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Posts Tagged ‘Financial Crisis’

“Forgive me, I must start by pointing out that 3-years after our horrific financial crisis caused by massive fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail, and that’s wrong,” stated Charles Ferguson as he accepted the Oscar for the documentary movie, ‘Inside Job’,  which explored the financial crisis of 2008-09.

And now a word from our sponsors – JP Morgan Chase, who ran a series of ads during the Academy Awards promoting and defending its’ small business and home lending practices.  At one point an ad even stated they would reconsider small business loans for those denied.

Talk about a ballsy “green washing” campaign and a bizarre spectacle to say the least.  It’s similar to when BP donated money to America’s WETLAN Foundation (a shell group established by Shell oil) who then partnered with a group called “Women of the Storm” to spread the message that U.S. taxpayers should pay for the damage caused by BP to the Gulf Coast.  Nowhere in the star-studded “Restore the Gulf” campaign is BP ever mentioned, but when this situation was ‘outed’ by the press – Shell along with primary “sustainability” sponsors Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil, Citgo, British Gas, Spectra, Hornbeck, the America Petroleum Institute and BP – stated that the funds were for “purely scientific or ecological functions.”

Words matter.  The most powerful words have helped launch social movements and cultural revolutions around the world.  The right words at the right time can literally change history.

Harley-Davidson management could really teach JP Morgan Chase and BP a couple things about public relationships.  They understand that words matter and it’s not what you say, but it’s about what people hear.  The Global financial meltdown cost people their homes and jobs.  Many families were seriously hurt and like we now want to hear JP Morgan Chase defend their actions.  What the hell happened Mr. James “Jamie” Dimon?  You can’t be serious!  It’s clear that JP Morgan Chase could learn from Harley-Davidson who more than ever these days live the following phrases with their customers:

No Excuses” – Of all the messages used by American business and political elite, no phrase better conveys accountability, responsibility and transparency.  This phrase generates immediate respect and appreciation.

Uncompromising Integrity” – Of all the truthiness words, none is as powerful as “integrity,” but in today’s cynical environment, even that’s not enough.  People need to feel that your integrity is absolute.

If you are not enraged by the JP Morgan Chase advertising activity then you’re not paying attention.

Photo courtesy of Wall Street.  Mr. Ferguson further explains his Oscar comments HERE.

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chapelA good riding buddy of mine lost his father recently.

Coping is difficult for family and for friends it’s can be challenging to know what to say or not say that might remind the person about something they don’t want to remember.  But close friends know how not to say a word and yet provide comfort.

Frank served in the U.S. Army and was a Korean War veteran which meant he always had a sense of purpose to what ever it was he was doing.  I first met him back in the early ‘80s when he ran his own company selling electronic components.  I worked at a medical instrumentation company which purchased his parts and I’ll never forget his deep vocabulary of “one-liners.” A salesman of high integrity to the very core and one that would make Glengarry Glen Ross “ABCs” proud.   I remember on more than one occasion “chasing” him out of the manufacturing assembly area for chatting up the “common people” not because he had a talent of figuring out what his clients were always up to, but was the kind of guy who made people laugh and truly enjoyed learning more about the folks he worked with.  Chatting/laughing and killing time in manufacturing = fewer widgets thus the need for chasing him off.

I was a privilage to know Frank and I was thinking about his — “Trust No One” — saying while I wrote this post.  How prophetic that the biggest story of the week is the insane profits at Goldman Sachs.  If you’d rather get your news from “Rolling Stone”, Matt Taibbi weighs in HERE.  Clearly Wall Street’s bad habits — above all, the system of compensation that helped cause the financial crisis — have not gone away.  In addition, it spotlights that by rescuing the financial system without reforming it, Washington has done nothing to protect us from a new crisis.

Frank passed away peacefully surrounded by the love of his family and friends.  Small as it may be, I wanted to provide a shout out of remembrance and re-commit to memory his one-liner as I sit in front of the TV screen, anesthetized by “talking heads” hoping our future doesn’t go down the drain as banking insiders believe it’s business as usual.

Photo taken at Chapel of the Holy Cross in Sedona, Az.

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