Magazine

Table: Everyone Loved Enron


Here's what some management gurus said about Enron's rise, and what they think now

JAMES J. O'TOOLE, Professor, Univ. of Southern Calif.

Before:

"Leadership is not a solo act...it is a shared responsibility, a chorus of diverse and complimentary voices. To an unusual degree, [Enron] is chock-full o' leaders"

After:

"Egg all over the face is an understatement. As embarrassing as it is, we basically took the word of Lay and his people. Was there a way to spot that the emperor was wearing no clothes? I don't think so."

CHRISTOPHER A. BARTLETT, Professor, Harvard Business School

Before:

"Skilling and Lay created `a hotbed of entrepreneurial activity and an engine of growth."'

After:

"There are absolutely some strong, helpful lessons to learn by what they did right. Unfortunately, all those are trumped by the mistakes they made."

GARY HAMEL, Chairman of consultant Strategos

Before:

"Enron isn't in the business of eking the last penny out of a dying business but of continuously creating radical new business concepts with huge upside."

After:

"Do I feel like an idiot? No. If I misread the company in some way, I was one of a hell of a lot of people who did that."

SAMUEL E. BODILY, Professor, University of Virginia

Before:

"Skilling and others have led a transformation in Enron that is as significant as any in business today. This is brand new thinking, and there are broad implications for other companies."

After:

"History can't be very kind to it. It's sad: The innovation and ideas and what was good about what they did may be lost in the demise of the company."


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