Wells Fargo CEO John Stumpf has finally been shown the door but not before he did immense harm to the company that paid him well to protect its good name. What should-be been uppermost in his mind, the public’s perception of the Company he was entrusted was put on the back burner in favor of near term goals enhancing the bottom line and his and others bonuses. Two million unauthorized accounts without the customer’s knowledge revealed a management culture that lost sight of the big picture. What good was an extra statistic if you lost your good name or as Mark 8:36 admonished “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” Wells Fargo paid big bucks for they thought was a visionary leader and ended up with a shortsighted bookkeeper. The board that hired him made a disastrous mistake, but in their defense lack of vision is usually seen in retrospect. Until a challenge is unmet, one can’t judge performance. Mr Stumpf probably did mundane chores exceedingly well but he failed to see how his policies could jeopardize the company’s brand for a few pennies on the bottom line. Two million accounts and no one questioned it? Didn’t Stumpf feel the need for controls that would’ve alerted management to this mass hanky-panky? It appears there were no avenues for whistle blowers to get a hearing. Any decent Business School would point out setting the proper priorities is essential to being a good leader. Perhaps he missed this at Curtis L. Carlson School of Management at the Univ. of Minnesota. Stumpf’s successor Timothy J. Sloan will have his hands full rebuilding public trust in Wells Fargo. What was easily lost by ignoring the most important thing you possess, your reputation, must be painstakingly rebuilt with no assurance of ultimate success. At least Stumpf is gone and the process can begin.
How do we measure “More”? Or some ask what is “More”? We get these questions so let’s see if we can just simplify it. Let’s imagine entity A taking inventory as of a certain date. The total we’ll label X. We leave the components and their value in the inventory to the entity. Why not use GDP? We and others have problems with GDP and for that reason wouldn’t be so presumptuous to dictate method to any entity. After all, different entities may value things differently. Take leisure time. One entity may value it highly but another may not value it at all. All we ask is consistency. At a future date we repeat the inventory and we label it Y. Then compute Y-X=”More”(or “Less”). We hope for a positive result but that isn’t always true.
No matter how the election turns out, our political landscape will never be the same. We seem to hear that during every Presidential Election, but this time it really will be true. Clinton or Trump in the White House, the future will see major changes in party alignments and maybe even names. Let’s look at the Republicans first because win or lose the party’s traditional coalition of small government free market classical liberals, internationalists, cultural conservatives, small business and some but not all big business, simply has degenerated into a circular firing squad. Trump’s base Cultural Conservatives simply are 180 degrees from the rest of the party. While party loyalties and animus towards Hillary Clinton has provided some unity in this election, the divisions can only become more apparent and unbridgeable in the future.