Happy Friday! At least we have an auto bailout -- some reassurance to end another rough week.
As I've monitored the page views on Postcards (way up this week!), I've noticed a pattern: lots of interest in good news and lessons in leadership -- maybe because this is so hard to come by these days. Thursday's post on Execution dispensed management advice from successful CEOs like IBM's (IBM) Sam Palmisano and Verizon's (VZ) Ivan Seidenberg. Another that struck a chord: Tuesday's post about the second coming of JetBlue (JBLU) founder David Neeleman -- or make that the fourth coming, given that his new airline, Azul, in Brazil is his fourth startup. Not bad for a guy who got bounced at both JetBlue and Southwest (LUV).
Monday's post, Jamie Dimon: No bonuses for you!, drew more traffic than any other since we launched Postcards in June, except one. That most popular post happened to be The Great Depression, as I remember, which sounds like a downer but isn't. It's a charming and inspiring reminiscence by my 91-year-old Uncle Walt Stoiber in Ohio.
As for the Dimon post, it drew loads of comments -- some negative ("Dimon should stop sending jobs offshore," wrote Giuseppe Ciaccia, a laid-off employee in New York) but generally positive, like this one from a reader called "working hard" from Newark, Delaware: "Jamie and his team...deserve to be rewarded, but that can come at a later time." The post also drew speculation about the identity of two former Citigroup (C) execs who followed Dimon to Bank One in 2000 and refused bonuses when that company was in trouble. Among the guesses: Heidi Miller, Bill Campbell, Charlie Scharf , Mike Cavanaugh, Jim Boshart, Steve Black, Frank Bisignano. All those execs followed Dimon to JPMorgan Chase (JPM), where he's now CEO. My good sources tell me that, actually, the two execs were Charlie Scharf and Jim Boshart. While Boshart retired from JPMorgan Chase in 2004, Scharf is a prime player, as head of retail banking. He, by the way, was Dimon's assistant straight out of college in 1987, when Dimon and Weill were running Commercial Credit, pre-Citi.
In this era of Bernie Madoff and greed galore, it's good to hear about people who put a company's interest above their own. As Dimon said at the Yale CEO Summit last week, "Business is more Shakespearean than MBA." That's right, in business as in life, the bad guys get their comeuppance. The good suffer, but usually they win in the end. Keep the faith!
I'll say it again: Execution! It's always been the No. 1 reason why CEOs fail, as my colleague Geoff Colvin and management guru Ram Charan have preached over the past decade. But particularly right now, as growth is so hard to come by and countless bosses are blowing it, there's a rising appreciation of this most critical thing.
At least among the really smart bosses. I noticed it at last week's MOREPatricia Sellers - Dec 18, 2008 2:02 PM ET
That whopping reduction that Citigroup (C) announced Monday -- 50,000 jobs, representing 20% of its work force -- turns out to be the biggest cut by a corporation in 15 years. So say the job-trackers at Challenger Gray & Christmas. The largest reduction before Citi's: IBM (IBM), which set out to eliminate 60,000 jobs in 1993.
Vikram Pandit's shrinking of Citi -- part of "one of the greatest transformations in history," MOREPatricia Sellers - Nov 17, 2008 6:27 PM ET
"When it comes to specific advice, the best was from a former boss, who told me, "Don't view your career as a linear progression." He advised me to take horizontal rather than vertical steps: to try out situations that are unstructured; to learn different ways of working; and to get outside of headquarters and really experience different cultures."
-- IBM (IBM) Chairman and CEO Sam Palmisano shared this with Fortune as MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Jul 10, 2008 12:04 PM ET
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