7580 Slices
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CHAPTER 20: STOCKHOLDERS AGREEMENTS

Levine, Stewart Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

This country owes everything to the
individual investor. We all share the indebtedness
.

Unknown

Directly or indirectly, we all share in owning the economy through our participation in it. Have you ever thought about the responsibility a corporate organization has to its stockholders? There are certain duties required by law. Generally the most important one is the responsibility to maximize profits. For a growing number of organizations, this responsibility is juxtaposed against some unknown, amorphous, and unarticulated level of “corporate social responsibility.” Under traditional analysis, these values have been considered adversarial (it’s one or the other—one is good, the other is bad). Greed versus humanistic values. Life versus death. Good versus evil. I do not think this responsibility is that simple, especially when the deep concerns of sustainability are added to the mix.

Corporations derive their existence from an enabling law. There has been a great deal of press about the role of corporations in an economic system. Some have said that the global corporation, with its impersonal face following the god of immediate profit, is a ticket to the unsustainable future we may be creating. They suggest that corporate charters should be renewable, and that their extension should be based on some index of social contribution rather than leaving their survival to their continued profitability, which is the current standard.6

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Medium 9781576753859

2 DIGNITY AND RECOGNITION

Fuller, Robert W. Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

ALL HUMAN BEINGS ARE BORN FREE AND EQUAL IN DIGNITY AND RIGHTS.

—UNITED NATIONS UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

WE HOLD THESE TRUTHS TO BE SELF-EVIDENT, THAT ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL, THAT THEY ARE ENDOWED BY THEIR CREATOR WITH CERTAIN INALIENABLE RIGHTS, THAT AMONG THESE ARE LIFE, LIBERTY, AND THE PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS.

—THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE

TUCKED INTO THE opening lines of the U.S. Declaration of Independence is a phrase that, despite its ambiguity, has inspired people the world over for two centuries. Many have struggled with the meaning and implications of “created equal.” Certainly, on the face of things, people are more easily seen as unequal, even at birth. In health, wealth, looks, talent, skill, and other qualities, it’s obvious that we exhibit a wide range of differences. Moreover, as adults, our differences are often a continual source of the delight we take in each other.

By asserting that “all men are created equal,” Thomas Jefferson, third president of the United States and principal author of the document, implicitly tasked the nation not only with protecting life and liberty but also with embodying fairness and justice. As historian Garry Wills argues in his book Lincoln at Gettysburg, when Lincoln invoked Jefferson’s proposition in the first line of his famous Civil War address, he was implying that not just different individuals but also different races must be accorded equal rank.1

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Medium 9781626563254

#51 Keep Ethics Strong

Manning, John Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

It seems like you can’t read the news today without coming across a story of a company being investigated for illegal or questionable business practices. These practices range from embezzlement to false claims about a service to even ignoring safety concerns about a product. Whatever the ethical sin, the stakes are high for these and many other dishonest transgressions in business. The consequences can take down the entire organization overnight and, in some cases, send a person or a whole string of people to prison. When these incidents occur, there are always victims left in the wake—everyone from employees to customers, investors, and others.

It is leadership’s responsibility to make sure good ethics are part of the foundation of the company. A good starting point is to use your clearly defined vision, mission, and values to provide direction to the organization. From my perspective, using company values as a guide to manage business is a sure bet. The company values are the moral compass for your employees and organization. They should guide ethical decision making for all employees, and yet it falls on leadership to make sure this happens.

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Medium 9781609949563

Chapter 3 Authentic Organizations: Is Yours One?

Freeman, R. Edward Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The CEO of a large, successful, high-tech, fast-growth company wanted to start a conversation about the company’s values. He had one of his executives, Linda, gather the top management team and hire a facilitator to provide some outside expertise. During the ensuing retreat, whenever the CEO raised his hand to talk, all the other hands went down. The team always deferred to the CEO and his point of view. When the CEO was out of the room, the team talked about a laundry list of issues and problems that were values related. In the CEO’s presence, however, no one would say a word about those concerns.

The CEO had no clue about the effect he had on his team. The work environment was politicized, making honest conversation impossible. Further, in his closing remarks that day, the CEO reiterated that he would not tolerate corporate politics. When the facilitator asked Linda if the CEO was open to hearing that he was having a very negative effect on the company, she replied that the result of such a conversation would inevitably lead to her being fired. This company clearly had a values problem. There was not much authenticity. Today the company no longer exists.

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Medium 9781523098033

7 Porn Star The culture of the Big Four

Gow, Ian D.; Kells, Stuart Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The day-to-day correspondence of the Medici Bank reveals men concerned with external matters such as the alum mines, the wool and silk markets and the creditworthiness of monarchs. But they were also concerned with internal matters. Were the bank’s systems strong enough to detect fraud and prevent financial disaster? Who was ready for a pay rise and a promotion? Were the young men graduating from the abacus schools up to Medici standards?

Angelo Tani, Rinieri da Ricasoli and Cosimo de Medici all understood ‘leverage’, which in partnerships means growing the business by hiring junior staff to complement and extend the capacity and capability of partners. The Medici Bank was one of the first large partnerships to grapple with the underlying equation of leverage: the incontrovertible calculus that profit per partner is equivalent to margin times hourly rate times utilisation (the extent to which staff are busy) times the number of staff per partner. Bringing on more staff was one of the few ways in which the bank could pursue higher profits.

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