My friend and I have 45 years of military service between her career and mine. By 2005 it was clear to us that executives and many employees in the mortgage and finance sector lacked basic leadership traits and principals known to everyone in the American armed forces.
“Know your Marines and look out for their welfare” was easy for us to understand. Allow me to rephrase the sentence. Know your employees and look out for their welfare. That didn’t happen. Know your customers and look out for their welfare. That didn’t happen either.
Set the example is a clear task. Unfortunately with executive pay so disproportionate to worker pay, an attitude of “Holier than thou” and “Do as I say and not as I do” quickly overrides setting the example.
In a pay-for-performance company one finds many employees willing to sacrifice integrity, dignity, and customer satisfaction for a larger share of the profit. Justifying the results by claiming they are simply perfoming up to expected standards, these employees tie into another leadership failure: Developing a sense of responsibility among your subordinates
By 2007 we knew the economy was in trouble. Mortgage blues effected everyone by late 2009. What was violated? Perhaps it was the basic principle of “Seek responsibility and take responsibility for your actions.”
When any private or PFC with 12 weeks of military service could see the problem, it is a shame that President Bush, regulators, and others could not.