Saturday, May 20, 2006

Starting Over

Dear ReputationWatch readers,

Thanks for visiting my blog over the past several months. It has been a pleasure sharing my thoughts on reputation with you. (If you just started, thanks too.)

I have moved to a new firm. You can find my new blog at I hope you will join me.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Google Trends

Google Trends was launched today. I thought I would try it and typed in "reputation." I am not sure what I learned from looking at the chart. The "reputation" trend is most prominent in New York followed by Chicago. Not surprising. Then I typed in Ford and General Motors. Ford had many more trend mentions (if that is what it is called) than General Motors. The most common mentions were in Detroit. Not surprising. My sense is that there is as much coverage of General Motors as Ford which makes me suspicious of what the chart reflects. I will have to go back and figure out how to make better use of the new service. Sounded like a good idea.

Also tried CEO Reputation but a chart was not possible because the volume was too low. Again surprising.

Sounded like a good idea.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Buffet's Lonely Successor

Interesting and endearing article on Warren Buffet's thoughts on what will happen when a new CEO is chosen to lead Berkshire Hathaway sometime in the future. The article appeared on MarketWatch and was written by Alistair Barr.

Apparently Buffet gives his chosen successor about "one year or so" to prove to the marketplace that Berkshire Hathaway will carry on with business as usual. Buffet forecasted that his successor would not get as many calls at first from businesses looking to sell to Berkshire Hathaway but that would only be temporary. I could not help but think of the lonely Maytag repairman who received so few repair calls due to the dependability of Maytag appliances. By the way, how does Buffet know that this loneliness will last only one year? I would give it two years at best.

As Barr quoted Buffet: "Indeed, Berkshire may emerge from succession stronger than before. Once it happens, Berkshire may even be stronger because people will then realize that the culture was institutionalized and not just tied to one person."

Ironically, Buffet was quoted in Fortune a few years ago on what makes a most admired company: "People are voting for the artist, not the painting." The sage of Omaha was making the point that leadership matters. It will be hard for any CEO to stand in Buffet's shoes but his forecasts have traditionally been right.

Only time will tell.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Healthcare Reputation

PRWeek posted some findings in its April 24th issue about healthcare CEOs' perceptions on reputation. Thanks to FischerHealth, Porter Novelli and PRSA's Health Academy for adding to the reputation research stockpile.

Interestingly, 73 percent report that negative shifts in a company's reputation impact the bottom line "significantly." That we know to be true and I could not agree more.

What struck me "significantly," however, was the reported finding that about four out of 10 (39 percent) have NEVER measured their company's reputation. My sense is that these CEOs are not Fortune 100 type companies or that they are just plain clueless. The pharmaceutical and health care industry suffers daily from poor public perception and CEOs need to better understand how to communicate the good they do. There is a saying that people do what you inspect. If measuring reputation is not on the agenda, employees will not share the responsibility for protecting reputation as if it were their own.

Monday, May 01, 2006

New CEO at ADM -- A Girl!

Good news that ADM -- supermarket to the world -- hired a female CEO, rounding out the number of women in Fortune 500 companies to "10." Sounds like Patricia Woertz is ready to take on the challenge.

Although the media always provides a chart on how few women are at the top, research shows that women are ambivalent about climbing to that top rung. One of the major deterrants often cited is the lack of work/family balance.

An article in today's Wall Street Journal reminded me once again how difficult it is to combine family and career. The article described the difficulty companies have in recruiting women to run manufacturing plants. The women managers interviewed turned down more senior jobs because of the lack of flexible hours, too much travel and child care problems. When these women are single mothers, the work/family issues are compounded multifold.

From what I read, Patricia Woertz has three grown children which makes her choice only somewhat easier. Every new CEO says, however, that there is no preparation for the CEO position. We will have to check back on her progress on her first anniversary. I wish her luck!