Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Can We All Learn from Enron?

Enron Revelations as Revealed by Business Finance Magazine's eNewsletter:

For anyone who has read Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind's "The Smartest Guys in the Room" (Portfolio, 2003) or watched the documentary of the same name, the headline of this Associated Press article, Witness: Enron Gained from Energy Crisis (free registration required), will illicit a "Duh." The article explains how the company gamed California's newly (and confusingly) deregulated power market in 2000 and 2001.

The book and/or the documentary ought to be required reading/viewing for finance executives, business leaders and, well, just about anyone in a management position. Since its demise, Enron has been continually held up as a symbol of (take your pick) unethical behavior, employee mistreatment, accounting fraud, the evil underbelly of "The War of Talent," and the importance of whistleblowers.

The debacle has more instructive value to offer. It may be of little consolation to the employees and shareholders who suffered from Enron's culture, but that culture serves as a highly useful "anti-case study" in which a doomed enterprise and flawed culture was systematically created through the decisions, behaviors and communications of its executives.

I couldn't add much more than what Business Finance said ... except that we as marketers have an ongoing responsibility to do the right things ... to create honest, helpful programs ... in a customer-centric world, to do less is gambling the whole brand. In a blog world, the bad news will fly fast.

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