Just when I thought that we had lost all honesty or accountability in leadership, both qualities show up in the last month: Two corporate types ‘fessing up and telling it like it is.
Example #1: Andrew Mason was CEO of Groupon until he was recently fired. Two of my favorite bloggers, Bill Geist and Harvey Briggs, have referred to his final communique to employees as the “best farewell letter ever.” Here’s the link to it as provided by Harvey by way of Bill.
Among other things, Mr. Mason says to his former staff: “You are doing amazing things at Groupon, and you deserve the outside world to give you a second chance. I’m getting in the way of that. A fresh CEO earns you that chance.”
And remember, kids, this wasn’t a resignation; he was fired.
Example #2: Microsoft founder Bill Gates was interviewed on CBS and later reported by The Guardian and Business Insider. Asked about Microsoft’s repeated follies with mobile phones, Mr. Gates responded in part: “We didn’t miss cellphones, but the way that we went about it didn’t allow us to get the leadership.” That strategy, he said, was “clearly a mistake.”
I’m pretty sure that I’ve never heard a Microsoft authority refer to any part of their strategy as being a mistake. But here’s one of the guys who started the place owning up to the technology industry being full of failings as well as successes. An obvious truth, perhaps, but when was the last time you heard anyone say that?
Kudos to both of these gentlemen who could easily have spun their remarks to portray themselves more positively but chose instead to be straight; to tell the truth.
Dare we hope to start a bandwagon of accountability?
How about you? Any examples to report?