Greg Smith’s public departure from Goldman Sachs after a dozen years is one of the hottest pages of the New York Times today and while I tend to ignore the personnel matters of Wall Street (oh, another tycoon getting/losing/complaining about a bonus that’s more than the value of my house), reading his statement startled me. So many of his concerns about the organization’s culture are shared by me and many of my colleagues in the museum and historic preservation fields:
1. The overriding pursuit of money that’s out of balance with mission or ethics. Smith describes a staff meeting at Goldman Sachs:
Today, many of these leaders display a Goldman Sachs culture quotient of exactly zero percent. I attend derivatives sales meetings where not one single minute is spent asking questions about how we can help clients. It’s purely about how we can make the most possible money off of them. If you were an alien from Mars and sat in on one of these meetings, you would believe that a client’s success or progress was not part of the thought process at all.
Gosh, if this bothers someone at a financial investment firm, shouldn’t the lack of discussion about fulfilling mission and vision really bother the board and staff at a non-profit organization? And yet most meetings Continue reading