Volume 8, Issue 9
2006 Hopkins and Company, LLC
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There were too many examples of impulsive behavior and its consequences in recent weeks for us not to pay close attention. The brand value of two actors diminished rapidly; another politician learned that the camera is always running, and the microphone captures every word; a civil rights icon disparages others; and a senior executive of a major company quit abruptly when he didn’t get a timeline for his accession to CEO. As you read the stories we’ve selected, and think about the actions that others have taken, reflect on the way you control your own impulses in the workplace. Think about how your behavior and character would be assessed if cameras and microphones followed you 24-7.
Fifteen new books are rated in this issue, beginning on page 5. Two books are highly recommended with four-star ratings; seven books are recommended with three-star ratings; and six books received two-star ratings. Visit our 2006 bookshelf at http://www.hopkinsandcompany.com/2006books.html and see the rating table explained as well as explore links to all 428 books read or those being considered this year, including 43 that were added to the list in August. If there’s something missing from the bookshelf that you think we should be considering or if there’s a book lingering on the Shelf of Possibility that you think we should read and review sooner rather than later, let us know by sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. As an added benefit to Executive Times readers, we’ve put all the books we’ve ever listed on one web page at http://www.hopkinsandcompany.com/All Books.html.
executives would want to swap seats with Paramount
CEO Brad Grey. Following a box
office disappointment from pricey top talent Tom Cruise in Mission
Does your organization maintain a double standard for behavior based on performance? Are you willing to look the other way if faced with unbecoming behavior by one of your top producers? Does your code of conduct provide a clear description of behavior which is acceptable and unacceptable to your organization? What examples or stories help make the discussion of behavior practical and real for your employees?
several reminders in recent weeks that the red recording light is always on
for public figures, and alert executives can consider themselves as being
observed with images recorded by some constituent all the time. One of the
lessons that all executives should have learned in kindergarten or shortly
after is, “Think before you speak.” Mel
Gibson’s anti-Semitic drunken tirade following his DUI arrest a few weeks
ago led to Walt Disney Company
immediately dropping its plans for a miniseries with Gibson on the Holocaust.
A wise move. Meanwhile, Gibson and his flacks have been scrambling to
apologize, communicate, and do as much damage control as possible to maintain
the actor’s market value. Former Atlanta Mayor and Former United Nations
Ambassador Andrew Young, in his
role as head of Working Families for
Wal-Mart, was asked a question in a long interview with The Los Angeles Sentinel in mid-August
about whether or not he was concerned about Wal-Mart driving mom and pop
stores out of business. We read in The
Los Angeles Times (8/18) (http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-young18aug18,0,3308959.story?coll=la-home-headlines)
that Young blurted out in response, “Well, I think they should; they ran the
‘mom-and-pop’ stores out of my neighborhood. But you see those are the people
who have been overcharging us — selling us stale bread, and bad meat and
wilted vegetables. And they sold out and moved to
When was the last time you spoke before thinking? Was what you said captured for your permanent record? How did what you said reflect on your character, your reputation and your role within the organization you serve? How alert are you to the reality that everything you say and do is noted by someone? When are you most likely to step out of character and say something inappropriate and regretful? How can you avoid those situations?
apparent sitting on a succession chain and wondering with increasing impatience
when their day will come can empathize with the situation of
Are you frustrated by the timing of your career’s progress? Are you likely to deliver demands to your bosses? Do you think that will lead to advancement? How do you channel your impatience? For whatever bench you sit on, what will make you the player that is most desired for the next step up?
If there’s not enough to be anxious about already during job interviews, the importance of etiquette was highlighted in Joann Lublin’s Managing Your Career column in the 8/1 issue of The Wall Street Journal (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB115438788661022789.html). The receptionist is likely to note and report how you comport yourself while waiting for the interviewer. Did you arrive on time? What do you read? Do you talk on a cell phone, or do you turn off your BlackBerry? According to the Journal, at one firm, “the receptionist alerted partners if candidates using the guest bathroom failed to wash their hands. (She could hear the faucet.)” For a lunch meeting, one candidate was asked to drive the interviewer, Dean Bare, a managing partner of recruiters Stanton Chase International, to the restaurant with the ulterior motive of getting an impression of how the candidate drives. “A job seeker keen to become a partner at a management consultancy hit a vehicle during one such trip with Mr. Bare. The collision crumpled the prospect's car hood. ‘It clearly was his fault,’ the recruiter recalls. But the man blamed the other driver. His poor road etiquette bothered Mr. Bare so much that Stanton Chase didn't recommend him. He should have admitted his culpability.” Some executives prefer to interview on the golf course where they say you can learn more about a candidate’s character than anywhere else, especially any predilection for mulligans. Wherever the interview occurs, the best advice is to focus 100% attention on the interview.
When you interview others, what role does proper etiquette play in your assessment? How do you gather information about character and behavior? What opportunities do you create to observe a candidate’s likely behavior in a variety of situations?
update on a story covered in a prior issue of Executive
Ø We jumped the gun in the August 2006 issue of Executive Times when we praised Floyd Landis as a role model for performance. Now that the drug tests have come back, questions have arisen about the comeback kid and his use of performance enhancing substances. His team fired him, and his Tour de France title is likely to be revoked.
Ø With all media reporting recently on the impact of Hurricane Katrina one year later, we note that the wind versus water insurance coverage issue continues to play out in the courts, as we noted in the October 2005 issue of Executive Times. On August 15, U.S. District Judge L.T. Senter ruled that damage from wind-driven water isn't covered on standard homeowner policies. We read in the Insurance Journal (http://www.insurancejournal.com/news/southeast/2006/08/16/71472.htm) that Senter has now asked plaintiff’s attorneys for their suggestions on how to resolve hundreds of other cases in a “just, speedy and inexpensive manner.” Following their replies by late August, Senter will hold a hearing to discuss their suggestions. In the meantime, the ways in which homeowners and insurance companies try to differentiate between wind and water damage continues, with unpleasant results all around.
Ø A second verdict came in recently on former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski. We noted his criminal conviction on 22 counts in the October 2005 issue of Executive Times. We learned from all the wire services that his wife, Karen Kozlowski, of 40th birthday party fame, has filed for divorce. Since we noted in the November 2003 issue of Executive Times the link to the video of that party that was shown to jurors, we assume that custody of the party video will not be a matter of dispute.
have the courage to walk away from a customer generating 25% of corporate
revenues. Infosys Technologies Ltd. Chairman N.R. Narayana
Murthy did that in 1995 when he took a pass on the terms that GE wanted for its business, which
accounted for 8% of the firm’s profits. Under his leadership, the company
replaced that business with more profitable accounts. Murthy started Infosys with six other software engineers in 1981.
Currently, the company employs 58,000. In an interview in 2000, (http://www.india-seminar.com/2000/485/485%20interview.htm)
Murthy summarized his approach: “Leadership is about making what seems
impossible, possible; about changing the perception of what reality is. The
Murthy reached the company’s mandatory retirement age this month and retired at age 60, holding just under 6% of Infosys stock, worth over $1 billion. His confidence and courage leave the firm with a lasting legacy of being prepared to assess reality and make what changes it will take to achieve outstanding results and a transformed world.
(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 2006 bookshelf at http://www.hopkinsandcompany.com/2006books.html).
2006 Hopkins and Company, LLC. Executive
Times is published monthly by Hopkins and Company, LLC at the
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