Monday, April 23, 2012

Some Drucker thoughts on corporate misconduct

The case against Lehman Brothers and Wal-Mart probe could cost some executives their jobs.

From Chapter 14 — "The Mystique of the Business Leader" in Managing for the Future

… snip, snip … 
Business executives are inevitably leaders in their organizations, seen as such, perceived as such, judged as such. 
"The higher up the monkey goes, the more of his behind he shows," runs an English schoolboy jingle. What executives do, what they believe and value, what they reward and whom, are watched, seen, and minutely interpreted throughout the whole organization. And nothing is noticed more quickly—and considered more significant—than a discrepancy between what executives preach and what they expect their associates to practice.
Recently I discussed with an elder statesman of Japan's industry the violation of the ban on strategic shipments of American products by a subsidiary of Tokyo's Toshiba. I commented on the fact that the top executives of Toshiba had held themselves "accountable" and resigned over this matter even though the violator is barely controlled by Toshiba (which holds only 50.1 percent of its stock), is autonomous, and had disregarded published company policy. 
"We wouldn't say 'accountable,' " my friend said. "We'd say: 'It's their fault.' If a manager in a company does something wrong to improve the market standing or the profits of the company, you can be sure that he only does what his top management wants him to do and signals him to do." 
The Japanese recognize that there are really only two demands of leadership. One is to accept that rank does not confer privileges; it entails responsibilities. The other is to acknowledge that leaders in an organization need to impose on themselves that congruence between deeds and words, between behavior and professed beliefs and values, that we call "personal integrity."

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