Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Goldman Sachs CEO Taking a Leadership Cue from Top Small Workplaces?

Goldman Sachs CEO Taking a Leadership Cue from Top Small Workplaces?
Posted Wednesday, September 16, 2009 by Mark Harbeke

Is it just me or does Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, sound of late like the leader of a Top Small Workplace?

SmartBrief today referenced a recent New York Times interview with Blankfein, whose current leadership stance they summarize as follows:

It's not enough for employees to show up on time and do their jobs well... Workers need to have broad views of their responsibilities, so that everyone is watching out for everyone else. Creating that kind of environment starts with the leader, he notes, because workers are more likely to accept responsibility for each other when their boss has empowered them to take risks.
Broad views of responsibilities, taking risks – loyal readers of this blog have heard these steps for greater workforce effectiveness before from our Top Small Workplaces.

Mostly privately held, these honored small firms value long-term brand integrity before the shorter-term goals of publicly held firms, such as steady returns for their shareholders. Which makes Blankfein's assessment last week that Wall Street bonuses are out of control all the more interesting.

Yesterday Daily Finance charted Goldman Sachs' "amazing rebound" after the financial system nearly ground to a halt a year ago. James Cullen wrote that while the company initially looked like it had the most to lose from the panic, it restored itself through two building blocks common among Winning Workplaces:

Trust, Respect & Fairness for the customer: Like (on a much smaller scale) Paducah Bank and Phelps County Bank, Goldman Sachs avoided many of the bad mortgage assets that its competitors embraced.

Open Communication: Cullen says that while mum was the word from other investment firm management teams last September – other than to say that all was well on a ship that was clearly sinking – Goldman Sachs had the fortitude to reach out to investor Warren Buffett and give him "attractive terms" on his preferred stock investment.