Friday, December 01, 2006

People's Wonder

A young CEO is starting his first day on the job. He marches proudly into his room and finds his predecessor packing his things. As an enthusiastic learner the new recruit asks if the older more experienced CEO can give any pointers to start the company running on a solid base.

The older, CEO looked at the new recruit tiredly and wearily. “I’m not giving you any tips now, but you will get three numbered envelopes. When you feel you are under pressure open one and you will get proper instructions.”

The first year went how it went and the new CEO started to feel under pressure. The company wasn’t producing as expected and the board of directors wanted an explanation.
The CEO opens up the first envelope. The advice was: Blame your predecessor.

And the CEO did as instructed. The board was ecstatic and encouraged the new CEO to take radical actions. As a result two hundred employees were laid off and the stocks took off.

This only lasted for a while though. Soon the CEO found himself with another envelope in his hand. Initiate organisational restructure, was the advice. Soon full blown chaos took over the whole office. No one did what they were supposed to, but work did seem like work.

Another year on the young CEO looked twenty years his age. The board wanted more effective actions as the investors ideas and profitability was not up to scratch. So he opens the third and final envelope. It read: Prepare three envelopes for your successor and pack your things.
International companies’ CEOs lifespan is on average 2.7 years. Is it a surprise that the business world lives like it is the last day on earth. Shit happens, as they say.

The latest example is the ever struggling gas and electricity industry. British Gas lost a bundle of money and customers as it hiked up its prices in the early part of the year. The rationale was that the company would lower its prices in the future and the price hike was only a temporary solution. But what happened? The people rose up and ditched the company, in what looked like a revolution.

Businesses do not operate or adhere to natures laws. It is a system created, controlled and corrupted by humans. If a company wishes to perform ethically it requires an ethical CEO and an ethical board of directors. And the more aware that the public are of the company’s action the healthier the company’s future will be.

Now companies across the globe are polishing its ethical armour. It is a powerful marketing tool to advocate ethics and an equal, greener world. This will unfortunately face the same ending as Communism did. Free competition in an industry luckily means that the public has freedom of choice.


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