A CEO Who Understands: That was then…

This piece on CNN Business caught my attention today- mostly as it relates to this post from earlier in the week.

“We in Japan learned during the bubble economy that businesses who pursue money first fail.  The business world has lost sight of this basic tenet of business ethics”

It is one thing for Peter Senge, academic, author and guru to say that companies who think about profits first are damaging themselves.  It is another for the CEO and President of a major global airline to say the same thing.  As the boss at JAL, Haruka Nishimatsu he has adjusted his own pay and perks to be reflective of the life of employees- and he did so three years ago.

At the same time, senior executives in the US are demonstrating that they do not understand the fundamental shift taking place.  Last year it was natural that a big-3 CEO would take the corporate jet to Washington.  That they would do so today (never mind the irony of why they are there) may be sloughed off as a minor infraction of thoughtlessness by some.  But a leader who cannot recognize the fundamental sea-change will march the enterprise down a dangerous road, taking shareholder’s money (and possibly taxpayer’s) along for the ride.

That was then… this is now… now is different.  When we get that, we can begin to change tomorrow.