the press, they do little to effectively further political goals.
John W. Rogers Jr., CEO of Chicago-based Ariel Investments and the campaign’s Illinois finance co-chair, recalls times when offensive smear tactics were suggested. “Obama’s vision was to take the high road during the campaign,” he says. “Some of us thought he should go negative toward Hillary Clinton and try to remind people of some of the horrible things that happened during the Clinton administration. He said, ‘Absolutely not. That’s not the campaign I’m going to run. I only want people on board who are going to take the high road as well.’ It took a lot of courage to stick to that commitment.”
Corporate Lesson: It can be easy for an executive to be focused on winning at any cost. In a highly competitive environment, smearing or maligning a fellow executive can feel like fair game, if the goal is to win that highly prized promotion or contract. But as much as the personal objective is to advance your position in an organization, the overall goal is always to work in a manner that will benefit the company. Ron Williams, president, chairman, and CEO of Aetna, likes to remind employees to “attack the problem, not the person.”
This story originally appeared in the March 2009 issue of Black Enterprise magazine.