The Cost of Culture (at VW)

Gustavo Grodnitzky Uncategorized

In September 2015, the Environmental Protection Agency sent a letter to Volkswagen (VW) accusing VW of installing a “defeat device” in its 2.0-liter diesel engines.  The device was programmed to control engine software that reduced engine emissions to legal limits when it detected only two wheels were rolling (as in during an emissions test) and to be deactivated so that …

Wells Fargo Culture… (Finally) Acknowledged

Gustavo Grodnitzky Culture Trumps Everything

I have written several blogs on Wells Fargo culture since the termination of 5300 employees late last year for opening more than 2 million accounts without the permission of bank customers.  The CEO of Wells Fargo at the time, John Stumpf, first stated publicly that the behavior was due to bad hiring practices.  (Five thousand three hundred bad hires, John?) …

Culture of Humility

Gustavo Grodnitzky Culture Trumps Everything

“All streams flow to the sea because it is lower than they are. Humility gives it its power. If you want to govern the people, you must place yourself below them.” ― Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching I recently read a fascinating study completed by Catalyst Research Center, a non-profit research group, on inclusive leadership. What caught my attention about …

Lone Wolves in our Culture

Gustavo Grodnitzky Culture Trumps Everything

A lone wolf or lone-wolf terrorist is someone who prepares and commits violent acts alone without substantive assistance from any group. Nonetheless, he or she may be (or claim to be) influenced or motivated by the ideology and beliefs of an external group, and may in some way act to support such a group. Last week, the world saw a …

Culture of Fear

Gustavo Grodnitzky Culture Trumps Everything

Fear is a fundamental human emotion. It is one of seven fundamental emotions that are biologically wired into every human and can be recognized across cultures, ethnicities, and nationalities (the other six are anger, disgust, contempt, joy, sadness, and surprise). Fear is caused by the activation of the Amygdala, a structure that lies in one of the most primitive parts …

Double Standards

Gustavo Grodnitzky Culture Trumps Everything

According to Merriam-Webster, a double standard is a set of principles that applies differently and usually more rigorously to one group of people than another. Last week, Takata, a major automobile supplier of airbags, agreed to plead guilty to wire fraud and pay a total of $1 billion in criminal penalties. This stems from the company’s fraudulent conduct in relation …

Building a culture (writ large) for 2017

Gustavo Grodnitzky Culture Trumps Everything

I am an immigrant. My parents brought my brother and me to the United States when I was three years old. My father was a psychiatrist and my mother was a psychiatric nurse. While they both worked as professionals, our family income was modest. Their professional growth was limited by a variety of factors, internal and external. But, as immigrants, …

Politics Writ Large

Gustavo Grodnitzky Culture Trumps Everything

For those of you who know me well, you know that I am a political junkie.  While I spend a great deal of time on the road, I read and keep up with politics as best I can.  For a variety of reason, historically, I have stayed away from politics on this blog.  But given that we just had a …

Short Term vs. Long Term

Gustavo Grodnitzky Classic Capitalism

When organizational leaders are asked if they think in the short term vs. long term, there is a pretty consistent answer: “Long term, of course.” Long term thinking would seem to make sense to all of us, executive, organizational leaders, middle managers, and employees. Long term thinking should create and sustain long term growth for all of our stakeholder (business …

The Axe

Gustavo Grodnitzky Culture Trumps Everything

“And where the offense is, let the great axe fall.” – Shakespeare Finally, after weeks of trying to defend the indefensible, and blaming low level employees for the culture he was responsible for creating, John Stumpf, CEO at Wells Fargo, decided to “retire early.” Stumpf’s decision comes after a brutal grilling by two congressional panels over the bank’s response to …