Friday, July 13, 2007
What would Richard Branson do?
There comes a time in every CEO's life when s/he faces a moral dilemma, a moment when he can either man up and take an ethically challenging situation head on, or punt the issue and deflect the slime storm elsewhere, hoping it sticks, like, on the CEO's grandson or nephew or the homeless guy who spends all day in the park across the street.
When facing these crossroads, when trying to decide what would be the right thing to do, over the years I've learned to pause and ask, "What would Richard Branson do?"
Without any question, Richard Branson and I are not unlike in many ways. In fact, he and I are often mistaken for each other in airport bars, hotel lobbies and corporate washrooms. Like myself, Richard Branson is an irrepressible goateed founder, CEO and head visionary of a vertically integrated multinational conglomerate of horizontally positioned subsidiaries, divisions, chapters and whatnot. Both of our sources of wisdom, fame and wealth are somewhat elusive to the casual reader.
So, let me assure my colleagues and also the Board of Directors at Blader Industries, Inc., that were I to post anonymously on the internets, I would do so as myself, and not anonymously and certainly not using a clumsy, sophomoric anagram of Mrs. Blader's name. Unlike John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, Inc., Richard Branson and I know that great privilege, and responsibility, comes with the CEO title.