Interesting piece today in the New York Times opinion sections. Greg Smith has pulled chocks from Goldman Sachs after twelve years. He has decided the firm's culture has lost its way. He calls it toxic and destructive. His article reminds me of things I read and learned while working on my master's thesis.
He says the culture has lost its integrity, and leadership role models peddling nonsense to its clients in order to make a profit at their expense. He projects that this role modeling will take the firm down a worse road in ten years, and he doesn't want to be a part of it anymore. He says a few individuals in leadership lost the culture on their watch.
How did we get here? 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.I agree with Greg, an organization cannot survive if it loses sight of the interests of its clients, and replaces that interest with self interest and careerist ambition. If leadership loses its integrity and has no concern for doing what is right (accountability), and thinks ideas and principles are quaint "beliefs" that get in the way of the immediate goal, then a culture will become short sighted, and populated with inferiors who will ruin an organization like a swarm of locusts eating the hard work of superiors before them.
There is a lesson to be learned here for all organizations, including those of us in the service.