Monday, April 30, 2012

Corporate Chutzpa

Is this one  of those major ironies in life, or was it just corporate chutzpa?  While I was working for Siemens, a corporate missive came down the pike.  It started off as follows, “Respect, Integrity, Communication, and Excellence.”  And stressed how important it was to live up to these ideals.  Then it was mentioned that these were in Enron’s mission statement.   Remember Enron?  They went bankrupt after treating the customers like stupid clowns, made deals that were impossible to keep, lied about it, and then failed.  The Siemen's missive ran on stressing on how important it was to live up to your ideals.  Then the missive unveiled the new Siemens mission statement.  Part of which read:
Values: Highest performance with the highest ethics
Responsible: Committed to ethical and responsible actions
Excellent: Achieving high performance and excellent results
Innovative: Being innovative to create sustainable value

My thought immediately ran to the worst scenario, “What the hell is going wrong with Siemens?”
Within a year the news was breaking in Europe, that Siemens had been regularly bribing foreign governments to obtain lucrative contracts.  It was a major scandal in Europe, eventually costing them over a billion euros, but barely a ripple of attention here.
When someone is loudly saying “trust me”, that is when you have to be most on your guard.