A trip to Shenandoah National Park in Virginia last week found me offline and unplugged for a period of time. Reading material was scarce, but I was able to secure a daily copy of USA Today by befriending the helpful staffer at the lodge front desk.
One article in McPaper caught my eye: a report about the background of former Enron “executive” Lynn Brewer. Ms. Brewer wrote a book, “Confessions of an Enron Executive: A Whistleblower’s Story,” which launched a career as a business speaker and advisor.
But according to the newspaper, Ms. Brewer’s executive status may not be as it seems; quoting two of her former supervisors, Mary Solmonson and David Gossett:
But her boss, Solmonson, says Brewer had no control over budget or salaries and that she herself, as a senior director, would not be considered an executive. Further, Brewer’s work had nothing to do with management. “What my group did was very much a clerical function,” says Solmonson, “an important clerical function, but it was clerical.”
Gossett, Brewer’s boss during her last months at the company, scoffs at the notion that she was an executive. He was a director at Enron, he says, and that didn’t qualify him as an executive. “There was no way she was an executive, not even with a little ‘e,’ ” he adds. “If she was an executive, she was in charge of nothing.”
The article also describes the circumstances of Ms. Brewer’s departure and weighs her claims of whistleblower status.
Senior corporate executives serious about compliance learn that people sometimes hear what you say, but they really watch what you do. They also learn that leadership is called for when dealing with two key management issues: responsibility and credit.
Responsibility is something you take.
Credit is something you give.