In this selection from Boss Talk, executives offer their personal experiences and advice on managing companies during times of change.
For John Chambers, Chief Executive of Cisco Systems, Inc., it is important to take the long view. "We've always made decisions based on what we think is best for our employees and shareholders and the company in the long run, and not on the short-run gyrations in the stock market."
Juergen Schrempp is Chairman and CEO of DaimlerChrysler AG, a result of a 1999 merger of Daimler-Benz AG with Chrysler Corp. He credits the smooth transaction to honesty and speed. "It's much better to move fast and make mistakes occasionally than to move too slowly. The resistance to change once they feel comfortable again is so much greater than if you change during the time that they expect changes anyway."
Beginning in 1960 as a cofounder of the investment bank Carter, Berlind & Weill, and ending in 1998 with the most recent merger of Traveler's Group and Citibank to create Citigroup Inc., Sanford I. Weill, Chairman and Co-Chief Executive of Citigroup Inc., is no stranger to the world of business mergers. In his lifetime of deal-making, he has found that quick decision making and interest in employees is essential to managing growth. "When you slow down that decision-making process, such as who's going to do what, the good people usually end up leaving, and you end up with a lot of mediocre performers."
Dr. Daniel Vasella, Chairman and Executive of Novartis AG, has created many changes in the pharmaceutical company since its creation. Dr. Vasella has transformed the company into a thriving and innovative force in the drug industry. He credits Novartis' awakening and success to the innovative spirit of people within the company. "The single most important thing is having the right people. Smart and intelligent is one thing, but it is also having people who are willing to cooperate in an organization to make it work."
Executive Producer: Jacob Bronstein
Producer: Garet Scott
©2002 Dow Jones and Company, Inc.
(P)2002 Random House, Inc.