Category Archives: business growth

Sex, Lies and Tweets. Arrogance or Ignorance?

Today’s Wall Street Journal was riddled with examples of “smart” people in high places making age-old mistakes.  And it’s the oldest stuff in the book.

Yahoo’s CEO misstated his college degree on his online biography. This would have been no big deal until Mr. Thompson decided to lie about how it got there by blaming a search firm. That is when the cover up got him fired. Does this remind anyone of the Martha Stewart lie that put her in jail?

Best Buy’s new CEO was caught having an affair with a subordinate and resigned, but the Founder and Chairman didn’t tell the ethics committee and is off the board.

Francesca’s Holdings Corp., a public company, fired their CFO because he “improperly communicated company information through social media.”   One example, Gene Morphis (@theoldcfo) tweeted on March 6th: “Dinner w/Board tonight. Used to be fun. Now one use be on guard every second.” Does this guy think he is talking to someone privately or is he unclear on appropriate behavior for a CFO?

Is this arrogance or ignorance? Do they believe they are too valuable to get fired or do they believe they won’t get caught?  Maybe it is simply lack of common sense. In the case of the CFO tweets, the comments were blatantly unprofessional.

We can spend our time wondering how this stuff still happens, or see the writing on your Facebook wall: it’s hard to get away with bad behavior if you plan to publish it on line.

Good behavior is not just required of the ordinary employee. Executives are under closer scrutiny than ever, given that companies are judged by the hiring decisions they make.  These executives put their boards in a difficult position, their brand in a bad light, and can put the company’s stock price in peril. Best Buy is already struggling to compete with Amazon and Apple, Yahoo with Google. A blaring WSJ headline is certainly not going to help.

Ethics and social media policies are not just for the lowly, and they could be intertwined with an overall media policy. If these companys have them, did they share them with the executives who made these mistakes? I’d love to know how your company handles your code of conduct. Let us know. We won’t tell. :)

Speaking of Core Values

Core ValuesLast month,  I presented to FastTRack MBA students at Babson College in the Managing Growing Business class about Weber Media Partners’  history, growth and core values. In the five years that I have presented to this class each semester, rarely does any other presenter whom I share the podium talk about their organizational values. Most talk about profit and venture funding and the mechanics of the business.  While I can’t say that values alone will make you profitable, and that having no values will cause you to fail, I can say that they matter to our company.

A few weeks ago, I attended a presentation by Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, who spoke at Bentley University for American Marketing Association, Boston Chapter as part of his Delivering Happiness book tour.  Tony attributes his company success to developing and staying true to core values.   His slides and audio of his talk (turn your volume up for this) will give you some insight into why Amazon bought Zappos for 1.2 billion dollars in 2009.

The values, relationships and passion he talked about resonated with our business values at Weber Media Partners.  They drive how you communicate with your audience, the business practices you use and your every day communications with your team.   I would love to hear from you about how your company’s core values guide your success.