2008-10-22 15:10:55 by Dan English
In a world of corporate scandals and financial meltdowns, the
is currently being called into question more than ever in the history of US industry. Traits once thought to be the keystones of proper businessconduct have been sacrificed at the altar of corporate greed.So, where have we strayed and for what reasons?
Starting with those now seemingly forgotten character basics, today’s leadershave mistakenly substituted their own short-term personal good for the long-term common good. The points appear to have been turned around onthemselves. It’s no longer a question of what’s right for the customer is what’sright for the company. It’s no longer an issue of a multi-year plan of patienceand steady progress. Instead, it’s become a question of what’s right for nextquarter’s shareholder report. It’s become a question of which action items and report slants return the mostlucrative corporate bonuses at year’s end.In addition to the blatant selfishness that now pervades our corporate and private elite, today’s leaders havealso confused the concepts of wealth and humanity. Executives no longer have a compassionate attitudetoward nor aptitude for recognition of the human aspect of their business. Instead, they look past the all-important ingredients of their company’s success to the incidental results of profit potential. The days of individual identity and contribution to the greater good of the company have been replaced with a cost-competitive arena for simply filling a job role.
While these short-sighted, self-serving, careless attitudes have definitely contributed to the sliding scale bywhich we measure todayís business leaders, the most disturbing trait that has arisen from the managementwastelands of the last half-century is the self-righteous sense of entitlement. Top professionals live lavishlifestyles, greedily accepting luxuries and putting themselves on display without shame or explanation.Always on the take, their economic and societal burden is then borne by constituents and co-workers in anout-of-sight, out-of-mind manner that is reckless and demeaning.
What is most amazing about the declining values and questionable characteristics of today’s 7-figureleadership is the personal indemnity expressed at the first sign of trouble. One might assume that thematerial rewards commonly lavished upon our managing bodies would at the very least buy the rest of ussome shred of accountability regarding their actions. The reality is quite the opposite however. Corporatehelmsmen invest a portion of their sizable earnings in cunning legal representation that provides them withincentives rather than investigations, rewards rather than rebuffs. Today’s crafty corporate leaders areactually walking away from legal and financial catastrophes of their own making with lucrative “goldenparachutes” and society interventions.Having considered a few of the contributing factors to our falling, failing corporate captains, we must seek tofind the deeper cause. While the behavior of America’s business leaders is not excusable by any means, itappears to be mirroring the reflection of our “me first”, glitz and glamour society.
The Monster of Materialism
As a result of our own industrial success, we have, as a country, succumbed to the fruits of our labor,transparent and temporary as they may be. What was once the simple subsistence of our daily bread hasbeen revolutionized into the finest of wealth and waste who opulence has been plastered on the front cover of glossy magazines and cabled onto high-definition 60″ flat screen televisions. Everywhere we turn, theindividual is “consumerized”, reduced to the lowest common denominator of our purchasing potential andbuying habits. In short, we have submitted ourselves to the concept that wealth is the greatest success andexistence that we might know.Considering this truth, we might then realize that business administrators have merely become a reality of