Volume 5, Issue 7
ã 2003 Hopkins and Company, LLC
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For some executives, career progress involves rolling along with the growth of an organization, and moving from one area of accountability to another. For other executives, a career roadmap may involve achieving results with one organization, and using that preparation as a stepping stone to leadership at another organization. Along the way, an executive becomes comfortable or uncomfortable with the other leaders in the organization, and either becomes assimilated into a corporate culture, helps change the culture, or moves to a culture that provides a better fit. Summer and vacation can provide a good time to get a little distance from your workplace, to ask and answer questions about how well you fit into your current organization, and how well you get along with other leaders in that organization. As you think about your similarities and differences, you may find yourself thinking about whether to stay with your current organization or make a change. We’ve chosen news stories in recent weeks that may help trigger your thinking about the degree to which you roll with your organization. Are you with your organization for the long haul? How long do you expect that to be? What compromises, if any, will you choose to make to achieve that outcome? If you’re not comfortable with other leaders in your organization, how soon will you leave to do something else? Do you need to pay increased attention to conflicts between your values and those of other leaders in your organization? If you can’t picture yourself in your current situation for the long haul, what are you doing to haul yourself someplace else?
Fifteen new books are
rated in this issue, beginning on page 5, including a rare four-star (Highly
Recommended) rating for a debut novel, Liars
and Saints, and a one-star review of Newt Gingrich’s novel, Gettysburg.
In keeping with this month’s theme, one of the books reviewed, Final
Accounting, describes how the author became assimilated by the Arthur
Andersen culture, even though she had to compromise her values to do so. You
can also visit our 2003 bookshelf at http://www.hopkinsandcompany.com/bookshelf.html
and see the rating table explained as well as explore links to all 2003 book
reviews. We haven’t updated the Shelf of Reproach
recently. That’s the list of books we feel guilty for not having read.
Instead, we may get some energy behind creating the Shelf of Ennui, a list of
the books we started to read, and dropped out of boredom. Watch for it.
Could you say no to a request from your boss to do something that you think is wrong? Would you, like Betty Vinson, rely on your boss’ assurance that the request was not wrong, and that he or she would accept full responsibility? Have you ever pressured an employee into doing something that you thought was right, but the employee thought was wrong? How did that change your relationship? How would you deal with that situation today? Are you vulnerable to the behavior of your boss? Does your boss make you more or less comfortable with the risks of that vulnerability?
1. Is it time to downsize my dreams?
2. A few years ago, I wanted to be a star at work. Am I better off just keeping my head down now and staying in the background?
3. I don't like my job, but I'm a slave to my paycheck. What can I do?
4. How do I lead for the long haul?
5. In a down economy, am I better off as a specialist or a generalist?
6. Is this a terrible time to leave a job you don't love?
7. How do I stay out of harm's way?
8. Business is terrible. How do I ask for a raise?
9. What's the smartest way to get fired?
10. How can I stay creative at work when my coworkers won't try anything new?
11. I've gone from being anxious about my future to being scared. How do I face my fears?
12. I still have a job -- but it's killing me. How do I do more with less?
13. How do I bounce back from setbacks?
While you’re reading that issue, be sure to note the “7 Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives” excerpted from Sydney Finkelstein’s new book, Why Smart Executives Fail. Here are the 7 habits:
1. They see themselves and their companies as dominating their environment.
2. They identify so completely with the company that there is no clear boundary between their personal interests and their corporation's interests.
3. They think they have all the answers.
4. They ruthlessly eliminate anyone who isn't 100% behind them.
5. They are consummate spokespersons, obsessed with the company image.
6. They underestimate obstacles.
7. They stubbornly rely on what worked for them in the past.
As you read about these habits, you may discover that you or your boss may be leading your organization in ways that will not produce success. If so, what will you do?
What approach do you take to making a decision to roll away from your organization? What obstacles prevent you from considering a departure? What advice do you offer to employees who are considering leaving your organization? Do any of those seven habits look familiar to you? Are they ones you practice? Do you see them practiced by other leaders in your organization?
How does your organization interact with the customers you serve? How do customers describe your company’s culture or attitude? Could something like H.O.G. help your organization succeed? What events or activities are aligned with your organization’s culture, and what would you never do? If your organization planned an event that you considered inconsistent with your view of the company’s culture, what would you do?
Here are selected updates on stories covered in prior issues of Executive Times:
Ø Not only does the “Chrysler” in DaimlerChrysler
remain silent, as last noted in the April 2002
issue of Executive
Times, it may be silenced forever, at least according to Barrons
(June 16) (http://online.wsj.com/barrons/article/0,,SB105555321516582700,00.html).
CEO Jurgen Schrempp’s vision for synergy hasn’t been achieved, and a
projected profit of $2 billion for 2003 has been revised to breakeven.
“’Schrempp has to be wondering why on earth he did what he did in buying
Chrysler,’ says Maryann Keller, a former auto analyst and now a
consultant to the industry. ‘This is a merger that just didn't work and,
quite frankly, didn't ever have much chance of working. Mercedes and Chrysler
are just too different for big synergies ever to be achieved. Till now,
Schrempp has been the Teflon chairman, but his days have to be numbered. And
then,’ she asks, ‘what happens after that? How do the Germans get out of this
mess? Certainly, the cost of making Chrysler a viable enough entity to be
spun off on its own in this terrible market would be prohibitively
expensive.’” Stay tuned.
Ø Former American Airlines CEO Don Carty
was used an example for readers in various issues of Executive Times,
including: the issues of April 1999,
1999, March 2000,
2003. So long-time readers will want to join us in noting from The
Wall Street Journal (June 16) (http://online.wsj.com/article/0,,SB105572189044577700,00.html)
that the American Airlines board gave no severance to the former CEO.
Ø The spread of variable pricing continues, as predicted since the December 1999 issue of Executive Times. In case you missed it, baseball ticket prices now vary based on which teams are playing, and expected demand for tickets, as reported in The New York Times (June 8) (http://www.nytimes.com/2003/06/08/business/yourmoney/08BALL.html). Do the fans get what they pay for? Not those who paid to see Sammy Sosa, who sat on the bench for recent games, suspended for using an illegal bat. No refunds.
A Man in Full
At the recent annual shareholder meeting, Ford announced that Reichardt, age 71, will retire sometime in the next year. By then, Reichardt’s work in restructuring should be done, and he will leave the management of another company much better off for his hard work and competent management. Ford hasn’t heard the last from Reichardt. He’ll remain on the Board, chairing the finance committee. Reichardt’s contributions are a reminder that age limits may prevent organizations from tapping into the skills and talents of seasoned experts.
Latest Books Read and Reviewed:
(Note: readers of the web version of Executive Times can click on the book covers to order copies directly from amazon.com. When you order through these links, Hopkins & Company receives a small payment from amazon.com. Click on the title to read the review or visit our 2003 bookshelf at http://www.hopkinsandcompany.com/bookshelf.html).
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