Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Kids epitomize the All-In way

There are so many examples of what All-In looks like in this clip. The runner, his family, the teacher, the adults, his classmates. They gave Matt, the runner, a special moment he can remember forever. For a brief time in his life, he had everyone behind him--literally!

Matt did something for everyone else too. He showed perseverance, determination, and grace. He gave the whole group an opportunity to unite and cheer.

Imagine a company where this type of energy exists every day. Imagine a corporate culture full of All-In people. It can happen when the opportunity for it exists.

Enjoy this clip...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wall Street's gibberish no longer tolerated

Wall Street companies who rely on public trust (and money!) better realize their acronyms, fancy words, and gibberish are no longer being tolerated. Their corporate cultures need to change.

The latest evidence that Wall Street corporate cultures are no longer being tolerated is the investigations and lawsuits launched after last week's Facebook IPO fiasco.

The public is interested to learn how Morgan Stanley made money off the deal by "short trades". The public is interested to learn how the banks involved kept lowered growth expectations from some investors, while at the same time promoting the stock to those same people. The public is interested to learn whether legal and ethical lines were crossed.

Facebook and Morgan Stanley are the latest companies facing scrutiny. Others include Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, which have been in the news for less than stellar reasons this year.

Gone are the days when high-powered men in suits could seemingly pat the public on the head and tell it to run along like a little child. The public wants answers and is not going to tolerate the patronizing arrogance of Wall Street any longer.

With so much money rolling in, why should Wall Street firms care what the public wants?

Because the public includes investors and customers.

The public includes the Baby Boom generation who wants to invest in companies they believe in and Gen Y who wants to work for companies they believe in. Also, the public is slowly starting to recognize the importance of long-term sustainability over a short-term snapshot. We're not impressed with one good quarter now and then. 

Narrowly skipping along the thin line of ethical behavior is not going to cut it for the public any longer.

The firms that align their behavior with all of their stakeholders, not just their stockholders, will not need to worry about the pressures from the public. They will speak in plain terms people understand because they don't need to hide behind gibberish.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A corporate culture founded in doggie doo

If the president of a company is the type of person who would leave a bag of dog poo in his neighbor's mailbox, what kind of leader do you think he is? With a leader like him, what kind of corporate culture do you think he supported?

Bob Furnad, former president of CNN Headline News, was captured on video last weekend leaving a bag of his dog's poo in his neighbors' mail box. Mr. Furnad admitted leaving the bag. "This was an immature act in response to years of malicious rumor mongering that I consider defamation of character," Mr. Furnad told the local Georgia newspaper.

The neighbors have said they haven't even spoken with Mr. Furnad in years and don't know why he would leave the poo in their mailbox. They said there is no feud. 

Mr. Furnad's immature behavior is unacceptable for a 70+ year old man, a corporate executive, a leader of any kind. What are the chances this was a one-time lapse of judgement, a rare lapse of maturity? I bet zero chance.

I wonder if Mr. Furnad was the type of leader who blamed others for his shortcomings, wallowed in mistakes, and failed to build valuable relationships. Would a leader who premeditates putting dog poo in his neighbors' mailbox foster a culture of accountability in which everyone was valued? Not likely.

If he would put poo in his neighbors' mailbox, chances are really good that he slung it around in the office too, although not literally of course. Or, perhaps literally.

Story on GMA

Monday, May 21, 2012

All-In Person of the Week: It's a lawyer!

A woman fell on to the tracks at a New York City subway station Saturday, and a 40-year old father of three jumped to her rescue. Greg Wetzel did not see the woman fall but was told she was stumbling prior to falling off the platform.

She lay unconscious as onlookers decided what to do. Mr. Wetzel, who was accompanied by his three young children as he approached the scene, jumped to the tracks and passed the woman to helpers on the platform. An emergency vehicle drove the woman to Roosevelt Hospital but her condition is unknown.

Mr. Wetzel is a lawyer for an aviation company.

It's one thing to be All-In in one's own life and as a parent, but to be so All-In as to jump to subway tracks to save a stranger is remarkable. And, rare.

Well done, Mr. Wetzel! You're the All-In person of the week!

(Source: http://gma.yahoo.com)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Corporations walk their talk and kick leaders to the curb

Now that Values are openly displayed on web sites, touted in advertisements, and posted on walls throughout corporate America, discrepancies between Values and behavior are noticed. Lately, it seems corporations are taking notice of their values and are trying to behave consistently.

Whether they like it or not, the web sites, advertisements, and posters are prompting many companies to be All-In.

Consider three current examples:

1. JPMorgan Chase admitted late last week that it experienced a $2 billion loss caused by, in its own words, sloppiness and bad judgment.

One PR model often followed in similar embarrassing, costly circumstances is to deny, downplay, then barely acknowledge and reluctantly fire a few people (a la Goldman Sachs). In response to its exorbitant losses, 

JPMorgan Chase went public before news leaked nationwide, started the CEO apology tour quickly, and accepted resignations or fired people involved. Their behavior is interesting because their Values Statement reads:  Our values are reflected in the way that we conduct our business and in the first-class results that we consistently achieve for our clients.

2. Best Buy's CEO, Brian Dunn, resigned in April for undisclosed personal reasons (All-In blog post). The reasons were disclosed yesterday: he had an extremely close relationship with a female coworker, and it affected the workplace. In light of that disclosure, Best Buy's Chairman resigned yesterday because he knew about the relationship. On its web site, one of Best Buy's values is to "Show respect, humility and integrity." At least in the midst of disrespect and lack of integrity, the company is showing some of both this week.

3. Yahoo's CEO, Scott Thompson, was lambasted the ten days, including here, for lying on his resume for years. When the lie became public ten days ago, the former CEO downplayed the lie and only acknowledged the distraction it had become for the employees. However, others took the lie more seriously. The executive who led the hiring process of Thompson, who began work at Yahoo in January, was let go, along with others. Yahoo's values include: We are committed to winning with integrity.The CEO was not committed to the same thing, and he is out.

 Clearly, living by their internal values has been difficult, embarrassing, and humbling for JPMorgan Chase, Best Buy, and Yahoo. Even when they are not perfect, all of their stakeholders can see they are trying to behave the way their values determine. Now when the executives of those companies ask for first-class conduct, respect, and integrity, they are role models for their corporate culture because they are walking the talk, and web sited, advertisements, and posters

Thursday, May 10, 2012

All-In janitor graduates with honors from Columbia

Janitor Gac Filipaj has spent nearly twenty years on Columbia University's campus and earns his Bachelors degree this week. Congratulations to another well-educated All-In Person of the Week!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A CEO's minor lie is major to employees

Four days ago it became public and blogged about here that Yahoo's new CEO, Scott Thompson, had lied on his resume. He lists an accounting and computer science degree, when he has only an accounting degree.

I blogged about it Friday because of the impact on corporate culture, and several people protested because the lie was so minor and didn't matter. So minor, they insisted, it shouldn't even be called a lie but an oversight.

Late yesterday, the CEO apologized for the distraction the lie had caused. He did not apologize for the lie itself or explain how it had been perpetuated throughout his hiring or previous employers. In the memo obtained by CNN, Thompson says, "I want you to know how deeply I regret how this issue has affected the company and all of you." (Source: cnn.com)

Whether you call it a lie or an inadvertent oversight, or any other name, the issue, its cause, and its management have become major to the employees. 

From cnn.com: A senior Yahoo executive, who spoke to CNN on the condition that his name not be used, said: "Thompson has quickly lost the confidence of many employees, who think he has to go."

Managers and executives often underestimate the impact their actions have on the people around them. When you need your people to unite as a team to move a company forward, they need you to be truthful. They will notice if you're not, and the corporate culture will be impacted.

(Article at cnn.com)

What do you think? 
Would you care if your company leaders lied in a similar way?

May 13, 2012:
Yahoo confirmed late today that it's CEO, Scott Thompson, left the company as a result of the padded resume.
Article on cnn.com

Monday, May 7, 2012

All-In Person of the Week: Dr. Shaq

You know those soda commercials featuring celebrities with Doctor nicknames like Dr. Dre? Former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal could star in one of those now, but he can use Doctor legitimately.

Over the weekend Shaquille O'Neal earned a doctorate in education from Florida's Barry University, a private Catholic school.

Just to confirm: it is not an honorary degree. His GPA is above a 3.8, and he adds the doctorate to his BA and MBA. Next up: a law degree.

Congratulations to Dr. O'Neal, All-In Person of the Week!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Sprint's Hesse makes a rare move

This blog called out Sprint's CEO, Dan Hesse, on March 27, 2012 for being overcompensated. As a former employee, current customer, and current stockholder, I was appalled at exorbitant Hesse's salary increase in light of the company's financial losses. Apparently I was not alone.

Yesterday, Mr. Hesse sent a letter to the company detailing that he will forgo $3.25 million over the next two years. In a startling move that made me gasp for air, he also is going to return nearly $350k received last year. The adjustments are related to the accounting of the iPhone. (For specifics, read the article in today's Kansas City Star.)

Congratulations, Mr. Hesse. I applaud you for listening to your shareholders and for doing the right thing for your employees as it relates to their bonuses. 

Friday, May 4, 2012

How a CEO's padded resume impacts its corporate culture

Late last night, it became public that Yahoo's CEO Scott Thompson padded his resume by claiming to have a Bachelor's degree in accounting and computer science from Stonehill College. Stonehill, a small Roman Catholic college in Massachusetts, also confirmed to CNNMoney that Thompson's only degree is in accounting. (SOURCE: CNNMONEY.COM)

The lie has been on Thompson's bio on Yahoo's site and on past employer's sites including Pay Pal and Ebay. It is a lie Thompson kept up for years, but let's assume none of the employers deliberately perpetuated his lie. 

Now that Yahoo knows about the lie, it's first response was something along the lines of, "Well, he's a great worker, so his degree doesn't matter. If he turns the company around, his degree won't matter."

First of all, it is highly doubtful they would have a similar response when finding out a project manager's resume included a lie of that nature.

Secondly, Yahoo is supposed to be an expert in searches, Considering they missed this big lie on their own CEO's resume, just how good are they at searches anyway? The company's failure to uncover the truth about their own CEO leads to a reasonable assumption that they are not good at what they do. 

Third, Yahoo has had internal issues and performance issues for a long time and this error, along with the response, is no surprise to anyone who follows the company. The company is hanging on by a thread and desperate times call for desperate measures (like not confirming easily whether a new executive is a liar).

Fourth, Yahoo missing the facts about Thompson's degree and the fact that he does not have a Computer Science education are less relevant today than the fact that he lied for years about it. Of course he's learned enough about computer science over the years to make up for the lack of degree in that area. And, perhaps it is reasonable for a major corporation not to verify degrees (although none I know of let that slide these days). What is intolerable is the lie and the perpetuation of the lie. If Yahoo overlooks the long-term lie, it sends the message that it's a company not to trust.

When a company makes an error like this and responds so cavalierly, its customers, investors, and employees notice. So far, the leaders are saying the lie is okay, and the message is being heard loud and clear by all of its stakeholders. The culture of distrust will make it even harder for Thompson to turn Yahoo around now.

(Article source:  Yahoo CEO Scott Thompson caught padding his resume)

What do you think? Does the lie matter?