Dennis Bakke offers a refreshing and unusual look at business in his candid discussion starting on p. 6. Bakke was co-founder of AES Corporation, an international independent energy provider. He was one time quoted as saying, “Enron is trying to conquer the world; we are trying to serve the world.” We allowed more space for this discussion than we usually do, because we believe Bakke offers some insights for business that need to be heard-from purpose, to values, to managing various stakeholders, to dealing with layoffs. To make room for this, we incorporated a couple of our forum responses into the letters section for this issue, and did not include a Forum page.
We also added two new writers for this issue. David Mashburn is a psychologist with a thriving clinical practice who has decided (after a sabbatical which included mountain climbing near Everest) to move his practice from individuals to business organizations. He provides insight into creating a thriving organizational climate rooted in the study of individuals, p. 15.
Michael Erisman is my son, and an accomplished professional in human resources management (HR). He has led HR groups at General Electric, Pepsi, and Qwest, and is now a vice president of HR for H & R Block at their world headquarters in Kansas City, MO. I had asked him whether it is possible to incorporate ethics in the hiring process, and he outlines his response as the visiting ethics columnist in this issue, p. 19.
The news has been filled with issues relevant to our topics, and we had to be more selective than usual in our News Notables section, p. 17. A late breaking story that is also worth a comment is the agreement between Sun Microsystems and Microsoft on their arrangement to work together. The controversial Scott McNealy, CEO of Sun, has been outspoken in his comments about Microsoft over the years. I remember a breakfast with him when he referred to the Microsoft product PowerPoint as the “hairball of the Internet.” If this new arrangement can be made to work, it will certainly be a step forward in reducing the rancor from the tech industry, and be positive for customers of both companies. Getting away from the negativity will be good for Sun as well.
While most of the tech industry has been characterized by competition with professionalism, Sun and Oracle have stood out as the exceptions. Now if Oracle could focus on its own strengths rather than slamming competitors …