Sunday, July 18, 2004

L. example

In an interview with biotechnology giant Amgen, CEO Kevin Sharer tells this remarkable anecdote of the moment it was just announced he was going to become CEO the following year: "I asked the top 150 people in the company to meet with me for an hour each—150 hours in total. And I gave each of them the same five questions, which they received in advance: What three things do you want to change? What three things do you want to keep? What are you most worried I might do? What do you want me to do? Is there anything else you want to talk about? And I just listened for an hour. Many of the people came in with stuff written down, and in the case of those who didn’t, I took notes. And then I tabulated all the responses, coming up with a pretty accurate and timely picture of what the top 150 leaders in the company wanted to do. I put all of this together and sent out a memo to the entire company summarizing my findings. These interviews gave me the mandate to do what I needed to do. It created a shared reality for the company and allowed people to begin aligning around a number of goals. The exercise was probably the single most important thing I did upon becoming CEO". -- Amen.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Ken Lay should go to jail !

I believe Ken Lay, the former CEO of Enron should go to jail. Why?

Understand me correctly: this is no legal judgment. Everybody should be assumed innocent until proven guilty. And Of course Mr Lay will try to show that he didn't know anything about the financial fraud that was going on. Not that he will deny that is has been going on, because that is pretty obvious. But he'll try to prove he wasn't aware of it.

But even if he succeeds in actually proving he didn't know about it, I think he should have known and should still be put behind bars.

The reason is if he gets away with this, any CEO in the future will always be able to get away with fraud and plausible deniability will become a de facto standard in each boardroom. Provided you don't interfere at all with the financial matters of your corporation, you can then always escape prosecution in case of corporate fraud. And that seems to me unacceptable if we ever want to improve corporate responsibility.