Friday, July 11, 2008

Business Performance with Integrity

WSJ law blog has a great interview today with Ben Heineman (former long-time GE general counsel), summarizing some of the key points in Heineman's new book, "High Performance with High Integrity." Lots of good points about the role of the GC, particularly the need to be neither a naysayer or a yesman.

I've pointed out before the tendency of some corporate leaders to create a culture where dissent or bad news is punished, and how much that hurts the organization. As Heineman notes, the GC has to have "the credibility, independence and guts to speak up, even in the heat of battle, about integrity issues." Too true. But organizations also need to foster cultures where such independence is encouraged (or at a minimum, tolerated) amongst as many levels of management as possible.