I think James Burke’s experience at Johnson and Johnson (J;J) is definitely a defining moment. His experience in J; J had a lots of ups and downs in his career. He even had to quit and rejoin J; J . He had failures before he had success in his career. His newly launched product named Liquiprin was fairly successful but his other three products viz a nose drop, a cough medicine and a chest rub marketed under the Arrestin trademark was a complete failure. But he learned from his failure to improve for the next time.
In my view point the major leadership lesson Burke learned was from the General when he said, ” What business is all about is making decisions, and you don’t make decisions without making mistakes. Now, don’t ever make that mistake again, but please make sure you make other mistakes. ” These words of inspiration from the General truly demonstrated how a leader directs and drives passion in his followers. Burke’s successful leadership and demonstrated integrity promoted him to become President of J& J Co. During this time he challenged the General’s 30 years old Credo.
I think at this point he had a distinct vision to drive the future of the company . “The leader needs two intellectual abilities that are not formally assessed in an academic way: he needs to have a sense for the unknowable and be able to foresee the unforeseeable “( Greenleaf,1991, p. 14). True to this remark, Burke had a peer vision to foresee the unforeseeable and react early to any future change. When he became the CEO of the J; J he had a challenging job of strengthening the market for J;J. The early Challenge for Burke was the moving of Tylenol from a prescription analgesic to an over the counter pain medication.
In this context he went through various strategic marketing plans to compete with the competitors. His work was once again challenged here by the Tylenol Poisoning case in 1982. He personally took charge of the management of crisis at corporate level. These experiences of leadership were definitely defining moments. 2. What key lessons learned from the James Burke case would you apply to any workplace? James Burke case is a true showcase of the one’s successful leadership. It show how a person can influence and get influenced by others in leadership process.
One need to learn from his failures. When Burke’s newly launched products failed in the market, he learned from this failure. I think learning from the mistake is important for a one to become a leader. Leadership is not only doing things by own self but also inspiring others to do their best. This was well demonstrated by the General when he said ” What business is all about is making decisions, and you don’t make decisions without making mistakes. Now, don’t ever make that mistake again, but please make sure you make other mistakes.
” I think one needs to make mistake to learn, and to inspire others to learn through their mistakes is a true attitude of leadership. On the ethical part, I think J;J ‘s marketing of Tylenol as the drug most used (and by implication, most trusted )by doctors is unethical and misleading.. McNeil’s supplied their product to hospitals more cheaply than that of any competitors. Presumably, Hospitals will be using Tylenol to be cost effective. So, to advertise Tylenol as the most used drug (implying most trusted )by doctors is deceptive to consumers.
Although this advertisement made a great impact on the success of Tylenol, I think it is against the business ethics which promises to provide true information to its consumers. 3. Drawing on the above readings and current events, comment on the statement “Since business is inherently corrupt, why bother trying to live up to one’s personal values in the work place? ” The wake of the Enron and WorldCom scandals, has raised the importance of personal values and code of business ethics in the 21st century business world. In today’s business world every individual has to leave up to one’s personal values in the work place.
In fact, the business ethics of a company relies on the personal values of its employees. Business is not inherently corrupt. Business has it own code of ethics which needs to be followed by its member all the times. As Bowen McCoy said “Because corporations and their members are interdependent, for the corporation to be strong the members need to share a preconceived notion of what is correct behavior , a business ethics and think of it as positive force, not a constraint. ” I think it is the personal values of individuals that creates a corporate culture.
When individuals in a organization go beyond their personal values the business starts to become corrupt. As McCoy said, ” Individuals who operate from a thoughtful set of personal values provide the foundation for a corporate culture. ” (McCoy, p. 108) A corporate culture that inherently leads to success of the business is all dependent upon personal values of individuals who work for the corporations. If personal values of the individual are to be ignored business tend to become unhinged during time of stress with each individual bailing out for himself.
Just like the author McCoy’s experience in Himalayas where every individual was ready to help the Sadhu so long as it was not too inconvenient for them. Every one was trying to bail out of the problem of Sadhu and move head toward their own destinations. Therefore, I believe personal values are to be respected all the times to create a corporate culture that leads a successful business.
Wendy K. Smith. (1989). James Burke : A Career in American Business (A) . Harvard Business School Publication Bowen H. McCoy . The Parable of the sadhu . Harvard Business Review. (1983 ) Peter G . Northouse (2001). Leadership: Theory and Practice.