Why Shoot Straight in a Crooked World?

Leadership coach Marshall Goldsmith tackles a question many people have probably started asking themselves. "With the crazy economy, the up-and-down stock market, the layoffs, buyouts, and takeovers, I'd like to know: What's the good in being good?"

I like this question. If the lords of finance can act so recklessly and land softly, why should I bother doing the right thing? And who's going to bail me out? Goldsmith's answer, by the way, is great in that he doesn't rely on predictable pabulum, on "you'll feel better about yourself." Instead, he brings in an expert who says it's actually profitable to do the right thing.

You'll notice a theme from Harvard Business voices lately: we're searching for meaning in the current economic mess. Goldsmith used the original failure of the bailout plan as a teachable moment on finger pointing. Entrepreneurs Christopher Gergen and Gregg Vanourek turn all of our searching for past mistakes by the presidential candidates on its ear. Don't use such episodes as proof they can't lead, they note writing about the value of failure, but rather as proof they can. Most experienced investors, they note, look for entrepreneurs with failed start-ups in their past.

Without mentioning the news, Scott Berkun clearly plays off it in Panic (and What to Do About It). His first, somewhat irreverent piece of advice: "Head to happy hour with a co-worker, friend, or family and talk about what's going on"

John Quelch, meanwhile, forgoes economists' careful process for naming economic eras, and uses the R-word in an update to a post he originally published in February, How to Market in a Recession.

Finally today, Navi Radjou also plays off the bad news in the financial sector, by highlighting a wildly successful bank in India. ICICI bank is an innovation machine, Radjou says. 

In an otherwise gloomy news cycle, Radjou's story is an encouraging aside. But then again, innovative was what they called complex mortgage instruments once, too.

By Scott Berinato  |  October 6, 2008; 3:00 PM ET  | Category:  Economy Watch
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