Let’s look at two different lessons about leadership and corporate values:
In 1982, Johnson and Johnson (J&J) discovered that someone had contaminated their Tylenol Extra Strength capsules in at least half a dozen Chicago pharmacies and grocery stores. Because of their corporate values committed to public safety, J&J leadership responded immediately: warned customers to stop consuming it, halted advertising and removed all Tylenol from store shelves until they could determine the extent of the tampering.
In 2010, the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig platform exploded, and its owner, British Petroleum (BP), realized it had a leak. Company officials first reported the leak volume was low, but when the rig sunk days later and eleven workers died, investigations into BP’s practices found they took shortcuts, cut corners and ignored early warning signs. Its leadership was dishonest from the get-go, and to recover, the company had to revisit and update its corporate values.
Business values are the guiding principles that shape an organization’s culture and inform its decisions and actions. Good leadership, in turn, is essential for aligning an organization’s actions with its values and creating a positive and productive culture.
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