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Hit the Ground Running: An interview with Jason Jennings
May 2009
by Debbie Hepton
Read the Q & A session with Jason Jennings in this 3 page PDF file
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Investors.com ... (presents "Follow Leaders' Integrity")
Featuring information from Jason Jennings latest book "Hit the Ground Running":
July 23, 2009

> Read article ONLINE
Investor Business
Follow Leaders' Integrity
BYLINE: Steve Watkins
LENGTH: 528 words
SECTION: Leaders & Success; IBD 10 SECRETS TO SUCCESS; Pg. A03

High achievers consistently make integrity and accountability vital parts of the way they operate. Here's how they use ethics:

" Make it a priority. Jason Jennings, author of "Hit the Ground Running," studied 10 CEOs who created the most economic value among America's 1,000 largest public firms over a seven-year period.
"The overriding thing was accountability and the ethics of an organization," said Jennings, a Tiburon, Calif.-based business speaker. "There's no question what set these CEOs apart. It's doing the right thing all the time."

" See the big picture. Marshall Larsen, CEO of Goodrich (GR), told Jennings he doesn't sleep well at night because he's responsible for millions of people. Goodrich makes airplane gear, so if a jet went down and his firm's part caused it, he would be responsible. "That's personal accountability," Jennings said.

" Stick to your guns. A superior officer in the Navy once asked Charles Larson to fake training records. He refused, and the officer backed off, Charles Garcia writes in "Leadership Lessons of the White House Fellows." Such integrity helped launched Larson toward the rank of admiral and to superintendent of the Naval Academy.

" Watch the small stuff. Larson could have fudged the numbers. Down the road, that could have led him to do the same on a bigger decision. "It's almost like a drug," Garcia said. "It's probably a gateway to something bigger."

" Watch your reflection. Companies look like their leaders. When the leader is distant and arrogant, often so is the firm. When the leader is ethical, the company is too, Jennings says. "You can tell the moment you walk in the door and meet people if a company has a lack of hidden agendas," he said.

" Be transparent. Jelly company J.M. Smucker (SJM) shows its strategy to each employee. It also makes it available to shareholders and vendors. If people are going to do their part, they must know the company's strategy, say co-CEOs Tim and Richard Smucker. Many weaker firms keep strategy a secret. "You certainly can't have accountability with a secret strategy," Jennings said.

" Take it or leave it. Jane Cahill Pfeiffer, a White House fellow in the 1960s, became chairman of NBC in the late 1970s. She quickly learned that the feds were investigating an expense account scandal there. Against internal pressure, she brought in outside auditors to get to the bottom of it. It worked, but higher-ups later fired her.
"If you're not willing to walk away from power, you have no power," said Garcia, managing director of merchant banking at Chicago's Cabrera Capital Markets, which raises money for Hispanic businesses.

" Follow the E's. Educate, create the right environment and enforce the rules, Garcia says. That worked when he headed the Honor Committee at the Air Force Academy. He got officials to stop locking dorm-room doors to prevent theft, and he stopped the practice of changing tests to avoid cheating. The honor code covers those things, he says.

" Encourage honesty. Larsen tells those around him to voice their opinion if they disagree with him. If they didn't, he told Jennings, one day they would "march off the side of the cliff like lemmings."

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