Monday, January 08, 2007

Why “A.G.E.” Makes a Difference

In my lead op-ed for BullDog Reporter last week, I predicted that greed, ambition and ignorance would inevitably give rise to corporate crises in 2007. Well, we didn’t have to wait long for the first scandal of the New Year.

Robert Nardelli’s swift termination as head of Home Depot — largely because of a board relationship that disintegrated over executive pay and an arrogant management style — brought to mind an acronym that a client once used to describe the way most companies are destroyed: “A.G.E.”

What does A.G.E. stand for? Arrogance. Greed. Ego.

Over the years — as leader of one firm and, before that, as a member of the senior management of another — I can attest to its truth. Humility trumps Arrogance … a mindset that diminishes others, stimulates hate and wastes a tremendous amount of time (because other people always need to strategize how to deal with you). Greed. Need I say more? It is the reason for the jailing of most felonious executives and the source of nearly every scandal. In a less extreme form, it causes disruption. Ego. “Check it at the door,” as they say. A healthy ego proceeds with confidence and yet faces reality. No façade.

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Nardelli, A.G.E.,


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