Practical analysis for investment professionals
01 May 2012

Leadership Roundup: Walmart and Sarkozy under Pressure

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard about the alleged Walmart bribery scandal that revolves around the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA). While the details are still forthcoming, the New York Times investigation asserts that Walmart’s leaders decided to ignore their internal lead investigator’s recommendation to expand the investigation, choosing instead to shut it down and not disclose it to American or Mexican law enforcement officials. Fortune asserts that while no top executive of a major U.S. company has ever been charged in connection with FCPA, “Walmart’s CEO Michael Duke could be the first,” reporting that, in addition to an SEC investigation, the Department of Justice may also be in process of conducting a criminal probe into the matter. While FCPA makes foreign bribery punishable in the United States, there was a loophole until the passage of Sarbanes Oxley in 2002 whereby neither companies nor their officials were required to report misdeeds, even after they became aware of them. This certainly seems like yet another example of lack of transparency and leadership courage at the core of a multinational company.

Looking to Europe, Nicolas Sarkozy is “battling for his political survival, having become the first incumbent French president to trail in second place after the first round of voting.” We recently asked our Financial NewsBrief readership which French candidate they view as better for restoring economic and budgetary health. The response? In contrast to the voting French public, over three-fourths of readers were in favor of Sarkozy. In a Foreign Policy article, James Poulos posits five reasons Europe may rue the loss of the current French president. Regardless of the outcome, the election raises an important question: What will the growing political divide in France mean not only for France but for Europe and beyond? No doubt many European policymakers will be pondering this question heading into France’s second-round vote on Sunday.

Here are some other must-reads on leadership and communication skills that you may have missed in April:

  • Jacque Vilet’s TLNT article “Lost Knowledge — What Are You and Your Organization Doing About It?” surfaces the real costs U.S. companies are going to face with the coming onslaught of retiring baby boomers. Adding younger workers at less cost and throwing more staff at problems won’t solve the underlying reality that older, experienced workers have deep knowledge that will be forever lost if mentorship and knowledge transfer isn’t planned for or doesn’t occur.
  • Most of us realize that personal relationships are key to getting things done in the workplace. But what if you aren’t a “people person” with exceptional networking skills? Scott Dinsmore’s Forbes article “The 7 Pillars of Connecting with Absolutely Anyone” offers insights and practical advice to help you learn how to build an instant rapport with almost anyone you meet.
  • As a follow-up to an item in last month’s Leadership Roundup post, Brian Evje’s latest Inc. article delves into three common pitfalls of charismatic leadership and how to avoid these in honing your own personal leadership style.
  • In a Harvard Business Review blog post, David Williams and Mary Scott delve into the pros and cons of the “two-in-a-box” leadership concept that’s gained interest in the past few years. Learn from their experience putting this leadership style into practice to decide for yourself whether it’s worth considering for your organization.
  • Why might your “high potential” program not be working to retain key talent in your organization? Ron Ashkenas gets to the heart of the matter with two potential reasons in this Harvard Business Review blog post. Not surprisingly, it comes down to managers. While senior management may express buy-in and HR executives may do a great job providing a framework, frontline managers must have a strong comfort level with engaging their employees in developmental dialogue for these programs to be truly successful.
  • Want to move from being an average manager to an extraordinary manager? Read Geoffrey James’ Inc. article, based on his conversations with some of the most successful CEOs in the world, to learn eight core beliefs and practices that can set you apart from the pack.

Fore more news and trends, visit the Leadership, Management, and Communication Skills Community of Practice.

About the Author(s)
Heather Packard

Heather Packard is the director of product development at CFA Institute and serves as the subject matter expert in leadership, management, and communication skills (LMCS). Previously, she was the managing partner at Trilogy Corporation of Virginia, where she was responsible for developing and cultivating a regional territory for telecommunications and network integration sales. Packard also served as the coordinator of collections for the Science and Engineering Libraries at the University of Virginia. She holds an BA in English and Spanish Literature from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and an MA in Spanish Literature from the University of Virginia. Topical Expertise: Leadership, Management, and Communication Skills

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