Thursday, March 17, 2005

Duh Doesn't Work Anymore

Each time we learn about a new CEO being named to whatever corporation, what are the kinds of words used to describe the new head honcho? Words such as brilliant, a strong innovator, a visionary, and a hands-on leader usually are employed. So why is it that, each time one of these strong leaders is caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar and hauled into court, their primary defense amounts to "Duh, I had no idea what was going on"?

As pointed out by Greg Farrell and Del Jones in USA Today, this defense is not very tenable. What they are basically saying is that they weren't doing their jobs! What a glorious defense strategy that is!! "Yes, I've been making money hand over fist, but I don't have the foggiest notion what's really going on in my company."

Of course, I shouldn't be so hard on the Bernie Ebbers of the world. I mean, let's get real. What else can they say? Any CEO would be a fool to say something like, "Sure, I knew it was illegal, but I thought I was above the law." or "Hey, it was worth it. I may lose everything now, but it was gravy for a good long time".

We all know that neither of those kinds of explanations would sit well with the general populace. Therefore, the only rational strategy is the "I Don't Know Shit from Shinola" defense.


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