This year Jordan Belfort found himself again centre stage. This time as the subject Oscar nominated Leonardo DiCaprio portrays in the film based upon Belfort’s life – The Wolf of Wall Street. At the age of 28 Belfort was a successful New York stock broker who founded his own brokerage firm. From dealing in innocent penny stocks to IPOs, Belfort’s rise on the stock exchange culminated in him controlling much of Wall Street before carrying out a 22 month prison sentence for fraudulent activity. He lived a lavish and drug fuelled lifestyle filled with non-stop partying, and despite having more money than he knew what to do with, he craved more. As his firm Stratton Oakmont grew off the back of security frauds, a practice that encourages investors to make purchases from false information, Belfort and his team found themselves overcome by greed and corruption.
Now by no means are we encouraging this as a way to run a business, as what they did at Stratton Oakmont was immoral and a cautionary tale to the financial services industry, however after reading the book the one thing that struck me the most was how much Belfort’s employees loved him, and were loyal and dedicated to the cause despite it being illegal. In the early stages of the firm, when he renamed it to the more respectable Stratton Oakmont, an article by Forbes quoted him as the ‘Wolf of Wall Street’, and from that moment young and ambitious financiers were queuing to work for him. His employees, or as he called them, his wolf pack, looked up to him as an inspiring role model, and although many of his actions should not be mirrored, lessons can be learnt about how such a tight knit culture and great leadership can drive a business forward.
“Every person has a thirst for a vision. And what they do is they gravitate towards one that has a vision. They want to be a part of it” – Belfort believed that if everyone worked towards the same vision and shared the same values, that they would be able to achieve that end goal. His employees knew what was expected of them, and in return were recognised, in this case financially, for their hard work and dedication. He showed his people that he believed in them, they were his team, his family, and he would do whatever he could for them, making them feel engaged, empowered and encouraged to deliver. He stimulated his people to set challenging goals to excel and push past their potential.
When describing his employees Belfort said “They were drunk on youth, fuelled by greed, and higher than kites.” – not the most ideal workforce to have, but at the time it worked for them, showing that establishing a suitable (and not so notorious) culture is a vital part of any organisation.
‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ is notoriously known for his control and corruption of Wall Street, but even more so is known as a great leader and entrepreneur. He showed that with a vision and passion any individual or business can achieve their dreams, and just how important it is to share those dreams with others.
Holly is our fabulous Marketing Executive, if you want to know more about how to create an inspirational vision email her on firstname.lastname@example.org