From Today’s News – Why I Am Leaving Goldman Sachs

English: Goldman Sachs "GS Sustainability...
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While I work on other posts, the daily news gets in the way.

It made national news today when an executive, Greg Smith, from Goldman Sachs not just quit his job, he wrote an Op-Ed in the New York Times about it.  BTW, I just added writing an Op-Ed for the New York Times to my bucket list.

Like so many people I read it and thought it was certainly well written and even credible.  I am sure that Goldman Sachs got many calls today that started with “Do you call my a Muppet?”  You need to read the story (link above) to get the reference.  I did not think to blog about this story until I well … read the story.

In his piece Greg Smith says, “The firm changed the way it thought about leadership. Leadership used to be about ideas, setting an example and doing the right thing. Today, if you make enough money for the firm (and are not currently an ax murderer) you will be promoted into a position of influence.”

As a leader we each need to understand the role of a defined and vibrant culture in any enterprise we are part of and have a leadership role.  Greg Smith addresses the culture at Goldman Sachs, “It might sound surprising to a skeptical public, but culture was always a vital part of Goldman Sachs’s success. It revolved around teamwork, integrity, a spirit of humility, and always doing right by our clients. The culture was the secret sauce that made this place great and allowed us to earn our clients’ trust for 143 years.”  When that culture eroded, in Mr. Smith’s view, the company started down the wrong path.

As a leader we must hold to our integrity.  We need to know what we stand for and what we do not.  Greg Smith clearly knows the difference for himself.  I find it powerful when he states in the article, “I knew it was time to leave when I realized I could no longer look students in the eye and tell them what a great place this was to work.”

A leader focused on  teamwork, integrity, and a spirit of humility – thank you Greg Smith to holding yourself accountable as a leader and pointing us into the right direction.

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