Lesson #3: Take Charge

“The wise man bridges the gap by laying out the path by means of which he can get from where he is to where he wants to go,” Morgan once said. Known amongst his peers not only for his determination and abilities but also for his take-charge personality, Morgan knew what it took to get things done. A man devoted to his business, Morgan would do whatever it took to close a deal, no matter whose head he had to go over. With a clear vision in mind, Morgan took control over his situations, directing them towards the ends he desired.

Morgan’s desire and ability to take charge was not a characteristic that developed with age; he had it from the very first day he went to work. While working as a junior accountant at Duncan, Sherman and Co., he was sent by his bosses to New Orleans to study the cotton industry. It wasn’t long before Morgan saw the potential for opportunity and profit, although it lied in the coffee business as opposed to cotton. Without any of the required authorization from his superiors, Morgan went ahead and purchased an entire shipload of coffee using a company draft. He saw the opportunity and he knew that he had to act quickly; any indecision or stalling would mean that the chance would pass him by.

Without any hesitation, Morgan seized the opportunity. He recognized the potential for profit and decided to act immediately. Soon after his purchase, Morgan received an urgent telegram from his bosses in New York demanding that he dispose of the coffee by any means necessary. They were unhappy with his actions and disappointed with the fact that after working at the company for such a short time, he was already going over their heads. They feared that in just one day, this junior accountant had caused serious injury to the company with such a major, unauthorized and unsupervised purchase.

Part confidence and part intelligence, Morgan believed that he knew what was best for his company and that in the end his quick thinking would be rewarded. Indeed, he turned out to be correct. After receiving the telegram, Morgan immediately wrote back that he had already sold the coffee and that he had made a substantial profit on behalf of Duncan, Sherman and Co. The cheque, he advised his superiors, was already on its way to New York City.

After that, there was little his bosses could say or do to stand in Morgan’s way, nor did they want to. Morgan’s take-charge attitude had benefited the company in a substantial way. From that point on, and throughout the rest of his career, Morgan’s ability to make crucial and decisive decisions in a short amount of time would become one of his trademarks. It was this characteristic of Morgan’s that led him to be so well-respected amongst his peers and whose services were always in such high demand. Morgan would always prove to be at his best when the heat was on.

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