Near-Death Reputation Failure
The New York Times Sunday Business Section interviewed Cisco’s CEO John Chambers today. Chambers mentioned smart advice he got from former GE CEO Jack Welch on what makes a great company was genuinely true. When Chambers was facing a major business impediment, Welch told the networking CEO that the makings of a great company are “taking major setbacks and overcoming those.” Chambers thought he had already hit several roadblocks but Welch said that what he meant was not just an obstacle but a “near-death experience.” This is why leaders often say that the wasting a crisis is tragic. I have my fingers crossed that the near-death experiences we’ve seen over the past 18 months are just a sign of better things to come. As I always say, reputation can’t be left up to the roll of the dice. They need to be managed and often come from ashes.