measure, reaching this stage could be considered a success. However, lingering in this phase could ultimately deny you significance. Conversely, breaking through to the next level of Maslow’s hierarchy will provide you with the most beautiful part of being in business. This level of “self-actualization”, is where you realize your full potential as an organization.
Katharine Graham once said, “To love what you do and feel that it matters— how could anything be more fun?” I can tell you from personal experience, that there really isn’t anything better. It is my dream that the buildings that we have been fortunate to create together will stand stoically against time as if shouting, “I was here—I mattered”!
While perhaps significance is harder to measure than success, I can assure you that it can be quantified in lifetimes versus quarters. It is said that a successful business leaves a fingerprint on the world, while a significant business leaves a giant footprint. A significant business is one that allows your full potential to explode with creativity and joy. Furthermore, this joy will spread, leaving a positive impact on the world around you. Maslow says this is when “what a man can be, he must be.” This is your truest self. This is when you move from success to significance. The peak of Maslow’s hierarchy is “selftranscendence.” It is in this realm where you give yourself to a higher goal such as altruism or spirituality. This realm taps into man’s desire to be everlasting, significant and ultimately transcendent.
We should wake up every day in search of this transcendence. With humility and gratitude, I marvel at the accomplishments of our founders who created a platform from which everyone at Bozzuto can fly. Our responsibility is to take this gift and leverage it towards greatness. Our business is blessed to be beyond the survival stage, and should now focus on our growth and constant refinement of our craft.
However, we will not grow for growth’s sake—rather, we will only grow if we can adhere to the same values and ethos that brought us to where we are today. We will only move up Maslow’s pyramid with new opportunities that make a difference. We will not sacrifice our integrity and reputation for anything, no matter how much the potential reward.
So I ask you, how are we going to turn our success into significance? How can we find success for ourselves, our teams and the entire company? We are well on our way, but must be relentless in our pursuit of excellence.