June 4, 2003
like annual meetings to restore trust
What about the thousands of solid corporate leaders
who have not been embarrassed by scandals or even been
accused of being overly compensated. Can their annual
meetings restore trust? Please say yes! We need to find
ways to strengthen the foundations of free markets. Can
annual stockholders' meetings help?
Yes, Annual Meetings can restore trust. They can be
powerful in areas related to motivation and confidence
(trust) specifically when this type of tone is established:
Stockholders have appropriate access
to the leader or leaders.
The agenda is not so orchestrated
content gets lost.
Leaders own the problems and communicate
sensible solutions to issues.
Those in charge are
willing to listen.
Commitments are recorded and
follow-up actions are systematically reviewed and
evaluated in subsequent meetings
or until such a tone is set, confidence in corporate
leadership will not grow. Those who attend Berkshire
Hathaway’s annual shareholders' meeting, informed
and inspired by Chairman Warren E. Buffett, generally
walk away feeling that:
They have had genuine access to the
leadership of the organization.
Important issues are
addressed in writing and discussed
Problems are identified, owned and
addressed by those who are responsible, the boss or
Concerns of individuals are heard,
clearly and non-defensively.
fulfills promises, acknowledging any shortcomings
along the way.
a few words, annual meetings can restore trust when
the leaders who structure and conduct them work on
a model that operates along lines similar to those
Hathaway’s. As a mentor of mine was quick to say: “there
is no substitute for the truth.” Yes, integrity
matters. Tell the truth and demand the truth, all
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