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Posts Tagged ‘Enron’

Correlation Coefficients

August 27, 2012 Leave a comment

Please consider these well known, conflicting cliches:

  • “Nice guys finish last”
  • “What goes around comes around”

The first implies that in order to succeed, a ruthless, Machiavellian set of behaviors is required (Oracle? Bank Of America?). The second one-liner implies that those same behaviors will boomerang around and precipitate your downfall (Enron?, Lehmann Bros?). Do ya think there’s a strong correlation between org behaviors and financial success? Is there any correlation at all, or is it just a random crap shoot?

Please fill in the boxes below with a value ranging from -1.0 to 1.0 and place the sheet on the teacher’s desk on your way out of the classroom. The “right” answers, obtained from an impeccably executed and extensively peer-reviewed research study, will be disclosed at some random time in the future.

Will Work For….

April 3, 2012 2 comments

Perhaps disturbingly, I’ve always been curious about the factors and causes of individual and (especially) group psychopathy. Thus, this Ronald Schouten piece, “Psychopaths on Wall Street” (which is a PR pitch for his forthcoming book “Almost a Psychopath“), caught my attention. Specifically, Mr. Schouten’s “good news” paragraph triggered a sinister, internal BD00 “LOL!“.

But there is good news. First of all, it is possible to screen out “almost” and “full-blown” psychopaths during the hiring process and after. Some of the key indicators are:

Glibness and superficial charm (BD00?)
Lack of empathy (BD00?)
Consistent decisions in their self interest, even where it is ethically questionable (BD00?)
Chronic, sometimes transparent lies, even with regard to minor things (BD00?)
Lack of remorse (BD00?)
Failure to take responsibility for their actions, and instead blaming others (BD00?)
Shallow emotions (BD00?)
Ignoring responsibilities (BD00?)
Persistent focus on gratifying their own needs at the expense of others (BD00?)
Conning and manipulative behavior (BD00?)

How can one possibly confirm or disconfirm these traits during a job interview – especially since psychopaths are brilliant at masking their agendas? But wait! On second glance, the list looks like it could serve as a bona fide set of prerequisites for executive team membership at Enron and Goldman Sux type borgs, no?

 

Magical Transformation

March 11, 2012 4 comments

In this interview of Scott Berkun by Michael “Rands In Repose” Lopp, “Rands In Repose: Interview: Scott Berkun“, Scott was asked about his former stint at Microsoft as a program manager. Specifically, Rands asked Scott what his definition of “program manager” is. Here is Scott’s answer:

It’s a glorified term for a project leader or team lead, the person on every squad of developers who makes the tough decisions, pushes hard for progress, and does anything they can to help the team move forward. At its peak in the 80s and 90s, this was a respected role of smart, hard driving and dedicated leaders who knew how to make things happen. As the company grew, there became too many of them and they’re often (but not always) seen now as annoying and bureaucratic.

Americans have a love affair with small businesses. But due to the SCOLs, CGHs, BUTTs, and BMs that ran companies like Enron, Tyco, and Lehman Bros, big businesses are untrusted and often reviled by the public. That’s because, when a company grows, its leaders often “magically” morph into self-serving, obstacle-erecting, and progress-inhibiting bureaucrats; often without even knowing that the transformation is taking place. D’oh! I hate when that happens.

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