Executive Matters

May 2002

"The supreme quality for a leader is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army or in an office."

- Dwight D. Eisenhower

This month AMA Executive Matters focuses on those core values taught to you by your mother and your best elementary school teacher. It turns out that honesty, fairness and a concern for others really are critical to success — in business and in every aspect of our lives.

In This Issue

Success with Honor — A Guide to Business Ethics

How to Avoid "Enronism" — Highlights from AMA's Current Issues Briefing

What Kind of Leader Are You? (Self-Assessment)

Now It's Your Turn. Take the AMA Online Corporate Values Survey

How to Find and Treat a Business' "Early Warning Signs" of Trouble

E-Commerce Alert: Protecting Your Customers' Privacy

Protect Your Company's Computer Network from Insider Attack

Finding Qualified Board Members is More Challenging than Ever

Summertime and the Living is Easy. Or is it? The AMA Vacation Plans Survey will find out

Heads Up on Two Upcoming AMA Conferences

Two Ways to Save Big $ on AMA Seminars

 

red dotSUCCESS WITH HONOR — A GUIDE TO BUSINESS ETHICS
Recent headlines notwithstanding, it is possible for business leaders to guide their companies to the heights of success without sacrificing the virtues that most of us value.

In fact, according to business consultant Robert C. Solomon, sound ethics is a necessary precondition of any successful, long-term business enterprise. He maintains that money, while not a bad thing, isn't the only thing. Self-respect, cooperation and a sense of community are equally important.

In Solomon's words, "A good corporation is one that is not only profitable but that provides a morally rewarding environment in which good people can develop not only their skills but also their values." Although the most common view is that "leadership is power," Solomon makes the case that "Instead of power over others, leadership is about power with others, or 'empowerment.'"

red dotHOW TO AVOID "ENRONISM" - HIGHLIGHTS FROM AMA'S CURRENT ISSUES BRIEFING
The first program in AMA's new series of Current Issues Briefings took place at the AMA New York Executive Conference Center on April 18, 2002. Entitled "Warning: Your Organization Could Grow Up to Be Like Enron," the program was presented by James R. Lucas, president and CEO of Luman Consultants International, and an AMA author and seminar leader.

According to Lucas, "Avoiding Enronism is remembering that organizational life is not 'either/or' — either results or ethics — but a 'both/and' — results and ethics. Being strong and being ethical are only opposites to small and petty minds."

To Avoid Enronism:

  • Make truth the priority
  • Ask the right questions
  • Replace empowerment with powersharing
  • Focus on the right kind of control
  • Penalize destruction
  • Ensure that the board of directors adds value rather than illusion
  • Make a declaration of independence
  • Don't trust stories that "hype" companies

Lucas based his presentation on his article "How to Avoid Enronism" in the Spring 2002 issue of MWorld, the new quarterly journal of the American Management Association. MWorld is available free to Executive Members and to others at $25.00 per issue, plus shipping and handling. To view the Fall 2002 schedule of AMA's Current Issues Breakfast Briefings, go to http://www.amanet.org/events/index.htm

red dotWHAT KIND OF LEADER ARE YOU? (Self-Assessment)
When a crisis occurs, what do you think about first — its impact on the people who work for you, its impact on your long-term goals, whose input you need to address the crisis, or how to solve it as fast as possible? Your answer to this question and nine others in this insightful self-assessment will help you define your personal leadership style.

Find out if your predominant style is "Inspirational," "Visionary," "Collaborative" or "Take-Charge" and how to apply your style most effectively in the workplace.

Here's a thumbnail sketch of the 4 leadership styles:

Inspirational:
Motivating and energizing others to fulfill their own potential while contributing to organizational goals

Visionary:
Focusing on the future, seeing the organization for all it can be and working toward that goal

Collaborative:
Encouraging teamwork, getting input from others, promoting group problem solving and decision-making

Take-Charge:
Directing or delegating decisively; taking bold steps to exploit opportunities and solve problems efficiently and effectively

red dotTAKE THE AMA ONLINE CORPORATE VALUES SURVEY NOW!
How central are corporate values to your organization? Are they broadly disseminated? Widely followed?

red dotHOW TO FIND AND TREAT A BUSINESS' "EARLY WARNING SIGNS" OF TROUBLE
In the same way we scan our bodies for disease before the symptoms become manifest, businesses must screen themselves for early warning signals of impending problems. The key to good corporate health lies in spotting the signals before the damage is done, and then aligning strategies to respond to them.

Here are five early warning signals to look for:

  1. The business's growth is out of sync with industry growth.
  2. You learn about your competitors' plans only after they've occurred. 
  3. There is a high cancellation rate by new customers.
  4. A decrease occurs in the percentage of high-level sales prospects. 
  5. The timeframe needed to close deals increases. 

red dotE-COMMERCE ALERT: PROTECTING YOUR CUSTOMERS' PRIVACY
Attention E-Tailers! What are you doing to protect your customers from credit card fraud, identity theft and "spam?" If you want to keep your customers, you'll have to prove to them that their private information will remain private. In our exclusive interview with Mark S. Merkow, co-author of "How to Protect Your Customers' Internet Privacy," he states that the current Internet privacy situation has created potentially insurmountable problems that threaten to doom the promises of e-commerce: "If left unchecked, the rise in identity theft because of stolen credentials via the Internet or abuses of personal information will cause people to find safer ways to shop." Every e-tailer needs to craft a viable privacy policy that incorporates four central themes: Notice, Access, Choice and Security

red dotPROTECT YOUR COMPANY'S COMPUTER NETWORK FROM INSIDER ATTACK
In the hands of a disgruntled employee, a keyboard can become a lethal weapon, capable of destroying, or at least sabotaging, your company's computer network. Although most organizations take steps to secure their networks — physical security, firewalls, anti-virus software, encrypted files, encrypted login and passwords — additional precautions should be adopted. According to Patrice Rapalus, director of Computer Security Institute, management should provide security awareness training to all employees, letting them know that they're on the front line. Information security responsibilities should be added to job descriptions and factored into performance reviews.

red dotFINDING QUALIFIED BOARD MEMBERS IS MORE CHALLENGING THAN EVER
Problems Besetting Board Member Search Committees:

  • Many of today's CEOs are already over-committed, and may hesitate to take on any additional responsibilities.
  • 60% of prospective board members turn down positions (73% citing lack of time as the reason)
  • Public company board positions demand 100-150 hours per year
  • In the wake of so many recent business casualties, before taking a board seat, a CEO will be extra cautious about what's on a company's balance sheet
  • The Blue Ribbon Panel guidelines recommend no more than 2 public board positions for sitting CEOs

Christian & Timbers, a global search firm, suggests the following for companies about to embark on a board or CEO search:

  • Know what you have to do to attract the best candidates and be ready to act on it
  • Outline and deal with company "skeletons" head-on
  • Understand the problems your company needs to resolve and be able to clearly articulate them
  • Build awareness and gain buy-in from your board
  • Outline a clear plan
  • Tell all

red dotTHREE WEEKS IN TAHITI OR A WEEKEND AT THE LAKE. IT'S VACATION SURVEY TIME
Take a minute to complete AMA's online Summer Vacation Survey. (It may even inspire you to plan that big family trip.)

Results in the June "Executive Matters."

red dotHEADS UP ON TWO UPCOMING AMA CONFERENCES:

CORPORATE BRANDING 2002
When: November 13-14, 2002
Where: Marriott O'Hare Hotel, Chicago
Theme: "The Intersection of Brand and Business Strategy"
Executive Members Save $200!

10TH ANNUAL ADMINISTRATIVE PROFESSIONALS CONFERENCE
When: October 28-30, 2002
Where: Caesars Palace, Las Vegas
Highlights: Trail-blazer Erin Brockovich, motivational speaker Dr. Traci Lynn, trainer Keith Harrell, change expert Sheila Murray Bethel plus five learning tracks and much more.
Executive Members Save $200! An additional $100 Early Bird Discount is available until August 1st.

red dotTWO WAYS TO SAVE BIG $ ON AMA SEMINARS:
*Members Only: Save up to 50% off the current member price when you register for select AMA seminars. Space is limited, so act now.

*Register for any AMA seminar held between now and June 30, 2002 and bring a colleague or friend for 30% off the applicable member or non-member price.

Call 1-800-262-9699 for details.

AMA members can save 25% on the Global KM eXchange 2002 Conference and Exhibition in New York City June 25-27.
It is the first event to look forward to the next generation of knowledge management, placing the discipline in a context in which success is measured by real, practical business gains.

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EXECUTIVE MATTERS is a monthly newsletter created exclusively for Executive Members of the American Management Association, 1601 Broadway, New York, New York 10019. Editor: Florence Stone

Copyright 2002: American Management Association. Material in this issue may be quoted free of charge provided the following reference is given: 'Source: American Management Association,' http://www.amanet.org, 800-262-9699.

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