Lessons from Enron
Pride goes before the fall, so they say, and there is certainly a high degree of hubris present in "the smartest guys in the room." As it is pointed out early in the film by Amanda Martin-Brock, former executive at Enron, "The fatal flaw at Enron, if there was one, you say it was pride -- and then it was arrogance, intolerance, greed." Pride, intolerance, and greed may all be seen as characteristics demonstrated by Enron boss Kenneth Lay. From the beginning, when danger signs were revealed to be emanating from Enron traders Louis Bourget and Thomas Mastroeni, Lay decided to look the other way. Not only did he look the other way, however; he actually encouraged their "gambling": "Please keep making us millions," he stated. Here it was: pride -- the belief that he could control the chaos no matter what; intolerance -- unwillingness to consider the point-of-view of investors and...
This paper will show how one lesson that can be taken away from the Enron scandal is that pride, intolerance and greed can kill a company.
Sen. Peter Fitzgerald identified the main reason for Enron's failure: Lay "puts earnings before scruples." When his top traders were sentenced and put behind bars, Lay had to come up with another avenue to wealth. His traders had gambled away all the company's reserve funds. Some new "smart" guys were needed to replace the old ones. He brought in Jeff Skilling.
Lay thought of himself as a visionary (another element of his pride) and he thought of Skilling as the same. Martin-Brock calls Skilling "a prophet," who showed Enron "the way" to make all the money…
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