Integrity Matters

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From Fast Company, September 2005

Integrity Matters

So say the folks who took our latest survey, by a huge margin. Too bad they find it in such short supply among today’s leaders.

How’s this for two different models of leadership: Jack Welch and Steve Jobs?

They may be about as alike as chalk and cheese, but General Electric’s magisterial manager and Apple’s mercurial mythmaker came out number one and two, respectively, when we asked the 1,665 respondents to our Fast Track Leadership Survey to name the person who most exemplifies great leadership. (We teamed up with IMD, the Switzerland-based business school, and Egon Zehnder International, the executive-recruiting firm, to conduct the survey.) The list grows even more eclectic: Rounding out the top five are Nelson Mandela, Colin Powell–and, in a three-way tie for fifth place, Mahatma Gandhi, Bill Gates, and George W. Bush.

The good news:
By an overwhelming margin–95% to 5%–our survey takers said the ethics of the CEO play a meaningful role in the way business gets done. Leadership, they said, starts at the top, and ethical leadership filters throughout the organization. Good ethics is also good business, many said: It builds brands, draws customers, and saves money in the long run. “Integrity matters a lot to respondents,” says Sean Meehan, professor of marketing and director of IMD’s MBA program. “They’re emphatic-‘This is an issue, and I’ve got something to say about it.’ “

The bad news:
When we asked folks to rate leaders in various types of organizations, most got middling to poor grades on integrity. On a scale of zero to five (with five being the best), people gave their own organizations the highest score for integrity, a healthy average of 3.87. But things go downhill from there, with leaders in small companies coming in at 3.53, large corporations at 2.81, and government at 2.20. Dead last on integrity: the media (ouch), at a dismal 1.90.

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How Organizations Create Social Value

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From HBS Working Knowledge, August 29th

By Manda Salls

“A recent study on the factors that contribute to successful high-performance social enterprises finds a connection between enterprises that link economic value with social value.

This was the focus of a study presented at the colloquium, ‘The Social Enterprise Knowledge Network: Seeking Success in Social Enterprise,’ ending August 1. This two-year study was the second carried out by SEKN since it was founded in 2001 as a research partnership between HBS and leading business schools in Latin America and Spain. SEKN’s research centered on smart practices by social and business organizations in Latin America and Spain.

This research will be published in Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies book series through Harvard University Press.

The goal of the colloquium is to help leaders in businesses and society create social value for their communities, while in parallel strengthening their organizations.

The study centered on forty organizations – twenty NGOs (non-governmental organizations) and twenty corporations – eemed to be high performers in social enterprise (SE). Through interviews, field research, and comparative analysis, HBS professor James Austin, HBS senior researcher Ezequiel A. Reficco, UNIANDES professor Roberto Gutierez, and INCAE professor Enrique Ogliastri presented what the SEKN researchers found to be smart practices for organizations wanting to create social value.

The researchers stressed the importance of synergies between Economic Value (EV) and Social Value (SV), calling them ‘two sides of the same coin. By aligning EV and SV, both nonprofits and corporations can: …”

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