Sunday, May 28, 2006

All alpha all the time - convicting the CEO

The clue, my sister-in-law says, is the salad bar at the Harvard Business School. A flock of CEO-wannabees contending for one optimal asparagus makes a rough scene. These are competitive people -- much tougher fighters than most of us. If they do make the alpha grade, riding on the dopamine infusion of power, they get much tougher.

Remember OJ Simpson? It's extremely likely that he visciously murdered two people (he lost the civil suit of course), and yet, despite strong evidence of his guilt, he never cracked. An alpha.

How many politicians, caught with both hands in the jar, stand their ground no matter what? Tough. How many senior mobsters fight for 30 years without tiring? Tough.

Victorious alphas fight to live and they live to fight. Bloody battle does not tire them, it engages them.

So it makes sense that if you're going to go after corporate criminals, you use the techniques developed for mobsters:
Tough Justice for Executives in Enron Era - New York Times

... When the former chief financial officer of Enron, Andrew S. Fastow, balked at cutting a deal with the government, prosecutors started putting pressure on his wife, Lea. She eventually pleaded guilty to income tax evasion for not reporting tens of thousands of dollars in kickback checks from one of Mr. Fastow's off-the-books schemes. Ms. Fastow went to prison for a year.
That's harsh. Very harsh. I'd have cracked long before my wife was sent to jail. But if you're going up against someone who makes the average gang-banger look like a kindergarden kid, what choices are there?

PS. Thanks to M for the "all alpha all the time" title!

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